How to build good relationships with recruiters

You may think of recruiters as bodiless voices at the end of the line, pestering you about vague job opportunities but if you’re serious about job-seeking, you’d be wrong.  Staffing recruiters not only help with the newest job leads but they offer tips on how to improve your chances. Also, keep in mind that recruiters can have influence over an employer’s decision!

If you want to take advantage of recruiters during your job search, here are seven ways to building a stronger relationship.

Ask questions

It’s important to understand your staffing agency to see if they are a good fit.  The best way to do this is by getting to know what they’re about.  To do this, here are a few questions to ask to see whether a recruiter will represent you well:

  • “What experience do you have in the industry that enables you to relate to both clients and candidates?”
  • “How often do you staff roles with the skill sets in my background?”
  • “What types of companies and industries have you placed people like me in?”
  • “Do you proactively market your candidates?”

It may feel strange interviewing your recruiter but it’ll give you insight on how they work, their levels of proactive-ness and if they have experience placing candidates in similar roles.


Be specific

Once you’re acquainted with your recruiter and you both understand what you’re looking for, it’s time to pay attention to detail.  Arrive with examples of what jobs you like, ones you’ve seen advertised, and examples of what you’ve done in the past to make you best suited for this role.

Let him/her know you’ll only work in a certain area, geographically or industry-wise, but remember as you grow more specific, the fewer your options.  So don’t promise to move anywhere for your dream job if you’re not 100% serious!


Stay in touch  


Remember to work with your recruiter.  Don’t avoid their calls even if they’re ringing about an unexciting role or if they have bad news.  To establish a good working relationship, you need to establish open and regular contact.  If you’re conscientious to your recruiter, they’ll be more willing to work with you.  Simple!


Don’t disrespect your recruiter


It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be rude.  Jason Walker, managing director of Hays in New Zealand, says “It’s amazing how often candidates are critical, argumentative, or insulting to recruitment consultants due to previous experiences.”

As an unwritten rule, treat your recruiter as a person and not an obstacle in the way of your dream job.


Be honest and open


Many candidates don’t tell recruiters if they dislike a job or if they can’t attend an interview.  Instead of being upfront, candidates ditch interviews or ignore a recruiters calls without being point blank.  And this is what will ruin the relationship!  No matter what the situation, be honest.

If you don’t want a specific interview, let them know.  This allows them to get back to their client instead of looking unprofessional because they don’t know your whereabouts.  Remember, this is their job.  If you continue to be honest, then your recruiter will be more willing to help you.  Don’t be afraid of offending them if you can’t work certain hours, it’s better than letting them down later on.


Ask for guidance, but don’t expect them to re-write your CV


Because recruiters have inside knowledge, it’s tempting to bombard them with questions about how your CV will fare.  You can ask for a candid review of your strengths, as a candidate, from your salary expectations to your interviewing skills.

Many will give their, sometimes critical, feedback to help you as long as you absorb them.  Recruiters are there to give you guidance, such as offering tips to polish your resume.  But remember, they’re not there to execute any changes and re-write your application.  That’s all up to you!


Once you’ve landed a job, keep them in the loop


It’s tempting to forget all about the stressful journey to your new job but you shouldn’t forget about your recruiter.  Check in with them occasionally.  After you’ve settled into the company, see if there is an opportunity for the recruiter to work on new job openings by providing good candidates or potential clients.

You never know when your close friend needs help or when you’re ready to seek a new job role.  Keeping a strong bond with your recruiter will show you’re professional and a good partner to work with.


Francesca Hooper writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.


If you’re job hunting, take a look at our current roles here. If you want to discuss your job search with a dedicated consultant, please call 0207 269 6144.