October 12, 2011

Slam Dunk: How to Pick a Recruiting Partner

Recruiting Partner Slam DunkWhile reading a recent article on Recruiter.com, Why Do People Hate Recruiters, it struck me that the majority of the complaints from both clients and candidate arose from the same problem; they weren’t working with the right Recruiter. That isn’t to say that the Recruiters themselves were bad, simply the wrong match for the individuals need.  So that got me to thinking…how does one pick a good Recruiter?

We’ve all heard jokes about picking a good lawyer, like this one:

Q: Where can you find a good lawyer?
A: In the cemetery

They always end with a punch line at the expense of the entire profession.  Frankly, the sentiments towards recruiters are often the same.  While lots of people can talk about their bad experiences, only a few will really speak up about their good ones.  If they’re pressed as to how they found that great recruiter, well, it sounds a lot like luck.  So if you’re looking for a great Recruiter who can really help you, no matter what your need, here are some tips. Corporate recruiters, these practices apply to you too – and they are good scenario questions to ask prospective vendors as well.

  • Interview the Interviewee:  Recruiters get paid to interview people, day in and day out.  It’s a skill that they’re supposed to be fantastic at and lots of them are.  But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be interviewing your Recruiter just as much.  We have all heard the adage that an interview goes two ways; you have to make sure that both you and the company are a match.  Well, it’s the same for Recruiters.  There are lots of different types and kinds of Recruiters…they can be specific to industry, full-time roles, temporary roles, external or internal roles…the list goes on and on.  So when a Recruiter has called on you, sure you should be putting your best foot forward. After all, from the moment you picked up the phone, that Recruiter was interviewing you.  But you should be asking the right questions yourself.  Let the Recruiter know what type of role it is you’re really focused on getting and find out whether this role would be a match or not.  Ask the Recruiter about how often they fill roles such as these and what the biggest challenges usually are.  A good Recruiter isn’t going to take a great deal of time on the phone, but they will have that type of information handy.  If the answers are quick, direct and informed, you’re probably in good shape in terms of the Recruiter knowing the role.
  • Be Up Front:  A complaint that most Recruiters have heard time and time again is that candidates get upset when they don’t receive feedback from the Recruiter.  Well, be up front and mention that to them. That isn’t to say be aggressive or accusatory (because again, whether you realize it or not, you’re being interviewed) but do voice the concern.  Let your Recruiter know that you understand the nature of the profession is extremely busy, but ask them how they handle feedback or lack thereof.  More than likely a good one will be honest with you and admit that they don’t always get back to candidates until they have news to give them.  If that’s the case, you can definitely work with that Recruiter.  Why? Because they told you the truth and as a job seeker, it’s probably a good idea for you to follow-up with the Recruiter yourself to ensure that you’re staying at the top of his or her list.  If you’re told that always giving immediate feedback can be a challenge, then manage the relationship and set up a check point with that Recruiter.
  • Understand the Job Description: When working with Recruiters it is essential to ensure that you see the job description that you and said Recruiter are discussing.  This is how it will usually go:  Candidate receives a call out of the blue from Recruiter John.  Recruiter John starts telling them about a great position he has and starts evaluating a candidate’s match for the role.  It sounds like all is well and Recruiter John would like permission to submit your resume.  If you like how the job sounds, sure, go ahead and submit.  But MAKE SURE the Recruiter sends you the job information.  Recruiters are experts at their business, not necessarily yours.  You should always read the job description and make sure the Recruiter either has answers for your questions or can at least track them down for you quickly.  If he or she has missing spots of information that they can’t seem to clear up, move on.  It’s a sure sign that they don’t know the Manager or if they do, the Manager isn’t responsive enough to send a courteous reply regarding the nature of the role.

These are just some of the basics of choosing a good Recruiting Partner. Like most things in life, it’s important for you to shop around…if you trust to luck; you’re probably not going to get the results you want.  So do make sure you’re an informed consumer, because at the end of the day a Recruiter can be an invaluable resource for you.  Do your homework, look out for bad vibes and be an eager partner.  Stay tuned for more tips!

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With a background in business development and an expertise in staffing and employment, Christine is the Manager of Market Development for Recruiter.com. At Recruiter.com Christine focuses on creating new marketing avenues and products for Recruiters and HR professionals alike.
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