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1.      They Listen More Than They Talk.

A good recruiter knows only too well the old adage of two ears, one month to be used in proportion. While it is important for your recruiter to explain the details of the role to you, they should also listen to you in order to fully understand your motivations not only for the role(s) on the table but also for moving on from your current employer in the first place. Recruiters, especially at more established firms, will have very high targets to deliver on and will have to fight the temptation daily to push the round peg into the square hole. A good recruiter wouldn’t do this because as well having the experience to know this is a waste time, they will also be thinking about their reputation in what is a highly competitive market place. Pay attention to who speaks more on the call.

2.   They Know Their Market

Since there are no real barriers to entry in recruitment it can quite easy for the bad apples to slip through the net. The way to spot them is to try and really get a sense of how well the recruiter knows his/her market. Are they aware of current trends? Do they know what the market rates are? Do they understand what you do well enough to know if you could be a potential fit for their client? If you feel like you’re simply being moved from box A to box B, you need to ask what value is your recruiter really adding and a good one won’t be afraid of the question.

3.  You’ll Hear from Them. A Lot.

The job market today is faster than ever before and rapid communication has given rise to circumstances changing much quicker than they used to. The good recruiter will understand this and make it their number one priority to keep both their clients and candidates in the loop at all times. While it may seem a little impatient to get a call from your recruiter five minutes after you complete the interview, this is in fact the recruiter doing exactly as they should do. The client will need to be informed as quickly as possible as to your feedback to keep things running smoothly and avoid delays. A bi-weekly call from your recruiter to check in for any changes is a good thing. It ensures they are giving both sides as much clarity as possible.

4. They Understand What you are Looking for and Why.

So, assuming they have listened to you and understand your market, now you need to know if they understand you. Pay attention to what they ask you. While some questions may appear intrusive (salary, family circumstances etc.) again, this is a good recruiter putting together the clearest profile possible and understanding your personal needs as well as your professional ones. Never at any point should you feel like the recruiter is trying to force an opportunity on you. It shouldn’t even come up until quite some way into the call. How can they present you with “the perfect opportunity” when they don’t know what perfect means to you? Don’t be afraid to be firm with a recruiter. If you categorically won’t travel, relocate or work past X time then tell them. If they still go ahead and present you with options that include this they either haven’t listened or understood.

5. They Understand You Are a Person and NOT a Set of Figures.

It’s obviously no secret that recruiters can obtain very healthy fees for their services to clients. Neither that most of them will be carrying very heavy targets, KPIs or even person finance goals. We all need to get paid at the end of the day. However, it should be very clear to you that the recruiter understands that they are putting you forward for a job to advance your career. They should take the time to really get to know and build a relationship. It may even go beyond placing you in a role. You may do business again in the future, they may ask you for recommendations, help you build a team of your own etc. If you ever get the feeling a recruiter is just using you for a quick win then treat them with caution. The service they are providing you is essentially free but they doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done well. A recruiter that cares about his/her reputation and chances of repeat business should take the building of relationships with the utmost seriousness. 

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