Staying connected with recruiters during your job search is an important, but often overlooked part of a successful search.
Unfortunately, many candidates make at least these two mistakes in job searching, especially the more panicked they are that they are not going to get a job or they might not find one.
Mistaken Candidate Behaviors with Recruiters
- “Spray and Pray” by just applied to as many possible jobs that seem well-paying that you can.
- “Play the Field” approach by telling every recruiter that their job is the most-interesting job they are considering.
- “Hard to Get” by acting busier than you actually are so recruiters have to work to get ahold of you.
- Ghosting. Yeah.
A Mindset Shift
But may I submit that these behaviors are rooted in a scarcity mentality. The reality is that recruiters are trying to help you fill their jobs much more than, somehow, mercilessly denying candidates from perfect roles with maniacal laughter.
“HELP ME, HELP YOU!”
Here are three ways you can immediately get more value out of your relationship with your recruiter and, mercifully, make your transactions more human, too.
- Be straightforward and open about your roadblocks, challenges or concerns about the job.
- Have transparent and ongoing dialogue with your recruiter about the timing of other opportunities and your likelyhood of taking one of them
- Be realistic and upfront about compensation, relocation or visa requirements and any other non-standard requirements you might have.
Be Open With Questions or Concerns
I can’t stress this enough that leading your recruiter on about their job, telling them everything is fine and not bringing up concerns or questions is a bad way to go.
The recruiter’s literal JOB is to resolve concerns and challenges and they can be the best resource for you to get things that others will not know how to get for you. The recruiter is almost-always one of the most candidate-focused people at a company, and knows way more about benefits, features, perks and compensation than nearly anyone else in the company.
Leverage your recruiter’s relationship by first being real with them, sharing your own concerns and then asking questions when you have them. Help them help you.
Ongoing Dialogue about Other Interviews
If you are a skilled candidate, you are interviewing at multiple places. Pretending you’re not, beside being a lie, is a foolish and needless burden you need to carry.
You’re probably already feeling a little self-conscious about your employer finding out you’re looking (something for another discussion), but many candidates pile on the anxiety by also hiding the fact that you can’t interview tomorrow because you’re actually across the country at a flyout interview today and won’t be back until mid-day tomorrow.
Nothing blacklists you faster as a candidate than pretending you’re not interviewing anywhere else only to have a “sudden” offer come “out of nowhere” and it happens to be “with [your] dream company” and also an “offer [you] cannot refuse.”
Queue the excessive eye rolls. If you pull this move, your recruiter will say nice things to you and wish you luck while marking your candidate profile as “NEVER HIRE” and tagging you with “liesthroughtheir_teeth” in the company applicant system. That database will live longer than you. Don’t mess.
Being open with your recruiter about other roles and how soon you might get another offer is both polite and the right thing to do. Help them help you.
Talk About Comp and Any Non-Standard Needs
Finally, you should bring up any non-standard needs you have early in the process. The earlier the better, in fact.
On that note, while you should likely not be the first person to bring up compensation (topic for another time*) in the interview process, you SHOULD bring it up first if you often find out that your expectations are often much higher than what companies are initially expecting. You do NOT want to get into the process and find out they want to pay you 1/3 your value. Full stop.
Outside of this, if you have visa concerns, questions about relocation expenses, other perks or benefits, or you are expecting a leave of one kind or another, bring things up early — as quickly as you can in the process. Your recruiter is your sounding board here. They may tuck things away, or tell you “yes, we do that all the time.” But you do NOT want to get a juicy offer in your hands only to find out they won’t pay relocation or that there’s no commissions draw, or whatever.
Help them help you by being clear about your needs and expectations up front.
Summary, your recruiter’s JOB is to connect you to the right role in the company. This is their passion. Other than that one burger place, filling a role with the right person is their very favorite thing! Sharing your timing, roadblocks, concerns and needs early and often will help them help you land that perfect job, on time, with the right pay (or more)!
So, help your recruiters help you.
That’s what they call, “win, win.”
Note: On compensation, while you should generally not bring it up first, you should enter every conversation, even the first, with an expectation they will ask you. Think of the batteries—your answer needs to be *ever ready! ?