How to work effectively with a recruiter
Recruitment, especially from a candidate’s perspective, is comparable to talent management. Much like an athlete, actor or media personality would likely have an agent to manage their day-to-day engagements, contracts and obligations; a tech professional looking for their next challenge might engage with a recruiter, to help them navigate the labyrinth that is today’s Irish tech job market. The comparison, in terms of the relationship between the recruiter and the candidate, ends there though. Unlike a talent agent, a recruiter won’t take your money for the work they do.
Rather than rattling off a step-by-step guide (no one likes to follow instructions), I offer a handful of helpful hints to help you reap the rewards of a healthy partnership with a recruiter.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking, or acting like the recruiter is working for you…
Any recruiter worth their salt is going to do a great deal of work to get you set up with the best possible options for your next career move, at no cost whatsoever to yourself. Whilst they’re doing this work for you, it’s much better for the general harmony of the relationship, if you think of it as a professional favour, rather than a personal service. It’s an easy slide to slip down, to start thinking of the recruiter as a personal assistant during your job search journey. I see it daily, where candidates start to think just a little above their station and that’s usually about the time that the relationship starts to sour. Working together, rather than for one another, is always going to work out better.
Be prepared to put in the work, too…
Throughout the process, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everything is going to be done for you. After all, it’s you who is going to have to attend interviews, complete aptitude tests or make presentations and, whilst the recruiter is going to put in a lot of work to arrange these for you, and best prepare you for them, you’ll need to put in the hard yards to get yourself ready as well. If they send you something to read; read it. If they arrange a call or meeting to prepare you for an interview; take the call/attend the meeting. Most importantly though, ask questions! Just because they haven’t already said it, doesn’t mean they don’t know it or that you don’t need to know it. Daft question? Ask it. Obvious question? Ask it. Possibly not a relevant question? Ask it.
Don’t presume that the relationship is, or should be mutually exclusive…
I’ll let you into a secret. Just as you can apply for more than one job, you can work with more than one recruiter. One exception being, don’t make the mistake of applying for the same job through two different recruiters. That doesn’t reflect well on you, neither does applying directly and then also through a recruiter. The important thing is, to be open about it. I’ve said before, on a couple of occasions, that it’s ok to be in more than one process at a time, just make sure that you keep track of them and, if you’re working with a recruiter, make sure they also know about your other processes. They’ll be working with other candidates, too. Maybe even for the same role that you’re in the running for, as they have an obligation to the client to get the role filled by the best person. You can ask them how many other people are in the process, too. They’ll tell you.
Come with suggestions…
It’s possible that when you first engage with a recruiter, there might not be a concrete role on the table for you to get straight on with going for. If this is the case, the recruiter will still be interested in what you’ve done, what you can do and the direction you want to go in. The more information you can give in this situation, the more likely it is that results will start to come. They’ll construct as strong a picture as they can of your profile and then go to market. They’ll likely have a few ideas in mind but there’s no harm at this stage in you offering up your own thoughts on where you’d like to go. Perhaps there’s a particular company you’ve always thought about working for? Maybe there’s a particular person in your field that you’ve always admired and would be very interested in working with? All decent recruiters will have a solid professional network of contacts and this may well reveal a path that heads in the right direction.
Keep in touch/Don’t burn the bridge…
So, you’ve reached the “end” of the process. By this I mean, you’ve either secured the job you were routing for, or you haven’t. Now, if it’s the latter, keep in mind that this is not the recruiter’s fault, or even their decision. It’s also becoming more and more common these days for companies not to give feedback. Whilst it’s natural to want to know where you might have fallen short, rest assured that if the recruiter has feedback for you, they’ll share it. Nothing ever comes though, of repeatedly asking why or refusing to accept a result. Whatever the outcome, it doesn’t have to, and in fact shouldn’t mean the end of the road between yourself and the recruiter you’ve been working with. Even if you get the job, it might not be the last job you ever have. The aforementioned network that a recruiter maintains might be of use to you in the future, and most of us are happy to make an introduction if we can.
Why not check out our careers page and see if there are any tech jobs there that suit your skill set. If you find something that fits the bill, use our CV building guide to create the perfect CV for the job.
Alternatively, have a glance over our Rogues Gallery and find the contact details of a member of our team that specialises in your area!