I still remember the first time I ever spoke to a recruiter: I was thinking about leaving my first job but wasn’t sure where to begin. Talking with the recruiter – and trusting them in my job search – felt like a huge leap of faith. What would the process be like? How would I know if they were a “good” recruiter? Was I even ready for a new position?
Looking back, it’s a leap I’m thrilled I took. The recruiter connected me with a fantastic opportunity because he took the time to understand my professional goals and personal needs. He cared about helping me find the right fit. I want every candidate I work with to have this same experience. I want to help them go from feeling a bit apprehensive and nervous to feeling comfortable, confident and successful.
Ready to take the leap yourself? Here’s how I worked through my three big questions– and you can, too:
“What will the process be like?”
If you’re new to partnering with a recruiter, it’s natural to wonder what to expect. Will this recruiter have your best interests in mind and search for the right fit, or will they “ghost you” if they can’t slot you into one of their current job openings?Setting expectations gets everyone on the same page, building trust and confidence in the process. That’s why I walk candidates through a roadmap the first time we work together. I give them a big-picture overview of what to expect each step of the way, including communication expectations. I let them know I’ll contact them right away as new opportunities arise and that the best opportunities often move quickly, so having a speedy response is key. I also discuss our approach to pre-interview prep and post-interview debrief.
I also tell candidates about my “tell me anything” approach to our partnership. The more I know about your professional goals, personal needs, and changes along the way, the more effective I can be. From compensation expectations to work flexibility, the more transparent you are upfront, the more efficient I’ll be at finding you the right fit. I always keep an open line of communication and expect the same in return.
“How do I know if this person is an effective recruiter?” This can be a tough one since you may not recognize red flags until after you’re on the other side of the recruitment process.As a candidate, there’s a desire to “show well” for your recruiter. But I think the opposite is true too; they should “show well” for you. Don’t hesitate to interview your recruiter and ask questions such as:
How long they’ve been recruiting
How many candidates have they placed with a similar background to yours
What sets them apart from other recruiters
The type of clients they work with (industry, size, etc.)
These types of questions can help you understand how effective your recruiter is in general, and how effective they may be with you. Just because a recruiter places a lot of candidates each year doesn’t mean they have experience placing someone with your background or into the types of roles you’d like at the companies where you want to work.
If I’m working with someone who has a different background than the people I usually place, I’ll let them know. I’ll also let a candidate know what I’m currently seeing in the market, especially if job openings and companies don’t align with where they want to be. It doesn’t mean we can’t have a successful placement together, but it is important everyone is realistic about what’s possible from the beginning.
“I’m nervous about making a change– how do I know if I’m ready for a new position?”
Change is never easy. You may not love your current position, but you know what to expect each day. A new company is a whole new experience where you’ll be starting from scratch, building relationships and navigating company culture.While only you can decide if the time is right to make a change, I’ll serve as a neutral sounding board. When I first partner with someone, I listen carefully to what they’re looking for in a new position, and then we use these criteria to rank opportunities. During our interview debriefs, I’ll listen to how you talk about the position. If things feel forced or like you aren’t excited anymore, we don’t have to move forward. I never pressure anyone into a position just so I can fill a job opening. We can adjust your search along the way if you find the types of roles or companies that interest you are changing. Or we can hit the pause button if the market isn’t right or your target companies aren’t hiring.
Have any fears kept you from partnering with a recruiter? If you’ve worked with a recruiter, was the experience like what you imagined it would be? I invite you to share more in the comments below.