Guide to Working with a Recruiter

It’s important to understand how good recruiters work and in turn utilize their way of working for benefiting oneself

Most of my candidates get annoyed when I call them to enquire if they are looking for a job change; with a very irritated tone they reply “sorry, I am happy with my current job” or “I’m not interested in a change” or “Please don’t bother me, and get me off your list, I don’t work with recruiters” .. After which they abruptly hang up before I even say a word.  Hence I decided to pen down my advice to candidates on how to work with good, professional recruiters.

Candidates may or may not be interested in what the recruiter had on offer for them, but they need to realize that contacts with good recruiters may not be handy at present but in the long run it will definitely be an asset.

Most people should have realized by now that recruiters are not only useful when you are changing jobs but also when you are perfectly happy within your current role. It’s important to nurture your relation with a good recruiter and to be on his “favourite list”. For that you need to understand how recruiters function and in turn you use their way of functioning for your benefit.

Send your Resume

Do you get annoyed when you get a call from a recruiter saying “Mr X, I have a perfect opportunity for you, can you give me a brief background about yourself so I can understand you better” or directly ask you for your updated resume, inspite of you telling them that you’re not looking for a job?? Pretty infuriating right??

If you felt this recruiter sounded professional, seemed knowledgeable then what’s the harm in sending it in?? Let’s face it, maybe you’re not actively looking for a job now but you may in the future. Having your details on a specialist recruiter’s folder will make it more likely that the recruiter will call you again when he has another opportunity and maybe you are looking for a change by then.

Avoid tampering your Resume

Some candidates see a benefit in lying on their resume, or to their recruiter or at the interview. Especially when they are desperate for a job. They often lie about academic degrees, inaccurate job descriptions, inflated salaries, fake references, altered employment dates.  Ones who are lucky enough get away with it but once they get on the job they are not qualified for, it’s not too long till their employer finds out the truth about their credibility and they are likely to be fired.

A candidate may find this the most convenient and fastest means to get a job, but they do this by putting their employers business at stake as well as their own careers in jeopardy

A candidate may think that’s it’s only a resume, and he won’t get jailed for lying about his experience or salary. Yes you won’t. But if you get into the habit of constantly altering your resume to suit a job opening you will end up being branded a “Job – Hopper”.

We recruiters are well connected with industry insiders and so are your employers – our Clients. They will eventually find out and do their own reference checks. They have many ways to find out and once a candidate is caught their career is doomed.

Keep it to yourself

The moment I call a candidate saying they have an opportunity for him; he wants to know which firm it is with, that’s what most of the candidates want to know, to which I politely respond that “Sir, I can’t share these confidential details as of now, but I will do that once I am sure that you are the right fit for the job profile.” The bizarre thing is that, when I do say this most of my candidates get offended. Candidates need to understand that the best for them would be to just wait and respect the recruiter’s request. Just like good recruiters stick to complete confidentiality for the Clients we do the same when it comes to our passive candidates. Candidates as well as clients depend on a recruiter’s ability to keep secrets. If a recruiter calls you, don’t expect him to answer your queries first, rather help him to understand your career graph, your abilities so that we can advise you better on your career. You will be given information on an as-needed basis, and you will be expected to keep it to yourself. Don’t be afraid to share personal information with your recruiter. Knowing what is important to you helps us to find you a suitable combination of position, company, and location.

Follow your Recruiter’s instructions and listen

Most important: A recruiter not only places you from one job to another but we also counsel you about your interview, advise you about negotiating the offer, on how to resign from your current job once you’re selected for a new one, how to tackle a counter offer…etc. We are your career counsellors and we understand where you come from, what your strengths and weaknesses are and the expectations you have from your new job. A recruiter is the one who helps mould your career. We know more about the your potential employer, the organisation, what they are looking for and hence we will be able to guide you better. Take note of the advice and direction your recruiter gives you and follow it.

Make up your Mind

The worst thing that could happen to a recruiter is that his candidate drops out of an offer. Such a situation is even worse than a candidate not being selected. This situation puts the recruiter in an extremely embarrassing position. It’s difficult for the recruiter to go back to his client and break the news to him. It shows that the recruiter lacks candidate control.

As candidates, you have to be completely sure about your decision to move; keeping in mind all the key factors that will be affected by your decision.  Be sure that your spouse, parents, kids are aware of your decision and are prepared to adjust to the change. This is one of the most common issues that cause a hindrance in the recruitment process that too at an extremely crucial and final moment.

You have to make sure that other important aspects like pay, responsibilities, designation etc are all at par with your expectations. If there is something you are not happy about, make sure that your recruiter is well aware about it in the very beginning. This saves the recruiter the embarrassment and you being branded as the “Unprofessional Candidate”.

Call Promptly

Call your recruiter as soon as you are done with your interview. Give him your feedback before the client does. A good recruiter will always prefer getting your feedback before reaching out to the client to get his feedback. Use your recruiter to negotiate and express any concerns. This will help facilitate communication and allow some of the details to be handled at a more comfortable arm’s length.

Infact to build your relation with the recruiter, you should keep in touch with him and get some inside news about your industry hiring trends. But this doesn’t mean you pester him all the time, maybe every 6 months…you could call him or just drop in a mail to say hello.

Use social media to keep in touch; this is the best option you have today. Connect with your recruiter on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter. Keep a track of his updates on social media. You never know he may just post an opening for your dream job one day.

Face Negative Feedback Positively

Many recruiters shy away from sharing negative feedback as many candidates don’t take the feedback positively. If your recruiter comes back with a negative feedback about your interview don’t be offended instead be professional and polite, this is for your own betterment. Being rejected on a particular opportunity could be to do with another stronger candidate in the process and not necessarily about you. You have to maintain your relation with the recruiter since he will be the same one who may land you your next job. It’s better to know about your flaws and work on them rather than living with it for life.

Multiple offers

This is the most critical issue, which has to be handled carefully. If you have received more than one offer, it is generally best to let your recruiter know about it as soon as possible to avoid any complexities in the future.

Contemplating on an offer

The longer you take to make your decision, the more likely it is that the employer will think you are not committed and that they have, perhaps, made a wrong choice. We have even seen cases where, due to inordinate delay, employers have retracted offers of employment. Good recruiters also understand that delay in decision-making at this stage could mean you are hesitating; and we will very quickly put in alternate options from our “Favourite List”.

This article appeared in People Matters on Feb 20, 2014

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About Antal India Recruitment Blog

Founded in 1993, Antal International is a global Executive Recruitment firm with 120 offices in more than 30 countries We work with professional and managerial talent worldwide. works with many of the world’s most successful and ambitious employers. In January 2007 Antal International established the first office in India, which led to the opening of 38 offices in 14 cities. In 2013, Antal named Joseph Devasia as its Managing Director for Antal International Network, India – the man who brought Antal to India 9 years ago. Antal India today has 100+ consultants working across offices in India filling more than 3000 assignments at the mid – senior level. Antal India today has offices specialising in various industries like FMCG/CD, Ecommerce, IT, Pharma, Auto, Engineering, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Construction, Retail, Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Defence. Clients: Over the past 22 years, Antal has worked with over several thousand clients making 60,000 placements. Antal extensive network of offices and deep market expertise is what sets Antal apart from its competitors. To know more about us – www.antal.com

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