Posted on 17 January 2007

Help Your Recruiter Help You

Jason gives a rundown of ways recruiters can help candidates out over at “What I Wish Recruiters Knew“.

Candidates can also improve the process through simply asking some questions to show you care, and which allow the recruiter to be open with you.

Here’s even a script:

“I realize you must have a lot on your plate. I don’t know what else you’re juggling, but I’d like to know how I can best work with you. Can I ask a few questions?

  1. I know that openings come and go, and I am willing to be patient for the right one. Do you have something you feel I am an excellent match for right now? Or, do you think I am in for a little wait?
  2. Is there a place I can go to see what your openings are? OR I know some boards cost money… is there a place I can watch and see *all* your jobs?
    (follow-up: can I subscribe to those jobs? If not, I strongly recommend‘s job-alerts)
  3. How likely is it that a job is still open if I see it on the board?
  4. If I see a job that fits me, what’s the best thing to do? I’d rather not send my resume or fill-out an application for each one I like. Can I contact you? Is there someone better to contact?
  5. What else should I be doing on my own?
  6. I am interested in landing the right position for me. I realize that may take some grooming… will you let me know if you see errors or things I should improve–either in my resume or portfolio or my presentation? Please be honest with me, ok?”

These things will help the recruiter know you respect them, but you’re looking for a way to be included in the “inner circle” of the recruiter’s work-life. Your request to get honest feedback will cause most recruiters to exhale for the first time in days.

“A candidate who wants me to be completely honest with them! What a breath of fresh air!”

What you’re saying in all this is that you’re smart, aware, talented yet humble, a good communicator and a good problem-solver. You make it easy for people to work with you. And, most of all, that you actually “care” a bit.

In Love is the Killer App, Tim Sanders shares what happens when you make caring for others more than yourself:

When you represent knowledge, opportunity, selflessness and intimacy, you are not just a service provider or a product. You are fun, you are interesting, you are valuable; you take people places they have never been before, you show them books theyve never heard of, you introduce them to people they never dreamed they would meetin short, you are the equivalent of a human theme park.

Skill-matches and accolades aside, these are skills that I call the “special sauce” that will get you catapulted to the front of a recruiter’s mind.

2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Luc Arnold Says:

    Hello Robert,

    We “met up” on Jason’s Blog and you were talking about recruiting. This is a field i am giving a good amount of consideration to these days. I am studying HR (anti-recruiting) currently but i am aiming to get my first recruiting job. I was wondering what insight you could share with me about your recruiting experiences. What people seem to thrive best in the Recruiting World? Look forward to talking to you further about this. Talk soon


  2. Robert Merrill Says:

    that’s a tough one. I never would have pegged recruiting as the place I’d be *ever* in my life, but–for me–it is the perfect intersection of things I love: People, Technology, Communications and Sales.

    Skills that are valuable….

    • I don’t think I am “money hungry”, but I am money-driven.
    • A good recruiter must be determined, even when they find out their “silver bullet” was only using them to get a better deal out of some other employer.
    • A good recruiter needs to know how to “open” people up and get past what they say and find out what they mean.
    • A good recruiter is needs a heard head and a soft heart–able to gut through the hard times yet know when to care more about people than process sometimes.

    All-in-all, there is absolutely nothing about my job that can’t be simultaneously defined as “insane and frenetic” and “satisfying and thrilling”.

    When it comes down to it, the thing I want to hire in a recruiter is this: Tenacity and Creativity to get the Right Person in the Right Job, no matter what. Sometimes that means telling the client they’re flat wrong. Other times, it means telling the candidate to “grow up”. But it always means you’re a problem solver, and the kind of person that makes other people inch-forward on their chair because you’re a “get it done” person, and they can sense they need to “put up or shut up”.

    That person will be successful. Period.

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