The Blog

Seven Things Recruiters Might Not Explain to their Candidates – But Should!

As a recruiter, I’m committed to making lasting matches between job seekers and companies, as well as building lasting relationships with my clients and candidates. 

When working with job seekers, the process can be complex and requires exceptional clarity with expectation setting, follow-through and communication.  Sometimes when candidates are first working with a recruiter, they may not understand the ways to make the relationship successful or things that can get in the way of their next career move. 

Tap into my experience of what works and what doesn’t, and check out these seven things that will help you start off your recruiter/candidate relationship right.

1. The hiring manager/companies pay the agency’s fees.

Companies hire recruiting agencies to find candidates to fill their open positions. With this arrangement, recruiters are held to a very high standard in terms of the candidates we can present. It can be frustrating to see an open role your recruiter is representing – knowing you could do it, yet the recruiter isn’t putting you forward. But remember - our job is to identify and recruit candidates with very specific skill sets.

When hiring managers are searching for candidates on their own, they may be more flexible about skills and traits. But when they are paying an agency for this service, they often want the candidate to possess all (not just some) of their perfect picture of an employee, including things like:

• specific functional or technical experience,

• industry experience,

• degree and/or certifications,

• ability to commute,

• willingness to accept a certain salary,

• and most importantly cultural fit.

This means that a candidate may be an excellent fit for a certain role we are managing, but if he is missing some of the required skills, the hiring manager won’t even consider him. 

2. Recruiters can’t do our job without quality candidates.

Job seekers, of course, are vital to this process; we could not fill open positions for top talent without top candidates! And while we are ultimately paid by the hiring managers, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be treating job seekers with respect. It’s all about relationships when it comes to candidates and recruiters – mutual respect, honesty and transparency. 

3. When a recruiter says they aren’t the right resource for you, it doesn’t mean you're “un-hirable.”

This is a very common misconception and it leads to frustration for the job seeker and even negativity toward recruiters. Although we would love to help everyone, for many reasons, we can’t. 

Most recruiters specialize in specific areas or domains. They establish an expertise and strong network in this area, and their knowledge and experience make them an invaluable asset to their clients. No matter how strong a candidate is in her field, if her background doesn’t align with our expertise, they are likely not going to be able to help you. That does not make you “un-hirable.” It means you need to find an agency that aligns with your experience.

4. Trust me, we want to find a way to help you.

Recruiters definitely want to find a way to place you - this is a big part of our job! Anything we can do to help you be more marketable to our clients is in your best interest and ours. Understand that a recruiter does not get paid unless they place you. So when a recruiter delivers the “bad news,” remember that it’s bad news for us, too.   

5. The F-word.

Feedback is a hot topic for recruiters. There is no such thing as too much feedback. The more feedback we have, the better we can do our job and the more efficient we can be in making the right placements. 

But the truth is, we are at the mercy of our clients. We can call and send the email asking for information on what they liked and what concerned them about a candidate, but often we can’t get our hands on this coveted information.    

So, when a recruiter says you are not moving forward in the process but doesn't have specifics as to why, it’s more than likely they did whatever they could to get information - not only for your knowledge, but to help us figure out how to find a more suitable fit for you and for the job we’re filling.

6. We don’t have anything for you right now.

While many companies prefer to partner with an agency when it comes to hiring, recruiters don’t get access to every open job. We also don’t have control over when positions become available and what types of roles open up. Your background may line up well with the kinds of roles we regularly recruit for, but timing is everything.  

This doesn’t mean you’ve fallen off our radar or that we are not interested in helping you. We just don’t have anything to show you at the moment. The good news? Things change quickly in the recruiting world, so it’s important we stay in touch. 

You can rest assured that as soon as something comes in that is a fit, we are going to get in touch with you.

7.  We are in it for the long haul!

Recruiters may appear to be primarily focused on the jobs they have open today, but rest assured we are thinking long term! Relationships are the number one thing this business is about. Building strong relationships with clients and candidates is the key to longevity. Every good recruiter strives to build and preserve a strong and diverse network. Take the time to tell them what your dream job is. Keep in touch with them. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Keep them up to date with any changes in your profile. When the right opportunity comes across their desk, the first place they will look is their network.

Despite our best efforts, we are never going to make everyone happy all the time. If you are working with a recruiter who isn’t meeting your expectations, you should absolutely have a conversation about how he or she can work to better serve you. Our goals are to get you a great new place to work, to learn and to grow while meeting the needs of our clients. Those are not easy tasks, but we are up to the challenge.