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Do's and Don'ts for Working with a Professional Recruiter

How to Get the Most Out of Your Recruiter

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Businesswoman conducting an interview
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Recruiters, or "headhunters" can help you with your search, especially if you follow these tips to maximize your results.

DO's

Be Honest - Misrepresenting your intentions, your background, experience, or qualifications will come back to haunt you eventually. Experienced recruiters know what to look for and they will do thorough background checks.

Also, tell the recruiter where you’re already interviewing, so that he or she won’t duplicate efforts, or muddy the waters by presenting you twice, which could cause the client to move on to other candidates.

Ask Questions - Ask about the recruiters experience level, client base, and area of expertise.

Follow Up - A recruiter wants to know that you’re interested in a position.

Be Professional - Recruiters may not make the final decision, but they are the very first point of contact or entry into a company. You should treat them as if they are a hiring manager at the company where you want to be employed. Proofread all written communication, and be sure to maintain professionalism in all interactions with a recruiter.

Work With Multiple Recruiters - It is good to work with more than one recruiter. However, you should keep it to 2-3 at the most, or else you'll saturate the market. When you have multiple recruiters representing you to the same client, it is a sticky situation for everyone involved. It can also make you look desperate. Again, keep your recruiters informed, and they will be more likely to work for you.

DON'TS

Don’t Disappear - If you decide you’re not interested in a job, let the recruiter know! A good recruiter is not going to try to pressure you, but if you pull a disappearing act you could be "flagged", so that no other recruiters at that company, or in that network, will work with you in the future.

To decline an interview, notify the recruiter in a polite and professional way, and tie up loose ends so that the door will be left open for future positions.

Don’t be a Pest - Follow up is good, pestering is bad. It’s ok to follow up one or two times a week throughout the process, if you’re awaiting feedback. This shows interest and tenacity. However, if you call ten times a day, you will appear desperate, which is bad for a job search!

Don’t Take it Personally - If a recruiter doesn’t call you back, follow up as noted above. If he or she still doesn’t respond, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. It just means that your skill set is not a match for their current openings. Try sending an email stating that you’d like to be considered for other positions and leave it at that. Most successful recruiters cannot possibly return every candidate call or discuss every turn-down. It’s just not realistic based on the volume of candidates each recruiter is handling.

Don’t go Around a Recruiter to Their Client - This is a sure way to get blacklisted, and it almost never works in your favor. If the recruiter has already presented your information to the client, and then you contact the client, the client company now has a dilemma as to who gets credit for the candidate. This could ultimately affect your candidacy, because sometimes the simplest solution for the hiring manager who’s caught in the middle is to remove you from consideration.

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