Q: This is my first time working with a recruiter. How can I make sure it is a productive experience?
A: Working with a recruiter can give your job search a big boost. While some parts of working with a recruiter are similar to the experience of searching on your own – e.g. the need to be prepared and responsive – there are some differences, too. To get the most from working with a recruiter, here are my tips:
Bring your A-Game For some reason, some candidates treat their first meeting or interview with their recruiter casually. While the recruiter is “on your side,” it’s still very important to make a good impression. The recruiter will use your initial conversations and meetings to help them determine your preparedness for meeting an employer and your “hire-ability.” Show up on time (or early). Dress professionally. Be prepared to answer the questions that typically come up in a job interview and also have questions of your own ready to ask the recruiter and get insight on the process.
Be prepared to tell your story. A “get to know you” meeting with a recruiter is different from a coffee date with friends. The recruiter needs data and detail to fully understand your situation. Before meeting your recruiter, take a look at your resume and add detail (go back and research it, if necessary) about the dates of each job, the salary, and any helpful details about your accomplishments.
Don’t hold back. Be prepared to share as much detail as possible about your current search, including the location, position, responsibilities, industries and specific organizations you are interested in, and your preferred start-date for a new job (ideally you should be ready to move into a new job immediately). Even if you’re just “testing the waters” and are not ready to discuss every aspect of a job search in detail, be specific about the things you can talk about.
Be transparent. When it comes to compensation, you might be tempted to “fudge” your salary history or give a range. However, doing so makes it more difficult for the recruiter to find you the right opportunities. The more detail you can provide to the recruiter, the better able they will be to help you find a suitable new position. Don’t be vague. Be clear about salary numbers, bonus, bonus structure and current benefits.
Have an open mind. Recruiters want to know what you’re looking for in a new job and what your priorities are. At the same time, try to limit your restrictions by avoiding statements like “I’ll only take a job with x percent salary increase” or “I only want to work in X area.” Try to cast a wide net, especially to start, and be open to a range when it comes to compensation.
About the Recruiter
Greg Menzone is a 10-year veteran of the staffing industry who has made hundreds of successful placements. Greg and the team he manages specialize in direct hire placement of accounting and finance professionals.