Getting The Best Out Of Working With Recruiters

Getting The Best Out Of Working With Recruiters

You’ve started your job search and you’re positive about your next steps. You’re the perfect match for a number of roles and can deliver on many, if not all, of the requirements on the job descriptions. You apply for several positions, eagerly anticipating calls from recruiters to arrange interviews and…


Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common complaints about the job search process we hear from our members.

So, what can you do if you find yourself in this situation?

Here are some ideas:

To start, make sure you’ve checked your CV

  • Recruiters spend a matter of seconds glancing at CVs. Make yours easy to read and tie back your experience directly to the role requirements.
  • For some tips on how to improve yours, see our model CV

Be clear about what you want

  • Many candidates apply for a range of roles hoping that this will increase the likelihood of them securing one. To an extent this is true, however you can overdo it. If you’re applying for roles across loosely connected areas, for example Strategy, Management, Operations and Risk, not only will your job search require a tremendous amount more effort, but you will come across as less credible when explaining this to consultants.
  • So be clear about how you can best use your skills and what positions you’d enjoy. Speak to us about our career coaching services.

Don’t forget the recruiter

  • It might seem like the hiring manager is the person you need to impress and the application process is a check-box on the way, but don’t forget the agent advertising the role. They are pre-screening you for the hiring manager. Most will expect to meet you before they send your CV to a client, so be proactive and contact them to book a meeting. If the name of the agent isn’t listed, call their office and ask their colleagues to put you in touch.
  • Meet them in person or via Zoom, but get to know them face to face. Think of it as good interview practice and the opportunity to build a relationship and apply some positive influence.
  • Understand the areas and clients they cover. Do they focus on select roles at a large number of clients, or recruit for a whole department at just one firm? Understand this and you’ll know how to direct the conversation. It will help you be more efficient in your search too – are you applying to roles via enough different recruiters?

Now you have the attention of the consultant, here’s what to focus on:

Share some information

  • Recruiters are brokers. They add value to their clients by knowing who’s who in the job market and having up-to-date information on how it’s moving. If you share information with them, you’ll be invaluable.
  • For bonus points, offer to introduce recruiters to people in your network. Although we advise doing this once you’ve established a proper relationship and your network will get value from the contact.
  • As always, be careful not to share any company or personal confidential information.

Follow up regularly

  • The volume of roles handled by agencies can be high. Even at the senior end, consultants are having dozens of conversations a week. You will naturally fall off their radar quickly.
  • By checking in often you’ll be front of their mind and might happen to get an early lead on a new role.

But not too regularly

  • Give them some space. They have a job to do and you don’t want to appear desperate.

Be flexible

  • Sometimes an agent needs to show hiring managers some candidate options quickly. Even if a role looks too junior for you, consider sending your CV if a recruiter calls you about it. You’re doing the agent a favour and if nothing else, will benefit from interview practice and the chance to expand your network. And if things go well, don’t forget, firms often change the scope of a role or create an entirely new one to bring in a candidate they like.

Finally, don’t forget the basics

  • Whilst the job search process can be frustrating and the apparent lack of explanation sometimes maddening, don’t forget the small things:
    • Be courteous, even if you’re having a bad day.
    • Be responsive. Get back to emails and calls about new roles, even if they’re not suitable for you and communicate any updates in your situation so the agent can update your status on their system.
    • Be punctual for calls and interviews.
    • In short, make it easy for consultants to deal with you!

Whether you’re at the beginning of your search or have already put in the hours applying for new roles, hopefully you’ll find something in this post which you can use to your benefit. Get in touch to let us know how they’ve worked for you or to recommend your top tips.

At Careers Springboard we regularly run webinars on CV writing and networking, previous presentations can be found in the members section of the website. Find upcoming webinars in the events section. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook where we share useful job search content.

Guest post by Jonathan Hartley – Jonathan has experience in Executive Search and is part of the volunteer CV review team at Careers Springboard.