Both candidates and recruiters occasionally experience frustration when it comes to their relationships. Poor recruiters and unprofessional candidates aside, I think it is worth clearing the air. Oftentimes, the people on both sides of the equation have good intentions but they still end up frustrated. I’ll address two of the common frustrations candidates have with recruiters and how these problems should be addressed.

Candidates not valuing the Middleman

Applying directly to a company can be tempting and easy with tools like Linkedin. These tools expose how few degrees of separation there are between you and your dream job.

It’s true that sometimes applying directly to a company can work out. Still, you will probably recognize the value of a recruiter over time. There are many ways that working with a recruiter offers value that may not be immediately apparent.

  1. Recruiters help you discover opportunities and companies you would not have discovered alone. They sell the benefits of those opportunities and those companies. Companies often receive hundreds of applications and their applicant inbox is generally swamped with lots of unqualified candidates who “clicked-to-apply” because they could. Even if you are highly qualified for the role you will be buried amongst the flotsam and jetsam of poor applicants. A recruiter can get their client in above the noise.
  2. Recruiters can offer you choice and will help you weigh your options.  
  3. Recruiters can give you career and industry advice.
  4. Recruiters help you through the interview process. They understand the firm, the people, the culture and the requirements of the role. Finally, they help you with negotiations so that you don’t sully yourself as a party with a vested interest.

Our Job

As a candidate, make sure that your recruiter provides you with the above services. They should be up-to-speed on the product, the platform, the company, the personalities, and the wider context of your search. This includes the job options that you have sourced elsewhere. They should be willing to impart their knowledge and to offer you career advice.

Your Job

Make sure that you maintain two-way communication with your recruiter throughout the process. If you give a little, you will receive advice that will help you make the right choice. Don’t keep your other options secret –your recruiter may have valuable insight for you on those companies or their potential impact on your career path.

Poor Recruiter Communication and Follow-Up

How often have you sent a resume or been submitted to a firm only to get limited or no follow-up from the recruiting firm? Every recruiter is guilty of this at some point or other. The bad ones make a habit of it. Communication issues between candidates and recruiters often come down to a few key reasons. Understanding the background to those reasons can help:

  1. We have nothing for you currently. We look at EVERY resume that comes in but we don’t immediately respond to all of them. Sometimes they fester in our inbox as we think about current and future roles that could be a fit. It doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking about you. You have to remember that we are CLIENT search-led. This is a subtle but crucial point. I wrote a separate blog post on this that is worth a read.
  2.  We are not a match for you, period. We don’t work on your function/space/ industry. Look at our open jobs and how we describe our focus before you apply.
  3.  You are not a match for the job you applied for. See above…the dreaded recruiter inbox full of not-so-relevant resumes strikes again! Only apply if you are a logical fit for the role (read: functional match plus EITHER relevant industry expertise OR similar vertical expertise OR, better yet, both.
  4. The client’s requirements change. It can take awhile for recruiters to find this out and it causes frustration all around.
  5. Sometimes we aren’t given a reason for rejection. We like to be able to quickly tell you if you are out of consideration. That doesn’t always happen as quickly as we would like. Some clients are great at providing constructive criticism but others simply move on and don’t want to spend any more time on rejected candidates.

Our Job

Our job is to get back to you as soon as is reasonable and to keep you posted throughout the process. When you contact us, we should actively try to respond and to keep you in the loop and at least be transparent if we too are being frustrated by a temporary lack of communication from the client.

Your Job

You should keep in regular communication with us on the progress of your job search even if it means you have to follow up a second time on a non-answered email. The squeaky wheel (within reason) gets more attention in the long run. At the very least, you will get a clear explanation on why you are not being inundated with opportunities or detail.

You can help a recruiter by sharing what you are seeing in the marketplace––cool jobs, companies, etc. Think of it as content marketing for your own brand as well as helping you keep your brand at the top of the recruiter’s mind. A good recruiter who cannot help you directly will try and direct you to other recruiters that might be able to help.

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