Working with a recruiter can put turbo boosters on your job search—and your career—but to get the most out of this relationship, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Since your recruiter doesn’t work for you and you aren’t the one paying her salary, recognize that the needs of her true employers (her hiring manager clients) will come first on her list of priorities. It’s her job to find and identify the candidates her client needs, not to help you land a job.

That being said, she wants to make sure you’re happy in a new role, and she wants to find a good fit for parties on both sides of the table. So help her to help you…and ultimately, help the hiring managers who are searching for you just as hard as you’re searching for them. Here’s how.

Honesty matters, even when it’s hard to find the words.

Maybe you’ve been taught all your life that if you want “success”, always say yes. Never say no, always be compliant, and always agree to any proposal or demand placed in front of you, no matter what. In reality, it’s best to shelve that idea, especially as you work with a recruiter to find a new job. Don’t worry about coming off as a team player and an eager beaver. Instead, carefully evaluate the job description you’re presented with, and if you have questions, ask them. Ask about salary. Ask about hours. Ask about commute issues. If you have skills, share them, but if you have concerns, share those too. If the job isn’t right for you, now is the best time to find out.

Expect honesty as well.

If you sense the job isn’t being presented with perfect honesty, just find out what you need to know. There’s no need to dance around. If the role seems like a thin, jazzy veneer painted over a pyramid scheme, probe to learn more. Be polite, but get the information you need.

Be realistic.

Your recruiter may not call you back right away after your first contact. She may accept your resume but not reach out to you for several days, or weeks, or at all. She may ask more about your specific qualifications and explain that the employer wants something that doesn’t appear on your resume. At all stages of your dialogue, keep your expectations manageable and don’t become confused, hurt, or demoralized if things don’t come together exactly as you’d like.

Trust their advice.

If your recruiter suggests you send a work sample, do so. If she suggests you play up one qualification and downplay another, take her at her word. She knows more about the employer and their preferences than you do.

For more on how to engage in a productive relationship that will bring success to both of you, talk to the recruiting and job search experts at Extension.


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