Understanding the Recruiter, part 2

As the economy and job market improves and opportunities begin to appear, you may consider using the services of a recruiter to help you look for a great new opportunity, or you may end up contacting a recruiting agency inadvertently when responding to an ad. If you are an employer you may need help finding the best candidate for the job and you may not have the time or resources to find a fitting candidate. And sometimes you may get a call from a recruiter unexpectedly and perhaps even at the right time, and would like to take advantage of their services.

The following are some tips and advice from a recruiter, architect, and myself for your consideration as you decide or prepare to work with a recruiting agency.

As a candidate, make sure your CV or resume is detailed and honest with regard to your work experience. You don’t want to exclude any relevant skills and awards that could put you at an advantage over a competing candidate. If you’re not sure what is or isn’t relevant, inquire with your trusted professional colleagues when preparing your credentials, and certainly when you are consulting with a recruiter. He or she is there to advise you, and it will help them properly find you a fitting position.

When working with a recruiting agency, you (the candidate) may not always have an opportunity to sit down with a recruiter face to face. Your exchanges may be through email and convenient phone calls during lunch. And as I mentioned earlier, sometimes you may receive an unexpected telephone call from a recruiter at work which can make for an awkward conversation. Don’t fret. You can always tell them in a friendly and familiar tone that you can not talk with them at the moment but you’re more than happy to call them back at a more convenient time. And sometimes you may end up speaking with them in a limited dialog of “yes, no, and maybe”. Never feel obliged to speak with them if you think it is not appropriate to talk freely. If a recruiter does not respect your wishes, you can kindly end the conversation with, “Thank you but that won’t be necessary.”

Mr. Dunning of Hunter:Dunning advised sticking with one agent at first; “You need to give the agent a chance, they will respect this and work hard for you,” Mr. Dunning explained.

It’s always best to go with a recruiting agency who’s been recommended to you by fellow architects. Employers looking to enlist the services of a recruiting agency should go to them with a clear description of the position they are seeking to fill as well as provide a detailed benefits package and what you are able to offer as a salary. The above advice also applies to candidates. You should be prepared to advise the recruiter what you want to do, professional career goals and development, as well as where you want to work. Don’t hesitate to tell them what you expect for compensation. A proper and professional recruiting agency and their agents will advise both client and candidate what is possible given the current economic and employment trends. For instance, if the client is losing out on some great hires due to lack of employee benefit package, the recruiter should advise you. Likewise, a professional recruiter should advise a candidate of the current salary trends based on the current market rate.

Remember, recruiters are supposed to be at your service to help you find a suitable candidate. You (the Client) are paying for their services based on a percentage of a candidate’s salary; make them work for it! The recruiter should be reviewing their database and resumes to find you the right candidate for the job, however that should not keep you from thoroughly interviewing the candidate and scrutinizing their experiences, knowledge, and skills. But before you (the Client) decide to work with a recruiting agency, you should not feel obligated to work within the agency’s terms and conditions. There’s always room for negotiations. Just like you (the Client) don’t have a fixed fee when working with your clients on a project. Your professional fee is negotiable based on the project and client’s budget. You should be able to work out a fee with the agency as well as discuss what happens should the hire not fulfill expectations. If the recruiting agency in unwilling to work with you, move on. Most recruiting agencies rebate their fee should things not work out with the candidate. If this is not clear during your discussions while you are considering the services of a recruiter, don’t hesitate to bring it up and make it part of your terms and condition if you are to enlist a recruiter’s services.

For the candidate, you should be able to obtain advice and assistance with portfolio preparation, interview tips, and advice on counter offer should you get one. The recruiter should not send you onto an interview without prepping you with some information about your potential employer and office.

Never feel compelled to continue working with a recruiter if the results of the recruiter’s labor have not been fruitful. Thank them for their help and move on.

I hope this two-part blog post on “Understanding the Recruiter” was helpful whether you’re curious about working with recruiters or if you’ve been jaded by past negative experiences. Again, I don’t think recruiters should be quickly dismissed. They are a resource of opportunity and talent. Unfortunately, there are those who have poor professional practices but there are those who are not; as with any profession.

If you’ve missed Part 1 of “Understanding the Recruiter”, and would like to read it, click here.

If you have any tips or advice, please feel free to share them by leaving a comment on this post.


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