Author: Angela Sordi
We know that a good recruiter is an invaluable tool to her client; a trusted third party who is relied upon for sourcing top talent, streamlining the application process and being able to offer invaluable assistance throughout the negotiation and offer stage when the best candidate is ultimately selected. As a candidate searching for your next step in your professional career, you want to ensure that a good and connected recruiter has you on her radar.
The recruitment paradigm is three-fold: the client is seeking the “perfect” candidate; the candidate is seeking the best opportunity for her professional career; and, the recruiter is relying upon her ability to shortlist the perfect match while building enduring relationships with both the hiring client and the candidate. The recruiter is vested in the candidate’s success and therefore genuinely committed to building a strong partnership with you.
Although in most scenarios it is the client that compensates the recruiter, the success of a given search is highly dependent upon the relationship a recruiter has been able to establish with the candidates the recruiter presents to her client. The recruiter-candidate relationship is a critical component of the recruitment process and if you are seeking out new professional opportunities in a fast-paced and highly competitive market, it is something that should be taken very seriously.
The first step in building an enduring relationship with your recruiter begins with the initial phone call or email message. It has been said that a first impression is made within 15 seconds of meeting someone; this same scenario holds true for your first 15 seconds of conversation with your recruiter. You should always do your due diligence before contacting a recruiter; know who the recruiter is and a little bit about her. A reputable recruitment firm will usually have a well maintained website where recruiter’s biographies and up-to-date contact information is posted.
In the Canadian market it is common for a professional recruiter to personally meet with you, clearly address confidentiality issues and ask questions about your career history and professional experience. A recruiter will want to know what you are ideally looking for in terms of your job search and long term professional growth. Recruiters can quickly recognize candidates who prepare for their meeting, are forthcoming and present themselves in a professional manner.
The information a recruiter gathers during your initial meeting arms them with the information they need in order to work effectively with you. Be sure to honestly disclose your career history to your recruiter, it is always helpful to let her know what organizations within the last year have received your C.V. and the outcome of any interviews or job offers. Being dishonest with your recruiter and placing her in a comprising situation will quickly sour your relationship. Experienced recruiters ask thoughtful questions and listen carefully to the answers provided.
Following your initial meeting and once you’ve decided to work with a recruiter, it is important that you understand that you have made a decision to partner with that recruiter, and, as in any successful partnership the relationship will be one of both give and take. Treat your recruiter as you would a good client, be responsive to phone calls and always be punctual when a recruiter has scheduled an interview for you. Should you personally hear of an exciting opportunity, be sure to share that information with your recruiter before you submit your materials directly to the company; your recruiter may have an existing relationship with that employer and increase your chances of securing an interview. Being open and passing along information to your recruiter is an effective way to keep in touch and build trust.
Listen and carefully consider your recruiter’s advice; a good recruiter understands the marketplace, works closely with hundreds of companies and law firms and has facilitated the hiring of partners and associates just like you. She is well-equipped to offer advice on your application package, how you’ve highlighted your experience, your first impression and interview style, your salary and succession expectations. A recruiter with whom you’ve built a strong working relationship will work hard to assist you in accurately gauging whether or not an opportunity is for you.
A trusted recruiter will be part of the recruitment process from the time she initially presents you with a new opportunity up until an offer is negotiated and accepted; and, as a result, she will be able to provide you with practical advice when you’re considering an opportunity, received an invitation for an interview, or have been given a job offer from a potential employer. Remember, your recruiter has interacted personally with that employer. In many cases, your recruiter has filled a number of mandates for the same employer and can offer great insight into the history and culture of the firm or legal department, what the expectations may be beyond the formal job description and whether or not your personal and professional expectations are in line with what the opportunity offers. When you are successful in securing an offer, your recruiter can assist you during the contract negotiations. Many candidates find comfort in asking their recruiter to negotiate for a higher base salary, additional vacation time or a more lucrative bonus. A savvy recruiter will know who else is being considered for a position and will be aware of how much negotiation power you may have. Throughout the process be honest about your degree of interest and discuss any red-flags with your recruiter so that she is readily prepared to discuss your candidacy with a potential employer.
Building a strong working relationship with your recruiter will not only increase the likelihood of sourcing out the best next step in your professional career; it can play a key role in achieving long-term professional success. In the span of your career you may have any number of different employers; but, a good recruiter can remain a constant through-out your career.