As a recruiter I am very mindful of my responsibility to my clients, my candidates and my consultants who have already been placed on assignment. Here at DTG it is in our DNA to fulfill these obligations for ethical and professional reasons. I have heard all the criticisms about poor recruiters, making my job much more difficult to gain and maintain the trust of the candidates with whom I want to work. Fortunately, bad recruiters are not difficult to spot, and you can usually tell in a 5-minute phone call whether they have your best interests at heart.
However, the candidate- recruiter relationship is a two-way street. What sort of responsibilities do you, as a candidate, have to your recruiter?
In my 10+ years working in this industry as an IT recruiter, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the finest candidates who I’ve placed in progressively better career situations through the years. I’ve also worked with my share of poor candidates.
A poor candidate has nothing to do with skillset. It has to do with not fulfilling your obligations on your end of the relationship. So let’s focus on that relationship, the two-way street between a recruiter and a candidate.
What are our responsibilities as your Recruiter?
1. Job Details
When a recruiter calls to tell you about a job opportunity they should have a full understanding of the job requirements, salary range or hourly rate, location, and duration. In addition, they should be able to provide you with a written job spec. In some cases, a hiring manager does not supply a full description but just provides a series of notes to the recruiter. A good recruiter will be able to transcribe those notes into a job spec for your review.
2. Interview Scheduling and Preparation
Your recruiter should take care of scheduling your interviews on a date/time that works for both you and the client. In addition, your recruiter should make sure that you are as prepared as possible to succeed. Do you need to bring certain materials with you like a portfolio, a writing sample, or a laptop? Will you be required to take a written test? What is the appropriate attire for the interview? Who will you be meeting with and what are their titles? Are there any “quirky” aspects of this client’s interviews that you should be prepared for? A good recruiter should provide answers to all of these questions before you interview.
Open lines of communication are key to any recruiter/candidate relationship. When you call or email your recruiter, you should expect a reply as soon as possible. When your recruiter gets feedback on your interview, good or bad, it should be communicated to you immediately. Unfortunately, many hiring managers do not provide feedback promptly. While a good recruiter will make every effort to get feedback, sometimes it just doesn’t happen as quickly as most job seekers would like. Your recruiter should still keep in touch and let you know about the delay and keep you up on any changes with the position. Communication between a recruiter and candidate is a two-way street, so if you have committed to be submitted for a position, you need to return calls and emails from your recruiter. We are working as an advocate on your behalf and need to be able to reach you. Also, feedback from candidates is crucial to our understanding of the inner workings of the client’s interview. Feedback from the person that interviewed before you is what helps us to prepare you better for your interview.
4. Respect and Honesty
You are not going to be a fit for every position you apply to. It can sometimes be difficult for a recruiter to get that point across to someone who desperately wants or needs that job. Still, it is your recruiter’s responsibility to be honest with you. Just because you may not be right for one position does not mean you won’t be right for the next position that comes across the recruiter’s desk. Your recruiter should show you enough respect to deal with you in a professional manner when delivering the good or bad news. You are asking your recruiter to help you get a job. It’s not a responsibility that should be taken lightly. The very least you should expect from your recruiter is respect and honesty in every step of the process.
What are your responsibilities as a Candidate?
Many people will tell you that you are expected to “embellish” on your resume. Certainly, you want to put yourself in the most positive light and draw attention to your skills. However, there is a difference between accentuate your positive traits and flat out lying. Do not put anything on your resume that you are not prepared to defend in an interview. If you think that you can lie your way into an interview and then “wow them” with your personality once you get there, you are kidding yourself. Nobody wants to hire someone that can’t be trusted. Honesty goes beyond just the resume. Your recruiter is going to do everything he or she can to get you an interview and hopefully a job, but that can’t happen if we are operating with false or incomplete information. Your recruiter is advocating on your behalf. If you are not open and honest with us, how can we be expected to succeed in helping you reach your professional goals?
This is perhaps the most frustrating thing that a recruiter has to deal with when it comes to candidates. We are working hard to get to you in front of our client. When you receive an email or voicemail from your recruiter, it is important that you return it as soon as possible. That doesn’t mean immediately. Many candidates are already employed and can’t speak comfortably from their desks whenever we want them to. That is understood. However, taking a day or week (believe me, it happens!) to return a call is too long. Recruiting is not a 9 to 5 job. If you absolutely cannot talk or email at all during work, reach out after work. But do not leave us wondering what happened to you. Not only does it show a lack of respect for our work, but remember that if we are calling you, it is very likely at the request of the client. While we wait, they wait, and that does not reflect well on you.
We don’t expect you to only work with us. If you are serious about trying to find a new job, you want to cast as wide a net as possible, and that includes working with other recruiters. If you are interviewing with other companies, let us know. If you are an expecting an offer from another company soon, let us know. If our client has a long interview process, it might not make sense for you to get involved with them. You also need to let us know if you have already been submitted to our client through another source. If you think being submitted to a client by multiple sources will help your odds you are wrong. It won’t help and could ultimately harm your candidacy.
Our industry is based on relationships. Mutual respect and working together towards a common goal will help make our professional relationship one that will pay dividends for both of us today and into the future.