Part science, part alchemy

What are the most important things to consider when you are looking to engage with a recruiter?

Ask 100 people this very question and I’m sure you will generate a long list of relevant but quite different answers. Responses will typically be dictated by their previous experience of dealing with a recruiter and whether they were a client or a candidate.

But before we answer this question, let us go back a bit…

If you’re a candidate seeking work, it’s a service which is completely free of charge. No payment, no fees, nada! How many things in this day and age can you say are completely free? Despite the fact they're receiving a free service, candidates still have very high expectations of their recruiter (and quite rightly so in my opinion).

On the other hand, if you’re an employer looking to hire, you are ultimately responsible for paying the bill. And let us not forget that recruitment fees can be very expensive. So it's entirely reasonable that the client has a high expectation of the service they receive.

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Typical expectations.

So, what are the typical expectations placed on a recruiter? If you’re a candidate seeking a position you will want the recruiter to really understand you. They should be able to gain a thorough understanding of your technical capabilities, your strengths, motivations, areas for growth, any USPs and your achievements gained to date. You need to be able to trust them - to keep your information private, to work hard on your behalf to source suitable opportunities and to have your best interests at heart.

You only want them to inform you about positions which match what you’re looking for, and more importantly, positions that you have a realistic chance of securing. This is a key point. You also want lots of helpful advice regarding your CV, interview preparation, market conditions, your career journey, and package expectations.

As an employer, what would you expect of a recruiter if you were looking to hire an exceptional individual for your team?

You want them to have a wide, relevant network of contacts who trust them. You need them to have a deep understanding of their discipline and sector. They need to have the ability to skills-match candidates against the brief. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to engage relevant candidates should be expected. Strong project management skills to handle the assignment from start to finish as a minimum.

Do these people exist?

All of the above, in our opinion, should be a given. But there’s something else, something we feel is just as, if not more, important than the things we’ve already mentioned.

They need to ‘get’ you.

Sounds simple right? Hmm, not so easy.

Recruitment is part science, part alchemy.

Often, after I’ve taken a brief, my clients will finish with the line ‘you know what we’re looking for Andrew’. And most of the time I do.

So how do you know if you’re working with the right recruiter? The cream of the crop will be expert communicators with very high levels of emotional intelligence and empathy. They will get right under the skin of who you are and what you’re looking to achieve. They will have a sixth sense about what you really want, and what the ideal fit will look like.

Do these people exist? Yes, absolutely. Once you find one, you will know.