Back To Career News

7 Things You Should Know About Recruiters

You've received a call from a recruiter and the conversation was rather pleasant. You feel the two of you have hit it off and that you now have a potential ally in your job search. But it's now more than a week, and you haven't heard back from the recruiter and there's no reply to emails either. So what's really happening? Why haven’t you heard back from your "ally"?

You’ve received a call from a recruiter and the conversation was rather pleasant. You feel the two of you have hit it off and that you now have a potential ally in your job search. But it’s now more than a week, and you haven’t heard back from the recruiter and there’s no reply to emails either. So what’s really happening? Why haven’t you heard back from your “ally”?

Recruiter Call

(Photo Credit: PhotoStock/freedigitalphotos.net)

Understanding the role of the recruiter could help ease a lot of frustration and help you manage your expectations. Here are a few helpful pointers on working with recruiters.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. They do not work for you.

Recruiters work with organizations, and their main role is to fill open roles in their organization. In-house recruiters hire for their employer, while external recruiters hire for vendors. However friendly the initial phone connection, it does not mean that the recruiter will be working actively to place you. Their main responsibility is to fill the role. Granted, many recruiters will forward opportunities they think might be suitable for you, but they don’t have to.

2. They are not career counselors.

During the initial discussion, recruiters may take the time to learn a bit more about you and your career aspirations. But the purpose is not to help you in your job search, but to see if you fit the opportunities that they are working to fill. Emptying your soul out to them does not mean that they are creating the perfect role for you; sharing your aspirations only helps them shortlist or pass on your candidature. But staying in touch with the recruiter and establishing a good professional connection can help in the long run, if they refer you to positions that are a good fit.

3. They are not resume writers.

They can very well tell you to customize your resume for different roles or to present your resume in a clearer format. But you cannot expect them to help you redesign your resume. That is not their job.

4. They don’t own the role or the recruitment process.

The hiring managers are responsible for identifying the right candidate. The recruiter does a basic check on your background and fit and forwards it to the owners of the process if he finds you to be a close organizational fit. The recruitment process (group discussion, panel interview, and case study), the timeline for closure, etc. are decided by the department in to which the position reports.

5. They may not know everything about the job, but they can screen you for fit.

The recruiter’s job is to source, shortlist, and share the right candidates for the job. If their candidates are selected, the numbers get added to their quota and they are paid for their effort, depending on their performance metrics. So they may not (with the exception of a few recruiters) be able to answer all your questions about the job. In fact, your questions may be taken back to the hiring manager for clarification. But most recruiters know the cultural fit of the organization they are working for, the behaviors that are encouraged, and the personalities that click, so they are able to screen you well for the organizations they work with.

6. They may not know why your candidature is being closed out.

While it is important to keep candidates updated on the recruitment process, recruiters may themselves become aware of any developments (position slashed, job description changed, candidate identified) only later in the process. Even so, they may not know the reasons behind the decision, especially if the hiring managers or recruiting organization do not share the information.

7. They cannot negotiate for you.

Once they connect you and the hiring manager, they only act as liaisons between you and the hiring organization. They can share your concerns or requests, but you will have to do your own negotiation to get what you want from your new role.

If you are looking for a job, it is a good idea to connect with recruiters or to get introduced to them through common connections. But remember, like with any job, some recruiters are great — they’re hands-on and follow through with their candidates, and keep them updated — and some recruiters aren’t and don’t. So instead of just completely depending on the recruiter, look out for yourself and network a lot. If you do find interesting openings, you could also let the recruiter know and he may connect you to the job poster.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have any suggestions or experiences to share? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
Read more from Padmaja

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.