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What to expect when working with a Recruiter

Recruiting Companies started making strides into the marketplace in the 70’s.  They were probably one of the first outsourcing practices large companies moved to.  Also known as headhunters, they were known as just a step above a used car salesman.  This all changed when large companies like IBM, Ontario Hydro and the Banks realized they were being inundated with resumes for every job they posted.

Remember every resume back then was paper, yes I said “paper”.  Delivered in the mail,  gasp gasp.  The mail room, to the HR secretary to the actual HR Managers were being drowned in paper.  Not only did they have to manually screen (no ATS systems) each resume, they also had to reply – yes, gasp gasp, again by paper and stamp.  HR Departments were being clogged.  Great candidates were being missed.  Hence the rise of the “employment/recruitment agencies”.

These agencies also had to change the way they did business.  Companies didn’t want them sending over a 100 resumes, they wanted 3 to 5 for each position.  The agencies now had to screen all these resumes and find the best candidate.  Just like buying a house, the companies attitude was “find me the right candidate or I’ll go to another supplier”.  Keep in mind the agency was only paid if the client hired a candidate.  Recruiters had to become experts in their field (technology, finance, administration to name just a few).  They also had become experts in the interview process.

Over decades, the recruitment process has changed. Which leads us to the question “What to expect when working with a Recruiter?.

Industry/Company Knowledge:

Recruiters tend to specialize so if you pick the right one they should be a wealth of knowledge about their field.  If you have hooked up with the wrong one the first thing they should do is direct you to an expert recruiter in the field you are looking for.  Take advantage of the Recruiter’s expertise in the company.  Ask him detailed questions about the company and industry.  Start with a few simple questions:

  • Company culture – will you fit in, is it a stuffy company, is it too relaxed, does it promote from inside, is training available?
  • is the company expanding?
  • is the company doing lots of hiring?

Expertise in their field:

  • Live Jobs – Recruiters sign contracts with companies for specific live jobs.  These positions could be exclusive to one or more recruiting agencies.   They aren’t available on the company webpage.  This gives the Recruiter you are working with direct access to the hiring manager.  Part of this relationship includes knowing what the hiring manager is looking for, and what kind of candidates s/he has liked in the past.
  • Resume Help – yes I said Help.  Because of their expertise, they know what the company is looking for.  Most companies don’t want to see 10 page resumes.  Your recruiter will help you to discard the superfluous information and leave in the information the company is interested in for that particular position.  Be prepared for them to reformat your resume.  Move education from the last page to the first.  Highlight the key technologies.  Resumes with “I did, I was”, “John changed, John has” will be rewritten to use prominent action words.  Expect this from them, they are experts in having their candidates (you) get to the next step.
  • Interviewing:
    • Screening Interview:  after receiving your resume, be prepared for a screening interview.  This interview is basically to  make sure you are available, do you have the education and technologies, finds out if you would be willing to do the commute or relocate if necessary.  This interview can be done by a Junior Recruiter.
    • Telephone/Video/Face2Face Interview:  Prepare for this just like you were being interviewed by the company, with a little less stress.  The recruiter’s job is not only to find out if you are capable and experienced enough to do the job but also to help you to interview well.  They will be looking for your accomplishments and helping you to present them in a relaxed manner.  Your “elevator speech” will be fine tuned.  Practice your questions and possible interview answers with the recruiter.
  • Salary/Benefits – the Recruiter will discuss the salary/benefits with you.  You don’t have to worry about it being discussed in the actual company interview.   The Recruiter is your salesman, after finding out what you are expecting s/he will present this to the Company and help find the perfect match.  This will include not only salary negotiation but also vacation, benefits, bonuses, start dates, etc.
  • Job Offer – this will be presented to you and explained.  And then you will take it home and read it over again.  If you have any questions – yes call your Recruiter.
  • Feedback – why didn’t you get the job?  The recruiter will have feedback from the Company and s/he should explain to you why you didn’t get the job.  What were you missing?  Was it experience? education?, too nervous?  too cocky?  What can you do to improve?  Was your salary expectation too high?  Remember s/he wants you to get a job so it’s to his/her advantage to help you improve and analyze what happened.
  • References – this also falls under the bailiwick of the recruiter.  Depending on the company the Recruiter will call your references.  That doesn’t mean s/he will lie for you so make sure your references are up to date.
  • Resigning – this can be very stressful especially if you have been with the company for a while.  The Recruiter will help you through this step.  S/He will offer advice on how the company may make a counter offer and whether you should take it or not.  Although their client is the company they also want you to be satisfied in your decision.  Recruiters love repeat customers.


Do you only get in touch with a Recruiter if there is a specific job you are interested in?  Definitely NOT.  Recruiters can help you with career changes, re-education advice, getting back into the work force, etc.  They are a job hunting resource, use them and form an honest and fulfilling relationship with them.


happyfacehanddrawn Good luck job hunting


Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!