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Written by Charlotte GraingerCharlotte Grainger

How to work with a recruiter to find a job and why you should do it

11 min read
How to work with a recruiter to find a job and why you should do it
Searching for your next job? Working alongside a recruiter could help you to land interviews and maybe even get hired faster. Here’s what you should know.

When you’re hunting for your next job, you need to use everything in your arsenal. Scouring jobs boards, looking on LinkedIn, and asking for referrals are all smart ideas. But what if you want to give yourself a competitive edge? You may be missing a trick here. 

Learning how to work with a recruiter could be your secret weapon. These professionals are highly-trained in the art of matching the right candidates to vacancies. If you’re not sure how or where to start, you’ve made it to the right place. Here at Resume.io, we have everything you need to get your job search moving swiftly. Here’s what you can expect to learn: 

  • The core benefits of working with a recruiter
  • Tips on how to reach out to recruiters and work well with them
  • Why you can’t rely completely on recruiters to find your a job
  • Expert advice that you can use to keep things moving forward

Before we go any further, is your professional resume hitting the mark? If you want to perfect your next application, you can use our tech-powered resume builder for free now. 

Why you should consider working with a recruiter

Thinking of contacting a recruiter? Ahead of sending that “hello” message, you need to know what the point of it all is. Working with a recruiter to find the right job for you offers up a wealth of benefits. Let’s break down some of the reasons that you should give it a go: 

Unlock the hidden job market 

Not all vacancies are advertised online. The “hidden job market” is the name given to the thousands upon thousands of jobs that employers never share publicly. Yes, often enough, hiring managers will only advertise jobs internally or not at all. Sometimes, these professionals will work with a recruitment agency to fill a high-profile vacancy. If you want to hear about more jobs than ever, working with a recruiter could be the answer. 

Save yourself time and energy 

We won’t beat around the bush—job hunting is a real drain. Not only is this task time consuming, it can also take all of your energy when you set your mind to it. If that scenario sounds all too familiar, working with a recruiter could be the answer. The professional will save you both time and energy by pinpointing the best vacancies for you. That means that you can focus on being selective about the job positions for which you apply. 

Get advice and guidance along the way 

Looking for some extra support as you navigate the realms of job-seeking? It can be a lonely and, frankly, frustrating experience when you first get started. That’s where working with a recruiter comes into the picture. These professionals will know your industry in-depth, and so can help you make the right decisions along the way. So long as you take the time to find the right recruiter for your needs*, you will get the support and advice you’ve been looking for.  

*Hold on… We’ll get to how to do that in a minute!

Gain future opportunities in years to come 

When a recruiter has done the deed and helped you land a job, the journey is not over. One of the biggest benefits of learning how to work with a recruiter is staying on their books. You can “opt in” to keep your name on their database. That means that you will already be on the list when a future opening comes up. If you’re searching for a way to climb the career ladder quickly, contacting the right recruiter and working alongside them could be the answer. 

Top tips on how to work with a recruiter 

Now, let’s dive right into how to work with a recruiter like a pro. Scroll through LinkedIn and you will see that there are a ton of loud and proud recruiters ready to take your details. While you may be tempted to spam their inboxes, it’s better to take a more targeted approach. 

The truth is that there is a right way and a wrong way to get started. Luckily, we’ve got you covered here. Take a look at our expert tips on how to work with a recruiter to find a job. 

Search for a recruiter who knows your field 

The generic “recruiter for all fields” type probably won’t get you the best results. You need to work with a master of your industry if you want to land your dream job. Before you reach out to any recruiter, take some time to do your research. Look at a variety of candidates online and see what industries they serve and, perhaps most importantly, the connections that they have. Delve into recruiters’ LinkedIn pages (and their network) as well as their professional websites to get the inside scoop. 

Ask the important questions first 

You don’t have to commit to the first recruiter you speak to. When you are doing your introductions, it’s the perfect time to see if they are the right fit for you. Seize the opportunity to ask them some probing questions. Here are some of the examples you may consider: 

  • How well do you know my industry and do you have connections within it?
  • How long does it usually take you to place a candidate in a role?
  • Do you have any success stories that you would like to share with me?
  • How do you market candidates and what results do you gain?
  • How would you suggest that I market myself to hiring managers?
  • What type of prospects do you believe I should be seeking?

These questions may sound intimidating, and that’s kind of the point. There are plenty of recruiters out there who would be happy to work with you. They need you. So, when you are deciding which one to work with, you should ask them the right questions first. 

If the recruiter in question shirks answering these questions, that will tell you everything that you need to know. However, should they come back to you with impressive answers, you might find that they are the right person for the job. Don’t be afraid to be selective here.

Be upfront about your career and salary expectations 

Once you’ve found a recruiter who ticks all of your boxes, it’s time for some open and honest communication. Now is not the time to be coy. You should tell the recruiter what your career expectations are and what salary you are going after. Don’t just send them your resume and hope for the best. Instead, schedule an initial discussion in which you can cover all of the important ground. Having a 10 or 20-minute Zoom call could make a big difference. 

Be crystal clear about your nonnegotiables 

A recruiter’s main goal is to place candidates in roles. You’re searching for the right job. So, you don’t want to end up being pushed into the wrong one. Be clear about the things that you need from your next job. Examples of your nonnegotiables may include: 

When you first start working with a recruiter, you will have the chance to explain what you’re looking for. You should already have a solid idea of what you want and need from a job. Don’t mince your words. Take the time to articulately explain your terms to a recruiter. 

Kicking things off with this key information leaves zero room for confusion. Yes, the recruiter may come to you with fewer opportunities than you would otherwise get but—and this is the important part—they will be the right opportunities for you.  

Ask them for advice and listen to it

One of the unexpected benefits of working with a recruiter is that you can tap into their expertise. While it may have been a while since you applied for jobs, the recruiter is familiar with the modern-day career market. So, let them guide you along the way. 

When you are working with a recruiter, don’t be scared to ask them for support and advice. For instance, should your job search be taking longer than expected, you could ask them why they think that is. If you want to go for a specific position, you may ask the recruiter for advice on whether your current expertise fits the bill. Their help may well be invaluable. 

Expert tip

Don’t rely solely on recruiters! 

As we have covered here, recruiters do a stellar job at helping you find your next role. However, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t rely on them solely. 

When you are looking for a job, you need to cover all bases. Yes, you should work with a recruiter… but you should also use other job seeking approaches. Here are some ideas that will help you propel your job-search forward: 

  • Make sure your professional resume is on point
  • Write tailored resumes for each new vacancy
  • Enhance your LinkedIn profile and set it to “open to work”
  • Keep up to date with the industry requirements
  • Seek out industry-specific jobs boards
  • Ask former colleagues for referrals
  • Network in real-life and online, e.g. LinkedIn
  • Try speculatively reaching out to companies

Key takeaways 

  • Yes, you can work with a recruiter to find a job! However, it’s important to connect with a professional who knows your industry well.
  • Ask questions and get to know the recruiter before you decide to work with them.
  • Ensure your resume wows hiring managers. Check out our vast library of resume examples and writing guides now.
  • Don’t rely solely on recruiters. Use other job-seeking approaches to boost your chances of landing your next position quickly.
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