You’ve expressed your interest in an open position by submitting your resume or having an initial conversation with the recruiter. And then, you wait. After hours, days, or maybe weeks of anticipating a return call, you start to feel discouraged and begin to wonder: Does my recruiter hate me?

Chances are, your recruiter doesn’t hate you. But it is possible that you’ve been pushed to the bottom of the pile simply by making some all-too-common job seeker mistakes. So, before making the assumption that your recruiter doesn’t like you or doesn’t have your best interest in mind, stop to consider the dynamics of the recruiter-employer relationship and how you fit in as a candidate.

Understand the role of a recruiter
In general, recruiters have one primary function: to fill jobs. That sounds simple, but in reality, a recruiter’s responsibilities are far more complex. Recruiters are hired by employers to identify the best candidate for open positions. The employer pays a fee to the recruiter to make a successful match. That means the employer is the client—not you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the recruiter isn’t vested in your successful job search. As a quality candidate, you play a vital role in the placement process. Without you, recruiters would not be able to successfully fill job orders from clients.

Given this knowledge, you might appreciate the complexity of a recruiter’s job. Recruiters invest a wealth of time connecting with potential candidates—searching their talent pool for professionals who possess the right combination of skills, experience, and cultural fit. Then, once a group of qualified candidates is identified, they spend time collaborating with you and the employer to arrange interviews—managing both sides of the recruitment process to ensure both parties are happy with the final result.

If recruiters had a rallying cry, it would be the wise words of Jerry Maguire:  “Help me, help you!”

Help recruiters help you by avoiding these common job seeker missteps:

  1. Don’t stalk the recruiter. Recruiters know you are eager to land a job and they are just as eager to help you. Despite your enthusiasm, you must respect the process. Once a recruiter has ascertained your needs, expectations, and ideal role, they get to work trying to identify an opportunity that fits. If you’re a potential fit, you’ll receive a call—promise. There is no need to email or call to check in multiple times a day or week.
  2. Don’t fail to remember that patience is a virtue. When a potential opportunity is identified you’ll work with your recruiter to determine if it’s a fit. It’s important to be patient. Recruiters spend a lot of time going back and forth between you and the employer. Remember, they want to fill the job just as much as you want to have it. Throughout the recruitment process, your recruiter will keep you abreast of the situation. As soon as they hear word from the employer, so will you.
  3. Don’t forget the manners your mother taught you. Recruiters are resourceful people because finding the best candidate for an open position often takes digging deep into their network and talent pool. For instance, if you have an active and complete LinkedIn profile, you may receive an unsolicited call or email from a recruiter. If the potential job isn’t within the compensation range you would entertain, don’t be offended and reply, “I make double that!” or “I have a job, why are you contacting me?” Simply thank the recruiter for reaching out and maybe recommend a colleague who might be a better fit. You never know when you may want to work with that recruiter in the future, so keeping your interactions respectful and professional is a good idea.
  4. Don’t confuse hiring managers with smoke and mirrors. Few companies expect a job seeker to put all their eggs in one basket. So if you are participating in interviews with a different company or if you have other offers, be transparent. Don’t bail on interviews or suddenly take yourself out of the game after the process is well underway. It’s disrespectful of the employer’s time and can also have a negative effect on your personal brand.
  5. Don’t be indifferent. If you want the job, do the work. Respond to emails and voicemails in a timely and professional manner, research both the company and the position thoroughly, engage during the interview, and send a follow-up letter when it’s over. Be proactive.

Remember, a recruiter’s favorite thing to do is call a candidate with an exciting job offer. If their days could be filled with these types of calls all day long, that would be ideal. But in reality, recruiters have to relay disappointing news too. It’s not easy for them, or you.

Ultimately, your recruiter is just one of many resources in your overall job search. Learn to effectively leverage their expertise and network—helping them, help you—and you’ll find a successful end to your job search.

Stay tuned for Parts 2 & 3 where we will address Client and Recruiter best practices.

Visit our Ultimate Job Search Guide to discover what makes a successful job search.

Job Search