You just know the recruiter you spoke to is going to help you land your ideal job! He already had three roles he thought you’d be perfect for! So, you wait anxiously for the next phone call. and wait. and wait. and…

After hours, days, or maybe weeks of anticipating some follow-up, you start to feel discouraged and begin to wonder: Is my recruiter MIA?

Chances are, your recruiter is not missing and she doesn’t hate you. But it is possible 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 has ridden off into the sunset without you, 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 companies to identify the best candidate for their open positions. The employer pays a fee to the recruiter to make a successful match. That means the employer is the client—not you.
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 because, without you, recruiters could not successfully fill their client’s job order.

However, that process has a lot of moving parts. First, recruiters invest a significant amount of time working with the client to develop an accurate full-picture job posting, ensuring they find the right talent. No one wants to be presented to a client to discuss a role that differs from the one you applied for. Next, recruiters spend time connecting with potential candidates—searching their talent pool for both active and passive 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 your recruiter help you by avoiding these 5 things:

1. Stalking 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. Forgetting patience is a virtue. When a potential opportunity is identified you will work with your recruiter to determine if it’s the right 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. Ignoring the manners your mother taught you. 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. Confusing hiring managers with smoke and mirrors. 62% of job seekers are entertaining multiple offers. 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. Acting 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. Ideally, their days could be filled with these types of calls. In the real world, recruiters have to relay disappointing news too. It’s not easy for them or you. Leverage the expertise and network of a high-quality recruiter; in addition to effectively leveraging all the resources available to you as a job seeker.

And most importantly, help them help you.

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