Working with a Recruiter: Tips for a Successful Partnership

Human hand drawing partnership puzzle on the whiteboardAs legal recruiters, we view our relationship with our candidates as a partnership with one mission: to find you a challenging, competitively compensated position. We must work together to achieve this ultimate goal.

Here are our top tips for working with a recruiter:

1. Be flexible.

When legal professionals set out to secure a new position or career move, these individuals tend to have the “ideal job” in mind. However, analyze that ideal and determine which attributes of a job are absolute necessities and which are “wish list” items. Communicate these details to your recruiter, and she will do her best to secure a position that most suitably matches your career goals, interests, and other requirements. It is important to keep an open mind when exploring opportunities. Value the advice your recruiter provides you regarding the types of opportunities that make the most sense for you in terms of career progression. Consider your recruiter as your personal “career agent” in the employment marketplace.

Flexibility is also important when it comes to scheduling interviews and making decisions on offers of employment. Demonstrate your commitment to explore potential career opportunities by making yourself available to meet with employers.

2. Provide current contact information.

Although this simple rule sounds extremely obvious, it is worth mentioning. Always ensure that your placement consultant has your most current personal contact information including home, work, and mobile telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. Inaccurate contact information could result in a missed opportunity for you. Make it as easy as possible for your recruiter to reach you!

3. Be prepared.

Always be “interview ready.” To do this we suggest that you have the following readily available at your fingertips: a current resume and transaction sheet (if applicable), copies of your transcripts, two strong writing samples and a list of at least three professional references. Most employers will request these materials early in the interview process. You want to demonstrate your preparedness and professionalism at the outset of your discussions with the employer by having these materials available at your interview. Also, provide copies of these materials to your recruiter to keep in your file in the event an employer requests such information directly from the recruiter.

4. Maintain open and honest communication.

Share your goals, career successes, as well as pitfalls with your recruiter. If there are gaps on your resume, explain them. Your recruiter will be able to advise you on handling the less than desirable aspects of your career history both on paper and during an interview. Any information that will be helpful to the recruiter should be shared. For example, advise your recruiter if you plan to move out of the area in the near future or have an upcoming life event or vacation planned. If you are uncertain about whether something in your career history, goals or plans is relevant, be conservative and tell your recruiter. Let him be the judge.

5. Limit the number of recruiters you work with.

You will have greater successes with your recruiter if she knows that you are working with her exclusively or that you have limited the number of recruiters with whom you are working. Your goal is to become a priority for your recruiter. Additionally, you want to minimize the potential scenario in which two recruiters are representing you for the same opportunity. However, that said, remember that you are in the driver’s seat and need to take control of your job search. If after a certain period you need to broaden your search, advise your recruiter that you would like to expand your search efforts to other sources. Being honest and upfront with your recruiter will foster a stronger relationship with her.

6. Be honest with yourself!

We all like to believe that any employer would be lucky to have us as an employee. However, realistically, we each are well-suited and qualified for certain types of positions and particular types of work environments and not for others. Be realistic as to both your capabilities and shortcomings. You should always be “reaching for the stars,” however, be pragmatic. Rely on your recruiter’s expertise and listen to his assessment of your qualifications and where you are most marketable in the employment landscape.

7. Let your recruiter do his job!

The job search process is stressful. The anxiety experienced when you are searching for a suitable position or awaiting feedback on your resume or an interview can be overwhelming. As a result, you might be tempted to continuously call your recruiter. Resist the temptation! Recruiters are extremely busy professionals. They spend their days interviewing candidates, speaking and meeting with employers, and, most importantly, seeking out job opportunities for the candidates they represent. In between these tasks, the recruiter is sending out resumes and scheduling interviews on your behalf. If your recruiter is constantly fielding calls from you and other candidates, he will not be able to do his job. As a result, you will get nowhere in your career search.

However, if you do have some important, relevant information to share, contact your recruiter immediately. For example, if you receive an offer of employment or the urgency of your search suddenly changes or you have decided to put your job search on hold, call your recruiter so that he is up-to-speed.

Furthermore, if you receive a message from your recruiter, call back as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in you losing out on a potential opportunity or interview. Finally, if you do attend an interview, make sure that you contact your recruiter immediately thereafter to discuss your feedback from your meeting.

Working with a recruiter is an exceptional vehicle for spearheading your job search, whether you are seeking temporary or direct hire employment opportunities. By adhering to the basic principles outlined above, you will maximize your relationship with your recruiter and greatly increase your odds of landing the right position!

Thinking about a career move?

When you’re ready to make a job change — or just want solid career advice — you can count on Special Counsel’s expertise. Many of our recruiters are licensed attorneys and most have held positions in the legal industry. Their hands-on experience leads to a deeper understanding of the unique needs of their clients and candidates.

Connect with your local office today.

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