With all of the other responsibilities business leaders have, it can be difficult to dedicate the time or resources to search for talent. For this reason, companies of all sizes may elect to hire a recruiting or staffing firm to help sift through the pile of résumés they receive for any given job opening.
If you've never worked with a recruiter, you might not know what to expect once the process begins. Recruiting experts shared their best advice for how job seekers can make the most out of their relationship with recruiters.
Keep all of your information up-to-date. The world of hiring and recruitment can move quickly, and an outdated résumé could mean the difference between getting contacted and being passed up for a faster-moving candidate.
"Keep updating [your résumé] once it's uploaded [to the recruiter's database]," said Allan Jones, chief marketing officer of ZipRecruiter. "It's like putting your next best opportunity on autopilot, all the time."
Updating your overall Internet presence is also a good idea if you want to get noticed by recruiters. [Recruiters Ditch the Resume for Data and Social]
"Job seekers need to keep their social profiles updated," said Jack Hill, director of talent acquisition solutions at human capital management software company PeopleFluent. "Recruiters will find them. That's their job."
Show that you're a good fit for the job. When you're applying directly to a company's open position, do your best to tailor your application to fit the qualifications the employer wants. As the liaisons between employers and job seekers, recruiters are looking for the same type of "perfect match" in the candidates they reach out to, especially in terms of soft skills.
"[Employers] are making hiring decisions based on soft skills — adaptability, thirst for knowledge, etc.," Hill told Business News Daily. "It's important for people ... to demonstrate those assets to a recruiter. Understand the company and how your traits match up to the ultimate goals of the organization."
"Get a really good understanding of what the company does and its goal, and understand how you fit into that goal," added Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer of applicant tracking system iCIMS. "Reflect it in your cover letter, résumé and interview — show that you speak the language."
Put your best foot forward — employers will hear about it. Employers that use recruiting firms to fill their job openings sometimes use the recruiter to screen for crucial information about a job candidate's attitude and work ethic. Kate Harry, senior recruiting manager at J. Johnson Executive Search, said that clients seek her firm's counsel on a potential hire based on the way the candidate and recruiter interact.
"Our clients want to know how job seekers perform throughout the whole experience with us," Harry said. "They ask us things [about candidates] such as, 'How easy are they to deal with? How responsive are they? How engaged are they? What's their communication style like?' We are obliged to share with our clients all of these factors when we are assessing and making judgments and decisions about candidates. We bring our clients into the picture so they understand exactly why we are making decisions."
Set expectations up front. When a recruiter contacts a candidate about a job opening, the candidate expects quick feedback and follow-up, but a little patience goes a long way in making the experience stress-free.
"We are at the mercy of the client and their timing," said Matthew Beck, vice president of executive recruitment firm Steven Douglas Associates. "When recruiters do not respond, it is not because they are ignoring the candidate, but typically because they are waiting on the client to respond. Recruiters do understand the frustrations of candidates when the process does not move along. If a candidate and a recruiter can establish a good relationship and set expectations up front, it is beneficial to everyone in the recruitment process."
Know that recruiters have your interests at heart. Though their primary responsibility is to find talent for their clients, recruiters genuinely do want to help job seekers succeed. Harry noted that candidates should treat recruiters as trusted advisers.
"While we are working on our clients' behalf, we always want to connect with great talent," Harry said. "We are on the same team, and we want you to succeed and be really happy in your new role. The best relationships we have with job seekers are [with] those who allow us into their professional lives right from the start, and share with us their career goals, any challenges they experience and the sort of leaders they need to take this next step."