man and woman shakeAt some point in most people’s careers, they will have to interact with a recruiter. One of the most important issues when working with recruiters is communication. Keeping the recruiter informed about where you are in your job search process, i.e. other interviews you have, and other companies you are applying to, will help the recruiter as he/she moves you through the hiring process of their client company.

Confidentiality and Working With Recruiters

If you are happy in your current job, you may not want your resume widely distributed. Have an honest discussion with the recruiter you are working with about this issue. Be sure he/she agrees to check with you before submitting your resume for an opportunity.

Salary Negotiation and Recruiters

Be honest with your recruiter about your current compensation — and what you want to make. Recruiters can also be a good source of salary information and will often tell you if you are underpaid or are making above-average compensation for your experience and skills.

Turnover in the Recruiting Industry Is Common

The average tenure of a recruiter — especially contingency recruiters — is approximately two years. Because contingency recruiters are commission-based and depend on placements, i.e. if the candidate they recommended is not the one that is hired, they don’t get paid, so there is a high degree of turnover with contingency recruiters. Retained recruiters, however, are paid by the company per project (not commission based), so they tend to stay longer in their positions once they have built up a nice company client list.

Fitting a Square Peg Into a Round Hole

You may hear horror stories from other job seekers about experiences with their recruiters. Because contingency recruiters only get paid when a placement is made, they may waste your time with positions that aren’t a good fit, or pressure you to take a job you may not want so they can make a fee.

Phantom Job Openings

Another common recruiter issue is job seekers who respond to job postings for positions that don’t exist. This is one way for a recruiter to build up his or her database, but it’s frustrating for job seekers.

Read the Small Print

Be careful what paperwork you sign. Some recruiting firms want “exclusivity” with your job search, meaning that if you end up getting hired for a company they’ve had contact with (even if they weren’t involved in your specific job search), they may contact the employer and make a claim for a commission, and use the contract you signed as proof of a claim. This can result in unnecessary hassles for you and your new employer, so make sure you carefully read any paperwork you’re asked to sign.

More often however, the reason for a mismatch with a recruiter is simply in communication style — recruiters who call too often, or ones who won’t return your call. In these situations, if possible, it’s best to simply start working with a different recruiter — one who you have better rapport with. If you find the recruiter isn’t as helpful as you expected, remember that you’re not the one paying his or her salary.