Help the recruiter do their best for you
Good recruiters take their obligations to candidates as seriously as their work with clients. Candidates who behave with integrity and professionalism will enjoy the support of their recruiter. The best starting, middle and end-point for the relationship is honesty and transparency. But realism and a long-term view can be equally valuable.
It’s always flattering to be headhunted for new roles but you should be honest with your recruiter about your level of interest. Tell the recruiter if you are interested in hearing about new opportunities but have a low level of interest in the opportunity they have presented. You might even provide feedback as to how the role/ company is perceived in market which they can discuss with the client. Or they might have additional information or reassurances as to why it might be the right role for you.
Before committing to interest take the time to get to know your recruiter and the nature of their engagement with the client (see our blog Understanding the relationship between recruiter and client). Also, find out as much as you can about the role and ask as many questions as you need to because this will help you understand if the recruiter is capable and knowledgeable. A candidate who wants to be well informed signals to the recruiter that they are professional and serious.
Don’t agree to being put forward if you have no real interest in taking the position. If you say you are interested then later turn down the role for no good reason, cancel an interview at the last minute or turn up unprepared you damage your reputation. You will also undermine the recruiter’s relationship with that client and both will be reticent to work with you on future opportunities. Over an entire career this can mean a lot of missed opportunities.
Candidates often suggest that they are in a number of processes and that the recruiter needs to “act quickly” to secure them. Giving a genuine perspective on your employment and job-search situation is important but you should not exaggerate. A good recruiter will always respect your position and try to work in a way that accommodates you. But the needs of the client are equally important so taking your claim at face value may mean you are passed over because of the time-frame of the search. Experienced recruiters never build a search around one candidate’s schedule.
It’s almost always worth engaging with recruiters because they rarely waste their time and resources chasing individuals who are not genuine prospects. While you may not be interested in a career change right you never know when the recruiter might have a role that is the perfect match for your aspirations. You can take an approach from a recruiter as an opportunity to investigate what roles are available, whether the job-market is buoyant and how your skills and achievements compare to emerging job specifications. A well known military saying is that ‘time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted’ and the same is true for career development.
While a recruiter is paid to fill roles by the client company, they also want to build a portfolio of skilled individuals who are ambitious and looking for new challenges. Many jobs are never advertised so smart job-seekers engage with recruiters and treat them as trusted adviser. Recruiters can also be good sources of advice on qualifications, new trends in hiring and whether you have the reward package you deserve.