The dummy's guide to working with recruiters.

The dummy's guide to working with recruiters.

29 Apr 22:00 by Ben Cantrall


A lot of people will be looking for work over the coming 12 months. Inevitably, this will force many people into a situation no one necessarily wakes up and wishes for- a conversation with a recruiter. 

In this gripping 2-part series we will cover how to identify a good recruiter, and then, what to say to them to get the best out of the relationship.

So! How to identify a good recruiter.

There are a lot of recruiters out there! 31,000 in Sydney alone according to Linkedin. It’s an easy job to get into, and easy job to do poorly. The glut of recruitment agencies and consultants can be confusing- not in a kid in a candy store type of way, more like a Sophie’s Choice scenario.

I always get asked “should I talk to a Hays”… you certainly can! Big agencies to have a lot of client relationships. They also have a lot of rookie consultants- who may or may not be recruiters in 6 months. The individual recruitment consultant is more important than the brand they work for in my opinion.

What I’d be looking for in a recruiter:

  • Experience! Personally, I would be looking for recruiters who have worked in the one market (eg Sydney), in the one industry (eg sales in tech), ideally at the same agency, for a period of at least 2 years. This level of experience means they will know their market and have…
  • Good Relationships (and lots of them!) Recruiters are so much more likely to get you a job in a business where they have good relationships with hiring managers. If a recruiter has completed 2 years + specializing in one industry, they will have made a lot of placements, and will have a number of clients they have good relationships with. Clients that they could introduce you to.
  • Someone still sensitive to the job search process. Getting a new job is emotional! It’s hard to hand in your notice. It’s anxiety inducing to show up to an interview. It’s a big deal. If they care, you will be able to tell.  

Some red flags:

  • Overselling a role or company when they don’t know you very well. Have I got the perfect job for you… No thanks!! People don’t take a job because they had a great chat with Ben Cantrall the awesome sales recruiter. People take a job because they meet the hiring manager and have professional chemistry, they like the vibe of the company and the role and salary were a match. Only you can tell us if it’s the perfect job for you- and only after you’ve met the business!
  • Not taking the time to meet with you- either over zoom or face to face.
  • Putting your CV forward without confirming the particulars- the company name, the role title, the salary, the team and the hiring manager. If someone does this, tell ‘em they’re dreaming.
  • They put you in uncomfortable positions- such as pressuring you in to taking an offer when you have another interview lined up that you’d like to attend.
  • They act rudely when you make a decision that works best for you… and not for them.

Some good signs:

  • They give you negative feedback- on your CV, on your interview answers, on your presentation. If you get negative feedback it means the recruiter thinks that you are a placeable candidate who deserves to understand what they need to work on to get a gig.
  • They take the time to prepare you for an interview. Depending on the role you’re going for, I’d expect a good recruiter to properly prepare you at least a day before your interview- a 15-30 minute chat on the phone and an email. Then a call the morning of. If you need to do a presentation in an interview, they will ask you to do a dry run prior.  
  • They ask you for your hesitations about the job before and after interviews. They actively try to disqualify you from the process in order to ensure that if you get the job, you really want it.
  • They do what they say they will do. Way harder than it sounds when you deal with a lot of people everyday!

Overall, you must pick someone who sees value in you and your experience. If they keep talking to you, they value you.  

So that’s part one done and dusted. Consider yourself gripped. Tune in next week to get the word on how to make a recruiter shit themselves- or, what to say to recruiters to get the best out of the relationship.