A Step–By–Step Guide To Working With A Recruiter

posted on December 8th 2016 in Employment

If you’ve searched for a new job in the last decade, you’ve probably been approached by, considered using, or worked with a recruiter. Recruiting is an up-and-coming industry that has helped many people connect with their dream job. It’s easy to get confused over the role a recruiter can play in your employment, so we’ve put together a few guidelines to help.

What is The Role Of A Recruiter?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a job seeker is to enter into a recruiting interview misinformed about the actual role a recruiter plays. A recruiter:

  • Is not a career counselor. They are there to help you find the job you’re looking for.
  • Is not for hire by job seekers. They typically work for an employer or an agency and will seek to find people that fill the positions available.
  • Will help you get an interview, but not the job. While recruiters can influence the job decision, ultimately how you perform in the interview will determine if you get the job. The recruiter plays an official role in the decision-making process but isn’t the sole decision maker.

Also, recruiters fall into one of two major types:

  • Internal recruiters – hire internally for their company team and are paid a salary through that company.
  • External recruiters – work for a staffing agency, recruiting job seekers for many companies.

For recruiters, their jobs depend on being able to find the right candidates for the right positions. If you make a good impression on a recruiter and make them believe that any company would be lucky to have you, they will be motivated to work hard to get you an interview to help you find your dream job. That’s why it’s so important to make a good impression.


What to Do Before Speaking To A Recruiter

Before reaching out to a recruiter, there are a couple things you can do to prepare yourself and make a good first impression.

  • Know what you want. Know the answers to the recruiters questions before the recruiter asks you. Here are a couple examples:
    • What position do you want?
    • What’s your salary range?
    • What kind of work culture do you want?
    • What are your long and short-term career goals?
    • What kind of growth opportunities do you need in a job position?
    • Do you want to work remotely or onsite?
    • How far are you willing to commute?
    • What is your timeline? Are you in a hurry to get a job or do you have time to explore?
  • Know your boundaries. Really think about the questions above and decide what you’re flexible on. For example, are you willing to commute farther or relocate for the right price?
  • Update your social media profiles.
    • LinkedIn: As the primary social network for professionals, it’s important to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile. Recruiters almost always look at your profile early on in the interview process. Potential employers may also look at it to get a better sense of who you are and see if you have any mutual LinkedIn connections.
    • Facebook: Remove photos and status and controversial posts that you would be embarrassed to have displayed in a room full of strangers or potential employers. Err on the safe side.

Having answers to the recruiter’s tough questions readily available, and fine-tuning your online presence ahead of time, will make your recruiter’s job easier and set you up for success.

Tips for Working With A Recruiter

When speaking to a recruiter, it’s important to keep in mind that you can make only one first impression. Make yours stick out by following these guidelines.

  • Be positive – If you seem enthusiastic, your positivity will rub off, and will inspire the recruiter to work hard to find you a job.
  • Be earnest – Recruiters want to work with people who are serious about their job search. Show that you’re ready to tackle a new challenge.
  • Be honest – Establish a relationship with your recruiter. Be honest about what you want. If your needs change or if you get another offer, tell them. A relationship with a recruiter can be career-long, so keep it positive, and don’t leave them hanging.
  • Be thankful – Show gratitude. Recruiting takes time and energy. If your recruiter feels as though their time is valued, they will be more likely to continue to work hard to help you find a job.

How to Follow Up With A Recruiter

As a candidate you’ve invested time preparing, applying, and interviewing. You deserve an answer, but be thoughtful about how you go about getting one.


  • Ask who you should contact – After the interview, make sure you ask about following up so that it will be much more comfortable reaching out when the time comes. Clarify their preferred mode of follow-up. Ask if they have a preference for:
    • Method – Email, call, text
    • Time – Time of day, the # of days after the interview.
    • Contact – Who you should contact when you follow up.
  • Ask about a decision date – Before leaving the interview, or in your follow up message, ask the company when they expect to have a decision. Some companies want to hire in a week, some take their time, letting the hiring process drag on for months. Knowing the timeline of the company will save you the agony of wondering when you’ll hear back.
  • Follow up – Thank the interviewers according to their preferred methods and timeline. It is appropriate to ask the recruiter or hiring manager to pass on your appreciation to the rest of the group. Send a hand written card if you’d like to add a personal touch.
  • Alert the recruiter – If you have another offer and need a quick decision, make sure to tell the recruiter. Recruiters are used to competition and will do their best to make it happen.
  • Ask to be considered for other positions – If you are turned down but like the company and they seem positive about you, it’s absolutely appropriate to ask them to consider you for other positions, now or in the future.

Do Not: 

  • Stalk the recruiter – If you berate them with phone calls and emails, they’ll get annoyed and block you out. Sometimes they recruiters don’t have an answer or any new information and it won’t benefit you to chase them down.
  • Act rude, scorned, or overly disappointed – If a company rejects you, don’t take it personally, and don’t take it out on the recruiter (often the messenger of bad news). It’s not their fault so don’t take it out on them. Focus on maintaining a professional relationship.
  • Be surprised if the answer is no – Especially if a lot of time has passed. Like most of us, companies will share the good news quickly and delay the bad.



As a job seeker, it’s important to make a good first impression on your recruiter. It’s important to stay confident, keep clear lines of communication, and push forward toward a better future. Get one step closer to your dream job by helping your recruiter help you by following these guideline


This is a guest post by uniquelyHR’s 2016 Summer intern Fuzz Azni.


Mikaela Kiner

Mikaela is a native Seattleite who’s spent the last fifteen years in HR leadership roles at iconic Northwest companies including Microsoft, Amazon, PopCap Games and Redfin. She has an MS in HR Management with a certificate in Organizational Development and is an ICF credentialed coach. Mikaela delivers results by building trust and engaging her clients in creative problem solving. Clients appreciate her strategic thinking and hands on execution.