Swimming in shark-infested waters

I have had a number of candidates ask me recently; what would your advice be on communicating with recruiters? The first time I heard it I was a little confused – why would it need defining?

I realised that many people who are a few years into their careers may never have spoken to a recruiter, having found their first job through a grad programme or by merit of a great internship converting to a permanent job.

After thinking about it a little more, I’d give the following advice to someone applying for a new job through a recruiter, or generally interacting with one:

  • Be responsive – if you have instructed a recruiter to apply for a role on your behalf, don’t go off the grid without mention. Whilst we understand that you will most likely be busy with your day-job, the market can move very quickly and delays breed uncertainty and doubts in our minds, as well as our clients.
  • Don’t apply for anonymous jobs online or via an email that promise to send your CV to a company off the back of your response. A recruiter that is officially mandated by a company would never do this – they would want to meet and assess you before submitting you to their client.
  • Be clear about your motivations, and what types of companies/roles you would or wouldn’t consider
  • If a recruiter suggests a role that isn’t of interest, let them know so they don’t do it again – we won’t get it right every time but good recruiters welcome feedback and will take note
  • Exchange industry insights with your recruiter. We’re not referring to ‘lead-fishing’ here, but an exchange of industry news/ trends etc can be mutually beneficial and will sometimes result in fresh ideas for your search
  • Invite a face-to-face meeting. This is your career, you’re not ordering a pizza. Meeting with us will help both parties to assess and understand each other’s’ capabilities, develop trust and rapport, all of which should make for a much more fruitful long-term relationship. At Dartmouth Partners, we each meet between 5 and 10 candidates a week for face to face meetings, on top of developing our client relationships.

Some of you will already be heeding the above advice, whilst many others will be reading this with cynicism as you’ve had poor experiences with some of the less scrupulous recruiters out there. You are right to be cautious, this is your career so choose your recruiter carefully… we’re not all that bad!

Have a great weekend.


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