How to Get the Most Out of Your Recruiter Relationship


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Teaming up with a recruiter can be a smart move in a tight job market or for job seekers looking for a specialized role. 

Whether a recruiter finds you or you seek one out, there are a few golden rules to ensure the relationship becomes a fruitful partnership and gets you to your goal - the job.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Recruiter

“The odds are one in 12 that a recruiter will contact you, on average [regardless of industry,” according to the HR examiner.

Recruiters work in markets with shortages and high demand; life sciences fall in this category.

Vet Your Recruiter

Sure, it can be flattering to get a call from a recruiter touting how desirable you are for a particular placement. Nonetheless, you still have to do your homework to find a recruiter that best matches you and your personal needs.

When your career, perhaps one you’ve invested in highly, both in dollars and years of training, hangs in the balance, investigate and observe the communication style of the recruiter to ensure a good fit.

Some things to look for:

  • Does the recruiter honor confidentiality?
  • Honest and regular communication; does the recruiter seek your feedback during the process?
  • Provide hiring, marketing, positioning and negotiation expertise
  • Swift communication
  • Is the recruiter upfront about exclusivity? Companies employ many recruiters to seek talent. Do they disclose this?
  • They’re honest about why you wouldn’t good a good fit for positions you may want

Getting Started

Before engaging with a recruiter, set yourself up for a successful start. Just like in any solid relationship, regular, honest communication is pivotal. Remember, the partnership should be reciprocal.

  • Share honestly with your recruiter your work history, even the parts you would prefer to stuff under the bed. Recruiters aren’t in place to judge but help you achieve your goal. Usually, recruiters only get paid when they place a candidate. The more information you can give them, the better.

“One of the things that I often get told when I ask, ‘What's your salary range?’ or, ‘What are your requirements to make a move?’ Is that it’s really about the company culture. I hear that repeatedly, and they hate to put a number [on salary,] Heidi Bates, a seasoned recruiter, told BioSpace.

The closer you get to a number, or at the minimum, what salary you are making now, the more effective the recruiter can be.

  • Be upfront about what it would take you to take a new position or move away from your current employer--explicitly state pay requirements, benefits, whether you’d be willing to relocate and any other specifics that would make you leave.

“A lot of it can be about the mission [of a desired job/field]; a candidate may want to work on one clinical trial rather than five, Bates said. “However, if they aren’t willing to relocate, even for the perfect job, that’s something I need to know.”

  • If you aren’t clear about what you want, your recruiter won’t be either. Carefully outline precisely what you are willing to do to land your gig.

Foster the Partnership

Recruiters are on your team, but they can also be compensated by the company they may be recruiting for, all of which should be communicated early in the process.

With open calls on common job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, you may get lost among hundreds of applicants. This is where a recruiter can come in clutch.

“One post on LinkedIn may get 500-plus applications,” Greg Clouse, a veteran recruiter, told BioSpace.

"The advantage here is we can talk directly to the company, separating wheat and chaff to deliver a handful of candidates who directly fit the position," Clouse said.

Making a good impression matters. Whether on the phone or teleconference, most recruiters are savvy enough to discern whether you are serious or not about finding a new placement--and, as logically follows, they’re much more likely to plunk energetic expenditures into candidates who demonstrate a commitment to the process.

In this time of increased focus on remote-work options and live-work balance, consider less tangible considerations (e.g., pay) to help the recruiter work for you.

Additionally, Bates said it could often be a “red flag” if an applicant’s resume/CV doesn’t match up (dates, position names) to their LinkedIn profile. Yes, updating your LinkedIn profile can be a pain. Nonetheless, it’s unavoidable here. The more detail, the better.

Before accepting a position, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the work culture like?
  • Will I fit into the work culture?
  • How easy will it be to move up in the company?
  • Does the company offer flexible work schedules?
  • Can I negotiate the offered salary?
  • Does the company offer bonuses?
  • Is vacation time negotiable?
  • Ask for interview coaching and resume feedback.

**Disclaimer: Heidi Bates and Greg Clouse are employed by BioSpace’s BioSpace Pro recruitment service.**

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