Recruiter FAQs

Recruiter FAQs

The key to working with recruiters is respect. But beyond that, you need to know the details of how the relationship works.  Based on my experience as a recruiter, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about working with external recruiters.

How are external recruiters paid?

  • Contingency-based recruiters are paid by the employer. They often receive a set amount per placement, or a payment based on the salary of the new hire
  • Retained recruiters receive a monthly payment from an employer and may also receive a bonus for each placement
  • Recruiters are always paid by the employer, never by the job seeker
  • External recruiters need to have a contract in place in order to get paid by the company.  If you’re interested in a specific company, you should reach out to recruiters that already have working relationships with this company.

What are some ways to learn about external recruiters?

  • Usually they have some sort of specialty –  industry, role, geographical location, language, company size or even a specific company so you may research based on those specifics
  • They also have connections in similar or related fields, outside their own specialties so recruiters outside your exact area of interest are still good contacts
  • Referral or word of mouth is an ideal way to learn of good recruiters
  • Social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter

How much should you tell a recruiter?

  • Be straight with your external recruiters.  Be clear and specific about what you’re looking for, including salary.  Be honest with your qualifications and experience.
  • Give honest feedback.
  • Ask questions and ask for advice particularly when the recruiter is considering you for a specific position.

What are signs of a good recruiter?

  • Gives you good advice even when it’s against his/her own self interest
  • Cares about what you are looking for, not just where she/he can send your resume to
  • Gets great referrals from people who worked with them in the past
  • Has direct communication with the hiring managers
  • Spends the time to learn about you and your job search goals

What are signs of a bad recruiter?

  • All he/she wants to do is to blast out your resume
  • Sends out your resume without telling you
  • Asks you to lie or stretch the truth about your qualifications or experience
  • Doesn’t spend much time to get to know you

Reach out to external recruiters proactively and with respect.  Keep the relationship warm with good recruiters you’ve identified.  Stay away from the bad ones.  When it’s clear that an external recruiter has a potential position for you, be cooperative because your interest and the recruiter’s interest are well-aligned.  Developing a productive working relationship with external recruiters is an important part of your job search, and easy to do when you know what to expect and how to manage the relationship.


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5 thoughts on “Recruiter FAQs

  1. Mei Lu,
    Good points about recruitment agencies. i think some of the better ones want to meet you and discuss your cv rather than them just asking you to send it by email.

  2. Thank you. I was contacted by an external recruiter and wondered about how to enter into a relationship with her. For example, I thought we weren’t to ever mention salary. Good to know!

  3. Thanks for posting! I wish I had seen these tips a few months ago when I was just graduating from college and tying to find jobs in NJ. These are great, I’m sure they’ll be quite helpful to readers looking for a job!

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