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How to get your recruiter working for you.

Life is about perspective. Before I became a recruiter I was a recruiter’s nightmare, mainly because I was disillusioned with what a recruiter really did. As a candidate when searching for work on SEEK, I’d purposely try to avoid ads written by recruiters, preferring to apply directly to businesses. But inevitably I did come across a few roles that had me dealing with a recruiter where I was successfully placed. There were some great experiences and some not so great, but this article isn’t about recruiter bashing, there is plenty of those already.

Somewhere along the way, I decided to become a recruiter. Admittedly part of that reason was because I assumed recruiters did no work all day (see my blog post “I thought recruiters do nothing all day”).

Looking back now, I admit I was probably the candidate from hell. I wouldn’t return phone calls, wasn’t clear about what I wanted and wasn’t providing my recruiter with all the information and tools to help them, help me. In fact, I probably owe a couple of recruiter’s apology drinks (feel free to message me if I was ever a nightmare candidate for you and I will buy you a drink).

So, after jumping to the other side here’s what I’ve learnt along the way in how to get the best from your recruiter and get them working for you.

Find a recruiter that specialises in the types of roles that you want:

Someone who takes the time to get to know the space you want to work in. Choose a recruiter who actively attends industry networking nights and learning opportunities and who immerses themselves into the community that they work in.

Be open and honest with them:

Tell them what you are looking for in your next role, what you disliked about your current role and your non-negotiables. The more information at this stage, the better. Sometimes you don’t know and that is okay. If you are open and honest and you are working with a good recruiter, because they specialise in their field they will be able to give you guidance on potential career pathways, average salary bandings and much more.

Go in prepared:

If you’ve worked in a role with KPI’s or budgets, be prepared and go to the meeting knowing your numbers. Give them an idea of the types of clients you worked with, the verticals that you have worked across and your specialities. If you are a creative, then go in with a prepared portfolio with examples of your work and make sure you send a soft copy so that your recruiter can forward it to their clients. If you’ve accomplished any major achievements, take in a list of what they are. For example, did you get your client to the first page of Google for a majorly competitive keyword? Did you close a huge deal? Did you pioneer something within the office? Did you get any awards?

All of this is information that as a recruiter, I want to take to my clients to show them what you can do and why you are worthwhile for the position.  By giving me these tools, I can then go in to bat for you, to help you get the job you want. And I won’t stop with the position you have applied for, but by knowing more about you, I’ll also have other active jobs that might be suited to you and can proactively get you in front of these clients as well.

Commit to the process:

A recruiter will most probably ask you to meet with them and you are definitely going to have to meet their clients. As a recruiter, if you won’t invest the time to meet with me, then I can’t help you as much as I would like to. Meeting with me is usually a super informal chat over a coffee covering the information above. I understand you are busy at work so if you give me an idea of your availability, I will try to be as flexible as possible.

Don’t be afraid to follow up:

Recruiters aren’t super human and sometimes they do forget to return calls, even though I’m sure they try their best. If you haven’t heard from your recruiter and you want to know where things are at, call them or flick them a quick email.


A recruiter can be a truly valuable partner but it is a partnership, and you need to work together with them so they help you. Maybe they won’t help you out straight away with your dream role but they are out there, in the space you work in, every day talking with clients and meeting new people and you never know what opportunities they will be able to help you with.

So do your best to play your part in the partnership and get the recruiter working for you.

About The Author

Jasmin has a strong understanding of how digital marketing agencies work from the inside having worked in them for 7 years before going into recruitment. She works across Search (SEO & SEM), Strategy and Client Services (Account Managers, Producers and BDM’s). Outside of work Jasmin has an obsession with sloths (& wine).

Follow Jasmin on LinkedIn

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