Career /What to expect when engaging a recruiter for the first time

What to expect when engaging a recruiter for the first time

The relationship between a candidate and recruiter usually starts one of two ways: either you have got in contact with a recruiter as you’re looking for a new job, or you might be cruising along, happy as Larry in your current role and a recruiter has reached out to you. But what happens next?


First step is the chat – it may be over the phone, on video or in-person. Recruiters want to get a good idea of your career history, your skills and achievements, plus what you’re looking for in your next role and what your career goals are. You’ll discuss things like the projects you’ve worked on previously, types of workplaces and industries you want to work in, whether you want to manage people – either now or in the future – and what type of challenges and growth opportunities you’re after. The more the recruiter knows about you, the better they’re going to be able to help you find your new role.


Depending on what the market is like, they might have open roles that they can put you forward for (especially if they reached out to you initially) straight away or they might not have anything suited to your skill set and career goals at that particular time. The roles that recruiters fill are dependent on what their clients are looking to hire. If their clients aren’t hiring a role for your skill set, then there won’t be much they can do for you initially. You may have been hanging all of your hopes on a recruiter having the perfect role for you, so while you may be disappointed, it’s important to not be disheartened. New roles do come in regularly, so it’s still a great idea to chat to a recruiter, as when the right role does pop up, you’ll be one of the first to know!


Something to keep in mind is that recruiters speak to a LOT of candidates in the space of a week. While they do their very best to stay in touch with everyone they chat with, the reality is you may fall off their radar a little, particularly if they don’t have a role that’s ideal for you straight away.


You can combat this and get yourself back in front of them in a number of ways:

  • Connect with them on LinkedIn and engage with their content to try to remain front of mind. It also helps to share your own content on there, too! They’ll get to know more about you this way.
  • If it’s been a while since you’ve heard from them (think months, not days or a couple of weeks!) and you’re still looking, get in touch to see if there’s any new opportunities that you’re suitable for.
  • If you change roles, let them know so they can update their notes on your profile. That way if they’re searching for a social media manager and that’s your new job title, you’ll come up in their search on their CRM.


If the recruiter does have a role that you’re suitable for, they’ll run the role and company by you to get your thoughts and permission to go ahead before sharing your CV with the company. They’ll organise all interviews, give you a few tips and tricks to increase your chance at getting the job and check in with you along the way. If you get an offer from a business (wooo!!) and you accept, they’ll negotiate your salary and start date for you. And the cherry on top? As a candidate, you don’t pay for their services.


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