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Today’s post is written by Clay Johnson of Technical Engineering Consultants

Last month my blog focused on dispelling some of the misconceptions about working with a recruiter and on being realistic about what you are looking for in your next opportunity.

This month I’d like to discuss how and why it’s important to maintain your relationship with the recruiter.

Disclose Information

If you keep information from your recruiter, you’re not negotiating; you’re sending him or her in ill-equipped to advocate on your behalf.  The more information you can provide a recruiter with, the more tools you are providing them to make those all-important connections with the client.

Expose your skeletons now: As is often the case in life, honesty is the best policy.  To be clear, you need to reveal everything to your recruiter.  Our interests are aligned with yours; we both want to see the hire happen.  Your recruiter knows what a client may or may not accept.  Larger clients have a very specific list of pass/no-pass rules on criminal history, and other things in your past.  By disclosing these to your recruiter, you avoid getting far into a hiring process only to derail when your background check starts.

Other important disclosures include:

–       Reasons for leaving: If you got fired, you got fired.  Don’t try to hide it because it’ll come out at some point anyway.  Most of us are lousy liars, and stories full of excuses and “not my fault” justifications just don’t play.   Many very capable and very employable people have been fired.  Your recruiter is not likely to pass that information on directly, but will exercise some judgment into which corporate cultures you may or may not fit.

–       Where you’re already being considered: If you’ve already been presented to a company, you run the risk of devaluing your own resume by then asking a recruiter to present you too.  Conditions vary from company to company, so empower your recruiter by letting them know your status with each employer.  Likewise you should expect your recruiter to disclose every company they intend to present you to.

–       Detailed and complete resume: I’ll save my long rant about resumes for a future blog post.  Suffice it to say that at 51 years-old, the last thing I want to accomplish with my resume is to fool someone into thinking I’m a 34 year-old whose career began as senior manager of this, that or the other thing.  Please provide a complete chronology of your career.  Most importantly – don’t lie about dates or titles.  Most companies perform some kind of background check on a pre-employment basis, and these fabrications and embellishments will likely come out.

Maintain your relationship

–       Reasonable check-in: Please don’t be the person who calls daily or, I kid you not, hourly.  They’ve exhausted every opportunity to market themselves, but you have to give them an “A” for persistence.  Generally, a weekly check-in is very much appreciated by us.  It tells us you’re still out there and helps keep you top of mind for new opportunities as we run across them.   

–       Define your interview availability: We need to know up front when you can be available for an interview.  It may mean you have to plan to burn a little PTO on short notice, or otherwise make yourself available.  A great way to make me lose interest is to be generally unavailable when I have an opportunity for you.

–       Please tell us when you’re gone: We all get caught up in landing that great opportunity, but it’s just plain hurtful to invest time into your candidacy, finally call you for an interview, only to find out that you got hired just after we last talked 10 days ago.

–       Refer people you respect: Connect your recruiter with more candidates.  If you know of people you really believe in, there is no greater compliment or thank you to your recruiter than by making a new connection. In my company’s case, we happily pay hundreds of dollars for such connections when a hire is accomplished.

In summation, be open and honest with your recruiter

Think through each of these items, and consider your interaction from my point of view as a recruiter.  Show your professionalism and you can expect to be treated well.  Good luck in your search!