How To Take The Horror Out Of Working With Recruiters

You’ve probably heard some horror stories about working with a recruiter. Maybe you have some of your own. The thing about horror stories is, while they may be ‘inspired by real events’, they tend to get more gruesome with each telling.


Speaking as the boogeyman in these stories, there are a few simple rules you can follow – as a candidate or a hiring manager – to keep your next search from ending up like a family vacation to Crystal Lake. Use these tips to make sure that you're working with recruiters in the most effective ways. 

Communicate Promptly

Recruitment is about communication, so it’s no surprise that poor communication kills more deals than a drifter with a hook hand. If you’re slow to send your resume, provide feedback on candidates or routinely don’t return calls, recruiters aren’t going to give you their full attention.

Recruiters understand that delays happen and you’ve got more on your plate than one opportunity. The same is true for us. We focus our efforts on the most motivated partners and prompt communication is the best way to be on that list.

Be Transparent

A job opportunity is like a haunted house—you can hide the ghosts from the new tenants for a while but the skeletons won’t stay in the closet for long. When that happens, things don’t usually end well.

When you work with a recruiter you’re empowering someone to represent you or your organization in the market. Candidates are going to ask why a position is vacant and companies are going to ask why you’re on the market for a new role.

Recruiters need to know the truth – even if it’s unpleasant – in order to work effectively with you. If you’re unwilling to be transparent you’ll always be a risk, which reputable firms avoid like an abandoned cabin in the woods.

Work Selectively

Working exclusively with a single recruitment firm—even for a short period of time—can yield better results than working with multiple firms.

This is true for both clients and candidates and it flies in the face of common sense. After all, if you’ve got several firms working on your behalf your odds of success go way up, right? In many cases the opposite is true.

First, like everyone, recruiters want to work less and make more. If there are multiple roles to work on – and there always are – they’re going to focus on the role that is most likely to close. That’s typically a role where we don’t need to compete with other firms or worry that a candidate may have already been presented by another recruiter.

Second, working with a single recruiter focused on your function, industry, location and level (also called FILL) yields higher quality candidates and opportunities. It’s also faster and you can build a relationship, which makes future searches less painful.

Of course, as I said at the beginning, there are true events at the heart of many horror stories. Bad recruiters do exist and you can get burned, but if you follow these rules you can increase your odds of surviving your next run-in with a recruiter.

Are you ready to build a team that drives revenue? Our team of head hunters in Toronto can help!