Over the years, I’ve noticed that many candidates have a skewed perception of who their recruiter is, and what their recruiter does for them. There’s a concern that if certain information is shared with the recruiter that it will hurt their chances of being hired. There’s also an often misguided belief that all recruiters are trying to low-ball you so that they can make oodles of money off of your placement, or that they’ll push you into a job that may not be a fit, just so they can get the fee. These things paint a rather dastardly, villainous picture of recruiters, encouraging withholding of information. This in particular makes it difficult for good recruiters to effectively place all the amazing candidates they get, so I’d like to clarify a few things, change that image, and share with you the top three reasons why you should be honest with your recruiter.
1) Recruiters construct the bridge between you and the client, but you provide the building materials.
Your recruiter is in a prime position to know what you want in a career and what the hiring manager wants in a candidate. However, they can only work off of what information is communicated to them. There is certain information that recruiters and hiring managers aren’t legally allowed to ask you about, but those things and how they’re handled by the company you’re considering working for can be deal-breakers to you. For example, let’s say you have kids, and what you really need is a comprehensive medical benefits plan and a company that understands family and the necessary work/life balance that goes with that. Communicating that to your recruiter gives them the ability to better advise a client on your priorities without revealing the reasons behind them, thus respecting your privacy. Sometimes they may know in advance that a company’s culture isn’t a fit with what you’re looking for, and if you’re able to give your recruiter those details, they can save you the time and hassle of interviewing and going through the process with a company that doesn’t share your priorities.
If you have reservations about a company from what you’ve seen online or in the interview, tell your recruiter. They shouldn’t take it personally, and they’ll do what they can to help assuage your doubts, and/or help you find something that’s a better fit.
It’s also good to let your recruiter know if you’re interviewing with any other companies for other roles; not only does this help the recruiter and their client better schedule interviews with you, but if you’re a candidate the client is interested in, it can sometimes encourage the to go the extra mile in pushing the process along faster, so they can bring you on before someone else can. They don’t want great talent to slip away.
2) If you don’t make money, your recruiter doesn’t make money.
Most recruitment firms work on a fee system as compensation for their recruitment efforts, particularly with permanent placements.
For perm candidates, there’s a fee agreement that promises X% of the placed candidate’s salary value to the recruitment agency. This is often misunderstood, as many candidates believe that means the agency will walk away with a percentage of the salary they expected to make. This is not the case. For the sake of example, let’s say your recruiter’s company has a 20% fee agreement with Client A, and they place you at Client A’s company with your requested salary of $100,000/year. The fee owed to your recruiter’s company would be $20,000. The $20,000 doesn’t come out of your salary. You will still be paid a full $100,000 for the year; it is merely a way of determining how much on top of that the company will be paying out to the recruitment agency that placed you.
As you can see with the perm scenario, it behooves your recruiter to submit you to the client at the best pay rate applicable to your experience.
3) A good recruiter doesn’t want to put you in a job that doesn’t fit.
Recruiters want you to be happy in your role. Happy people perform better in their jobs. If you’re happy with your job and the company, you’re not likely to leave. If you’re not happy in a role and you decide to leave (and most cases, you figure that out pretty quickly), the recruiting company actually has to give back any fees that we collected on your placement. A bad placement can also impact a recruiter’s relationship with their clients. Furthermore, recruiters want to work with good candidates, and want those candidates to be so happy with where they were placed that when their friends are looking to change careers, they refer them to their recruiter as well.
This is not to say there aren’t bad recruiters—there are, and if you find yourself working with one that you don’t feel you can trust, perhaps you should move on to a different recruiter. There are so many ways that candidates and recruiters can help each other out, and being upfront and honest, and building that trust-based relationship with your recruiter is really the best policy. Recruiters can and should keep things confidential, but all the little details you can share with them help them help you.
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