Finding a reliable recruiter is as difficult as finding a right match. A lot of recruiters leave a good first impression but after the 2ndor 3rd meeting there’s no spark. A lot of recruiters meet up and have one thing on their mind… money!

Finding the right recruiter, sometimes means that you have to go through a series of bad dates (interviews). Eventually you will settle for one that understands you and thinks about you first and not themselves!

One of my most memorable recruitment experiences happened earlier in my career. I met with one of the high performers in the insurance industry in order to approach him for a specific vacancy. It was our first meeting and the conversation was pleasant and insightful however I was one step too late. The candidate told me that he had already been approached by another recruiter. This is common in the world of contingency recruitment. In fact, I recall telling the candidate that I would be surprised if he was not already approached. He was well known in his field.

To be able to speak to a high performing candidate is one of the joys of recruitment. There is always something to learn. Therefore, I continued on with our conversation and offered some advice where I could.

For that particular opportunity I had a lot of information directly from the hiring manager. I elaborated more about the vacancy including the personality of the hiring manager, the team structure, and the business strategy on a local, regional and global level. I was not considering the individual as a candidate for this role but rather as a long term contact in my professional network. I proceeded to inform him about the career development of the company and wished him well with the interview process.

To my surprise he told me “I would like you to re-present my profile”.

He chose me to represent him because I was trying to build a long term relationship with him, not treat him as an applicant. Some potential candidates think of recruiters as agents or salespeople. They can be brash and sound very transactional. In any industry, there will be a small minority that do not conduct themselves in the most professional manner. Others in the same field then be a victim of their reputation.

Here are some thoughts on how we work:

We, recruiters, are not there to generate CVs / Job Ads. We are Consultants who provide timely professional advice and act as a liaison between candidates and clients. For clients, we provide a selection service. For candidates we are advisors.

We work with our clients and candidates with the aim of being a long term business partner. Ultimately, our mission is to select the most compatible high performing talent for the client, based on their requirements, while matching the right opportunities based on the candidate’s career experience and aspirations. Candidates trust us to provide real insight into the employer brand and accurate information for them.

But how can you find the right recruiter?

Trust takes time and setting the right foundation is key to a happy relationship. Let’s start with communication. If you discover that your recruiter is not very well informed about their client or the role’s responsibilities then you should say so. Honesty is the best policy and it will stop you wondering whether they are fully committed.

This is your career and you have every right to choose the recruiter who is able to represent your profile to the highest professional standard.

Along with communication, will be transparency. Some recruiters have the right intentions however their delivery could be improved. On average a recruitment process is around 14 weeks. It takes 21 days for something to become a habit. Speaking to your recruiter during the process could be a healthy habit where a genuine friendship is formed.

You should feel that you can be honest to your recruiter; to be comfortable to think out-loud together. A recruiter is not a salesman. They are consultants. They should be providing you with advice and giving you a balanced opinion on where your contribution will be valued and how this platform will provide you with a learning curve to strengthen/hone your skills.

Providing constructive feedback is always difficult but I will always encourage the transparent talk before it becomes a “break-up”. Many couples learn to appreciate each other’s imperfections. The key is to share and to grow together.

Kind regards
Elwin Wang

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