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What to expect when meeting with recruiters

Over the last few weeks, I have shared tips about how to work with recruiters (headhunters) including how to enlist recruiters to help you, how to get on recruiters’ radar and what recruiters look for in top candidates.

Now let’s talk about how to prepare to meet with recruiters, about the kinds of questions you will be asked and how to follow up to ensure recruiters will be as interested in you and helpful as possible in your job search.

what to expect when meeting with recruiters, meeting with recruiters, enlisting recruiters in your job search,

How to prepare for meeting with recruiters/headhunters

  • Expect to meet with local recruiters in person to form a relationship (or by Skype with national recruiters). Such meetings help the recruiter know how to present you and reveals to him/her if you are the right fit for client companies and they can also help recruiters think of companies or positions for you that you might not have considered.
  • Arrive a few minutes early so that you will be calm and collected during the interview. Exude confidence, but not arrogance (although it is all right to be picky about what you want in your career).
  • Dress professionally, just as you would for any job interview. Even though the recruiting agency is not the hiring company, it is your connection to opportunities so dress and act appropriately.
  • Expect your recruiter to critique your wardrobe if it needs improvement. H/she may also suggest coaching if your interviewing style needs work. Remember that the recruiter is assessing every aspect of you to determine whether you will be the right fit for client companies. Recruiters will not present someone who will make them look bad.
  • Bring your up-to-date resume. Be open to the recruiting company changing your resume to fit their format and be responsive if they ask you to add relevant skills which you possess, but neglected to include. Ask for a copy of any resume that the company creates for you and speak up if it does not portray you accurately.
  • Be ready to positively address employment gaps and overly short tenures in your job history. Seek to ensure that the recruiter will encounter no surprises in presenting you as a top candidate to clients. Also give them a clear picture about your career desires so that they will focus their efforts on positions that are appropriate for you.
  • Treat the interview like any important interview. Give real answers, not muddled ramblings ending with, "I will say that better in the real interview." Remember that the recruiter’s reputation and commission rests on your being the best ... and most prepared ... candidate.
  • Expect to be asked about your resume. Know your facts and figures and and your past positions in proper order.
  • Be ready to be asked your priorities. If a recruiter senses that you aren't truly committed to working hard in your career, they won’t work hard in presenting you as a top candidate.
  • For highly technical positions, expect that the recruiter may bring in an expert to ensure you are technically proficient. Admit when you don't have certain skills to avoid embarrassment.

Prepare and practice brief, powerful answers to these questions:
(Such questions takes time and thought, so prepare well!)

  • Why are you in the job market?
  • What job titles do you seek?
  • What roles and responsibilities are important to you?
  • If I was to ask your colleagues, what special abilities would they say you have?
  • What is your claim to fame? Are you a closer … innovator … team builder … problem solver or leader … and why would you say so?
  • What are your top accomplishments?
  • What are your preferred companies and industries?
  • What are your geographic preferences?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • What is your travel ability?
  • What are your compensation requirements?

Stay in touch
  • Ask recruiters how often you should stay in touch and then abide by that schedule.
  • At a minimum, email or phone them every 1 to 2 months to let them know you are still interested in opportunities. Remind them what kind of positions you seek.
  • Send them your updated resume whenever you make changes to it.
  • Check to see if their company is placing a position you spotted on a job board before you apply for it directly or they won’t be able to help you land the position.
  • Touch base whenever you have a change in availability/salary expectations or when you change your mind about the types of positions you seek.
  • Pro tip: Send recruiters business leads and connect them with potential clients. Helping in such ways will make you a favorite candidate to present to hiring companies.

Arrange to meet with the best recruiters in your field/industry -- it can be a great way to land a good job
What other tips can you share about meeting with recruiters? Share them! -- Kathy 


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