What do you expect when working with a recruiter?  What do you think the recruiter expects from you?

I have worked as a Technical Recruiter for over 30 years.  My primary expectation of each candidate I work with is HONESTY, and I think they expect the same from me.  With the evolution of information at our fingertips, I read blogs recommending candidates not to tell me, the recruiter, their salary or not to tell me the other interviews they are pursuing, and I wonder WHY?

How can I provide you the best service and communicate your priorities to my client if you aren’t honest with me about your situation?

Why Being Honest About Salary Matters

When I ask you about your salary, I am not trying to undercut you – the more you make, the more I’ll make too. However, I need to understand your situation to negotiate with the business client on your behalf.  This includes everything that you consider part of your compensation. Do you have extra vacation time, matching 401K benefits, or phenomenal insurance benefits a new company needs to match?

Understanding your compensation requirements and why you want to get the offer you want is all part of my job.  I want to ensure I represent you in the best way to get you what you want and not waste your time if the business client cannot make that salary or hourly rate work. Budgets are always a factor.   A smaller company, for example, may not be able to match, say your large company benefits. But they may be able to offer something different, like additional time off or schedule flexibility. Sometimes your ideal job, one that meets all your other priorities, is just unable to compete with the compensation you are leaving behind at your current company. You could make that hard decision before wasting time interviewing.  Why get yourself and the business client excited if they would be unable to make a competitive offer?

Additional Criteria to Consider:

  • Remote work – if you are not willing to go on-site, just say so.  Generally, my business clients rarely change their minds at the offer stage.  So why waste everyone’s time?
  • Commute – if you want to work within a 30-minute drive in traffic, then say so.
  • Career growth – if you only want to consider a lead or manager role, then don’t interview for an individual contributor role.
  • Vacation time and bonuses – it all matters to you… so it matters to me, and I need to know this information upfront!

As a recruiter, I know there are bad actors. Some people mislead, others will ghost you, others just fail to follow up.  It is hard to give people bad news; however, all recruiters should tell you if you just don’t fit for a specific business client or if they pass on interviewing you.  Personally, my relationship with YOU is important, so I make it a point to always connect back with you to share feedback. 

Often, I get calls from candidates that I am unable to assist at the time due to the current business client’s skill requests; I just do not have a match, and I have to be honest and tell them, “I don’t have a job/position/project/opportunity for you.”  It is hard, but at a minimum, I make every effort to provide a lead or a bit of advice on their resume, anything that I believe might be helpful to the candidate in some way.  My goal is that both the candidate and I have a good experience establishing TRUST through HONESTY.  In my experience, building trust opens the door so that we can work together in the future, or maybe a candidate will think to recommend me to a colleague.