One of the most misunderstood parts of a job seeker's career search involves meeting with an agency recruiter. Many times I walk out of a meeting with a candidate and think, "That is a great candidate." Your goal as a candidate is to get whoever you meet with to think the same thing. As a recruiter, my thought process after wrapping up an interview is to think about how I think a candidate is going to represent me, my company, and him/herself. Why are the first two things me and my company? – Because, I have to protect my reputation and our brand with the hiring managers that we work with on a daily basis. If they start to think that the candidates that I send are consistently not the right fit then a hiring manager is of course going to look into other avenues to find the candidates that are the right fit.
As a candidate what you should be thinking of is treating the interview with a recruiter as important as an interview with a potential employer. Why? When your recruiter has to put their reputation on the line to speak to your abilities and candidacy – you want your recruiter to be emotionally invested in selling you. As a flip side to this I recently had an interview with a candidate who told me in no uncertain terms that she wanted to make more of a base salary, work less, and that she didn't really like to work that hard at all. The last part she told me twice. And the topper was that her sales accomplishments were less than impressive. But, I wanted to find her a job and thought there might be a chance with one of our clients. Until, I got one question.
What was the killer question? – The sales manager for our client who I have built a relationship with called me and asked, "Brian, would you hire this candidate for your team?" I hemmed and hawed to come out with some type of explanation as to why I felt she could succeed. My lack of positive feedback spoke more volumes than anything and in the end, ruined any chance of setting up an interview. I am sure some of you reading this will think, "Why didn't you just lie?" The immediate answer is because we don't. Furthermore, based on my interview with the candidate I had no confidence that she would not walk into an interview and tell a manager that she didn't like to work that hard. Also, there are times when you need to put your neck on the line for your candidates and you can't burn your reputation as a recruiter for someone who didn't want to impress you.
On the positive side I have a candidate who was referred to me. The candidate was aggressive about getting me on the phone and then when he came in to meet with me he was all positive energy, engaged, and looked the part of a salesperson. He was successful in sales and was asked in his previous company to move into a non-sales role. When his company downsized him the challenge was getting back into a sales role. But, because of his presentation I was willing to put my neck out with my clients as I knew that if he had the chance to meet with a sales manager they would be impressed. He started last week in his new sales role. Morale of the story; do your best to impress your recruiter and we will work hard to have doors opened for you.