What Your Recruiter Really Needs to Know


The philosophical “chicken or the egg” question for recruiters is “Who do we need most?” – clients or candidates? People have real opinions on this even though the short answer is always “Both.” Recruiters may know our clients inside and out, but without an authentic understanding of a candidate’s key drivers it’s impossible to make a good match. Although it’s in the candidate’s interest to identify all of their “hot buttons,” sometimes a perceived adversarial relationship between candidate and recruiter can develop.

Recruiters are gatekeepers to the hiring manager, it’s true. Candidates in turn sometimes refrain from disclosing important details in an effort to try to improve their chances of getting sent on an interview with the client. Sometimes this can spur an intractable exchange where the recruiter asks question after question and the candidate feels insulted and badgered.
So, all cards on the table, here’s what a recruiter really needs to know before placing you with a new company:

1. What aspect of the opportunity I mentioned sparked your interest?

Reason: I may have other opportunities with similar characteristics. If you have an in-demand skill set, my goal is to get you in front of as many clients as possible. This benefits both you and me.

2. What do you love about what you are currently doing?

Reason: This helps me understand what motivates you. Why do you get up each day and go to work?

3. What would you change if you could?

Reason: The company I’m working with may have the exact same environment/malady and I don’t want to put you in the exact same situation. I also may want to share with you how this opportunity is different.

4. What would you need to see in this opportunity to make a change?

Reason: I’m not trying to lock you into anything, but I do want to know if we’re wasting on our time on this specific role. I want to be up front with you if it doesn’t meet your basic parameters including salary, paid time off, remote work opportunities, travel, and more.

5. Where else have you applied?

Reason: Many times, recruiters are proactive about sharing your skill set with clients we know will want to meet you. I will not call companies you’re already engaged with because it’s not efficient to duplicate efforts and I don’t want to muddy any waters for you. Am I slightly nosey? Yes, but it’s more tactical than that.

6. Why did you leave each job on your resume?

Reason: Again, I need to know what your hot buttons are. Also, invariably my client will ask and I’d rather have a more straightforward answer to give them than “They were looking for advancement.” Okay… advancement in salary? advancement in responsibility? advancement in title? OR was there a change in management where you became micromanaged and felt like you’d never be promoted? Be honest and I can help you with phrasing.

A recruiter’s goal is to get you into a job that you love. Not only is it personally fulfilling to help people find happiness in their careers, but it makes my clients likely to keep coming back to me too. Ours is a symbiotic relationship – help me help you.

Hannah Barfield Spellmeyer on Linkedin
Hannah Barfield Spellmeyer
Hannah Barfield Spellmeyer is an Executive Recruiter for Stott and May, an international technology-focused recruiting firm. Hannah serves on the Board of Directors for The Family Effect and The Upcountry History Museum as well as edits the Junior League of Greenville's biannual magazine, VISIONS. She's is a proud member of Leadership Greenville, Class 43 and was named one of Greenville’s Best and Brightest Under 35 in 2015. For more blogs and information, visit www.linkedin.com/in/hannahbarfieldspellmeyer.

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