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Prepare for Job Recruiter's Call

Kate Traynor

What do you do when a job recruiter calls?

The Association of Executive Search Consultants represents agencies that recruit executive-level employees for corporate clients. Although the organization’s advice is targeted toward executives, the information is useful for anyone who might be approached by a job recruiter.

Confidentiality. You may not want your current employer to know that you have been approached by a search agency—and the recruiter should respect this. The recruiter should obtain your permission to contact you at work or speak with people you list as employment references.

Disclosure. Find out who is paying the recruiter, and under what conditions the recruiting agency will receive its fee. Retained search consultants, who work under contract for different employers, are paid by the employer to look for job candidates who fulfill the specific needs of the company. Other recruiters work for employers on a contingency basis, meaning that they get paid only when they find a candidate to fill the position.

Employment agencies work for the job applicant instead of the employer, and are not really recruiters. A reputable agency will charge a fee to an employer when a job fit is made. Less savory agencies may charge job-seekers high fees for helping them find work, whether the search is successful or not.

Details. A good recruiter lets job applicants know what to expect, and when to expect it. The recruiter should tell you when to expect a job interview, what happens if you make it to the next round of interviews, and when the position is likely to be filled.

Consistency. Information provided by the recruiter should not conflict with information provided by the company doing the hiring. Ask for clarification if you are receiving inconsistent signals from the recruiter and the employer.

No Pressure. The decision to accept or reject a job offer is yours, and a recruiter should not pressure you to decide in a hurry. But you should find out if the employer has imposed any deadlines for filling the position, because missing an important date could cost you the job.

Even though that job recruiter's call can be exciting, you still need to maintain a realistic view of the process. You are likely to be one of several candidates for the job, and it is up to the employer to decide which candidate is the best fit for the organization.