How to Work With a Recruiter to Expedite Your Job Search

External recruiters and talent acquisition people regularly work together to fill jobs - even in the pandemic. Here are the keys to making sure that you fully leverage  the potential benefits that recruiters can provide in your search.

Receive a call out of the blue from a recruiter you have never heard of? It’s more common than you would think and it can be the key to finding your next perfect job. But, not every recruiter is the same and you want to make sure that you keep progressing in the right way. Here are the 4 things every job seeker (active or casual) needs to know to maximize their interactions with recruiters:


You will never know the details or potential behind the position unless you return the recruiter’s call or message. Doing so is not a commitment. It simply means that you want to know more and that you may be interested in a new opportunity. Keep in mind the following when you are contacted out of the blue by a recruiter pitching a potential opportunity to you:

  • Not responding = off the list for good. Recruiters have to focus on people who are interested in making a change. And, technology that they use will read a non-response as someone who isn’t looking. To avoid being placed in the black hole of an ATS, make sure to respond to the next message from a recruiter.

  • Referrals really are appreciated. Recruiters are looking to fill a role and they understand that you may not be interested. Making a referral to someone that you know who could be a good fit not only helps out someone in your network, but it can actually strengthen your relationship with the potential recruiter.

  • It’s not the only role. Recruiters in an agency work on multiple roles and not all of them can be posted on job boards. Responding to the message or returning the call about a job that isn’t a perfect fit can lead to a conversation about one that it is. But, you will never know unless you take the time to respond.


A job search is a lot of work and no one wants to waste their time. Make sure to always be honest with a recruiter about the scope of your search and what you are looking for. Remember the following when evaluating how honest may be too honest with a recruiter:

  • Recruiters are liaisons. The recruiter’s job, regardless of whether they are in an agency or inside a corporation, is to serve as the liaison between the hiring manager and the candidate throughout the hiring process. To do that, the recruiter needs to know what you want so that they can communicate effectively with the decision-makers.

  • Ask questions. Recruiters can also be a great source of information or a friendly ear to ask a question that may be awkward in an interview. Never be afraid to ask the recruiter a question. They will tell you if they don’t know the answer, find the answer for you discretely, or direct you to the right person in the hiring process that has the answer.

  • Confidentiality. Recruiters understand that people that have jobs don’t want anyone to know that they are looking or considering a new opportunity. A great recruiter will ensure that your information and requirements are kept as confidential as possible while helping you to move through the hiring process.


Consider following up with a recruiter if you haven’t heard from them in awhile. Whether it is about a position that you are being considered for or one that you see on their site, a quick message to a recruiter to express interest can be a way to grab their attention. Chances are that the recruiter will appreciate the message and respond with the info they have at the time. Remember to keep in mind the following when following up with recruiters:

  • Keep it professional. Remember that the recruiter represents the employer and that they only want to present the best candidates to their client. Thus, treat your follow-up with recruiters like you would with the hiring managers or other decision-makers on the role.

  • Remember their client. Recruiters are typically engaged by the employer. This means that they are looking for people that meet the employer’s requirements for the job and that employer will only pay the recruiter for someone that is a perfect match for the requirements. This is nothing personal, but it means that if your qualifications are not a match (no matter how great your qualifications may be) then the recruiter probably won’t be able to help you land that job. In that case, consider asking the recruiter what other roles may be a fit.

  • Be specific. A general check-in will often prompt a general response. Instead, be more specific in your follow-up to make it easier for the recruiter to respond in a way that is effective for your search. To do this, consider referencing a specific job, providing an update to your experience/qualifications, or otherwise inquiring about something from your interactions with the person.


Recruiters work with many employers on positions that may never be posted on a job board. Candidates that don’t work with a recruiting agency are likely missing out on many opportunities. This means that the recruiter not only has additional jobs, but that they probably also have a strong relationship with the employer that the candidates may be able to tap in to. Thus, remember the following when trying to leverage the relationships of recruiters:

  • Each agency is different. Recruiting firms often hold relationships with different employers. There can be overlap, but often times there are different jobs/employers with each agency. This means that, as a candidate, you should reach out and try to work with multiple agencies whenever possible.

  • Your application history matters. Recruiters cannot submit you for a position if you have applied directly or been submitted by another agency. Mistakes can happen, but when they do it usually ends up with the person being excluded entirely from consideration. So, make sure you keep track of specifically what jobs you have applied to and where in order to avoid losing out.

There are many jobs that are never published and the only way to be considered for them is through an outside recruiting or search firm. This means that working with a recruiter can be a powerful way to expedite your job search. Keep in mind the 4 things above and it will enable you to jump start your search by maximizing your interaction with recruiting agencies.

Tired of going it alone? Submit your resume today to the Contingent Plan. You can find our posted jobs here. One of our experienced recruiters will be in touch if your qualifications are a fit for the position. Make sure to check back regularly to find the latest jobs that may be of interest to you.