A Few Things A Recruiter Needs To Know – For A Reason

By: Tanner Bell

I was reading an article in Forbes this morning titled “Ten Things Recruiters ‘Need to Know’ — That Are None Of Their Business,” by Liz Ryan, and I had a few issues with what Liz Ryan had to say.  I know that every situation is unique and every industry is different but I wanted to write a quick message to give her a different point of view.  I work with a Denver based in IT recruiting firm and thought I could give her some insight “from the trenches.”

She was right when she said that it IS easy to become a recruiter and there are a lot of companies that don’t treat their recruiters well or give them training to ensure their success in the long term.  For the record we don’t respect those companies either because the pushy and rude recruiters that she speaks of give the recruiting industry a bad name. Unfortunately, these are the experiences shared the most.  Our company is dedicated to learning about the candidate to find the right fit for them.  We work equally hard to understand our clients’ needs, beyond just the technical skill sets, to be sure we’re doing everything we can to make the proper fit.  I wanted to address a few issues with her list of 10 questions “Unprofessional Recruiters Ask Candidates.”

“What are you earning now?

This may seem “rude or pushy” at face value but perhaps the reasoning behind the question is not fully explained to the candidate.  We deal with many clients that conduct salary reviews and will not pay a candidate more than X% over what they were making in their last position.  Other times it is to help us frame a cost of living difference, whether that be an increase or decrease   We have had candidates moving from Silicon Valley to the Mid-West and cannot understand why the salary is $80k instead of $130k.  We also ask this question to better understand our candidate and their unique needs.  If we unknowingly place a candidate in a position earning significantly less than their previous role, as recruiters, we may be presenting a candidate who is a flight risk for our client, or presenting a candidate with a position that really isn’t a good fit for him or her.

Furthermore, our clients expect us to know the candidates salary history and expectations.  Finally, and this is important: we do not share the specifics with the client unless we are required to and always with the candidate’s permission.  Yes, this is true.  We use the salary discussion to help us present the candidate in the best possible situation to create a win-win with the client.  We don’t tell the client the candidate’s salary history.

“What other companies are you interviewing with?”

First of all, the candidate doesn’t need to answer the question if they don’t feel comfortable doing so, but we ask this question for a couple possible reasons.  We want to be sure we are not presenting opportunities to candidates where they are already interviewing.  By asking about their interview activity, it also helps us understand how far along they are in the process.  If we find out they are having a final interview with a company, we may decide to hold off on submitting them to a client if they are likely to be off the market in a short period of time.  If they have a fair amount of interview activity, it also gives us the chance to let our clients know that timing is important if they are seriously considering the candidate.  And believe it or not, we regularly are able to give some helpful information to the candidate about other companies they are interviewing with.

“Can you send me your list of references right now?”

While the references do not need to be addressed in an initial screening, they should be asked for as soon as the client expresses interest.  Whether we are checking the references or it is done by the client, having them readily available is important.  We do not make reference calls until the proper time, but many hires have disappeared because of the lag in either gathering the references or getting the references to respond.  Additionally, each client has different requirements for reference checks, some want references completed very early in the interview process, others not until the time of an offer.
As in any industry, there are companies that are customer focused and provide superior service and others that don’t.  We find value and satisfaction in the work we do.  It is both client and candidate focused.  Even though recruiters often get a bad rap, and sometimes deservedly so, the reality is that we’ve found jobs for candidates that would have never found these opportunities on their own and they were grateful. It is also rewarding to act as their advocate with our clients so they are more than just another applicant or resume to review.  And we do this, I might add, without a fee to the candidate.  As recruiters, we can’t perform superior service without really understanding our clients or candidates.  As far as I know, you can’t really get to know anyone or understand any situation without asking questions and finding the right position is personal.  Our clients have tasked us to identify and qualify candidates for them, if we don’t do our job comprehensively, we haven’t served either the client or candidate well.  I don’t intend to defend all the questions in the article, but I do want to defend quality recruiters and the reputable work we do.  As the candidate, working with a recruiter isn’t any different than securing any other service or product you need.  You wouldn’t work with a contractor to remodel your home if they did shoddy work; you wouldn’t buy a car from an annoying and insincere salesman.   The same is true with recruiters, don’t work with a recruiter that isn’t providing the quality of service you are looking for.  Quantix is different, check us out.

I would love to know what you think on this topic.  Do you have any questions that did not make the list? How do you feel with these or the other questions on the list? Comment below.

Is The Job Right For You? Is The Recruiter Right For You?

By: Jill Reynolds, Quantix President and CEO 

Not all recruiters and recruiting agencies are created equal. If you have used the services of recruiters in the past, you most likely know that the relationships and service levels can vary greatly from one recruiting agency to another. Some agencies submit candidates to their clients with very little (if any) prequalification or interaction with the candidate. Other agencies dive deep to learn about the candidate’s background, experience and personal criteria for a future position. 

Your next position, whether a contract or a direct hire role, is an important decision. A full service recruiter should be considering you, the candidate, as a whole person and not just your ability to perform the functions of the job. For a recruiter to effectively serve the candidate and end client there should be more to recruiting process than matching technical skills.

Once you and your recruiter have determined that you have the basic qualifications to be considered for a position, the process has merely started. At various points during the prequalification and interview process there are important factors to consider. Below is a list of questions to help you determine whether this is the right role for you:

1) Who is the client? 

You should know the end client who will be receiving your resume. You want to ensure you have not previously submitted your resume directly or that another recruiter has represented you to the same client. If your resume has been double submitted, you risk being eliminated from consideration regardless of how well suited you are for the role.

2) Where is the client located? 

Is this location convenient and commutable on a daily basis?

3) Is this a contract, contract to hire or direct hire role?

For a contract role:

Will you be a W-2 employee or a 1099? If needed, are benefits available and is the hourly rate clearly defined? How long will the contract last? 

For a contract to hire (temp. to perm.) position:

How long is the contract portion before employment conversion with the client? Does the client consistently convert on time or are delays a possibility? Will I negotiate my own salary at the time of conversion or is the salary pre-negotiated before the contract starts? What benefits are available from the client at the time of conversion?

Image Credit: Business News Daily

Image Credit: Business News Daily

For a direct hire position:

What compensation and benefits are available from the client? Will I negotiate my own salary or will those negotiations take place between the agency and the client? Have you placed other candidates with this client and if so, did their roles meet the expectations described through the interview process?

4) What hours are you expected to work? 

Does the client conduct business during traditional work hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is telecommuting an option either full- or part-time? Will this role require overtime or weekends to meet deliverables or provide support? Based on the answers to these questions, does this mesh with your lifestyle and outside obligations?

5) Is there travel involved? 

If so, how much and where? Does the client cover the travel expenses up front or will you be reimbursed by the agency or client?

6) What is the client’s environment and organizational culture like?

Is it casual and laid back or traditional and “starched”; progressive or reserved, quiet or interactive? Are the roles typically performed in a team fashion or as individual contributors? What is the leadership and management style? 

7) What should you expect from the interview process and how long will it take?        

Will this process start with a phone interview or face-to-face? How many interviews should you expect they will conduct? Do they conduct panel interviews or one-on-ones? Do they make decisions individually, by committee or is unanimous vote required? Will the entire process take days, weeks or months?

8) Have you (the recruiter) placed other candidates with this client and did their positions match what was described in the interview process? If offered the position, how soon would the client expect you to start? 

If you need to resign from your current role, two weeks’ notice is customary when delivering your resignation, is that timeframe sufficient? Is there the possibility you could be available sooner? Do you want to take time off between positions or do you have any vacations planned?

Many of these questions may seem basic or just “good common sense,” but often the basics can be overlooked by the candidate and recruiter. Make sure you have also carefully considered your own criteria for “the right job” and discuss these factors with your recruiter. Considering the peripheral aspects of a new position as early in the process as possible can provide confirmation as to whether or not this is the job for you and will help you avoid last minute disappointment or frustration for you and/or the end client.