Engaging With a Recruiter? Here are Some Tips:


We recommend that you discuss each point with the recruiter or search firm to make sure that you are have a clear understanding of their position, policies and procedures throughout your engagement with them. By following these pointers you’ll be a better-informed candidate and able to identify the types of recruiters and staffing firms many try to avoid.


If you’re currently employed and agree to be a candidate, please keep in mind, you may be putting yourself at risk with your current employer or clients if you’re self-employed. Reputable firms and individual recruiters will take the necessary precautions to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times.

Talent Tips – ask the recruiter:

  • To always get your prior approval before presenting your information to any of their clients
  • Follow an agreeable format for communication that works best for you – email, phone, etc. You must provide the recruiter with the contact information you would like for them to use
  • Not to contact references provided by you without your permission, or use your references for any other purpose other than a reference check
  • Refrain from discussing or disclosing any details regarding your candidacy with anyone outside of their search firm without your prior consent and knowledge
  • Ask that they request that their client(s) also keep your candidacy confidential

Opportunity Disclosure

Once you’ve been identified as a potential candidate to short-list and proceed with further, you will need more than just the “basic” information in order for you to make your decision. This usually comes after the initial conversation, when you are being evaluated as a potential candidate.

Talent Tips – ask the recruiter:

  • Is this a fulltime role, contract role, or contract to hire? What are the terms of the employment? Who will I be employed and paid by – the client, or the search firm?
  • The details of the position itself hours, role/responsibilities, etc. (make sure you as talent ask plenty of questions)
  • Will any testing or background checks be performed in order for me to move forward as a candidate? (Find out exactly what sort of testing and background check will be performed.)
  • What is the culture/atmosphere of the client’s offices (how well do they know this client and what do they know?)
  • If I am a contractor working onsite for your client, who will my contact be with your firm? Who should I bring any concerns or issues to? What are my opportunities to advance?

Process Details

If you are a short-listed candidate you are entitled to know about timelines, the interview process, and what to expect as things progress. Nobody likes to be kept in limbo, especially during a job search. Good search firms and recruiters communicate in a timely fashion and keep you informed during every step of the process.

 Talent Tips – ask the recruiter:

  • What time frame is the client working on?
  • How many people will I meet and/or interview with before a decision is made?
  • If I have travel and other expenses such as lodging associated with this interview, who will be covering those?
  • What attire should I wear for the interview(s)?
  • What should I bring with me to the interview aside from my resume? (If you have your own personal business/networking card you can bring that. Instaprint offers 50 cards for free. Don’t use ANY from your current employer.)
  • Will I be expected to do any testing or make any presentations during the interview(s) while at the client’s offices?


After each phase of the interviewing process, good recruiters and search firms will let you know where things stand. Most will give you an assessment of where you fit and may not fit for the role for which you are being considered.

Talent Tips – ask the recruiter:

  • How was this decision made?
  • Are there any pointers you can give me? (interviewing tips/practice, etc.)
  • Are there any skills or areas where I might be lacking and where other candidates may be stronger?
  • Am I still in the running for the role?
  • Should I send a thank you email or note to your client personally thanking them for their time and consideration? (Note: we would recommend this regardless! It’s just good business manners!)
  • Will I be considered for any other roles that you or your colleagues within the search firm are working on?
  • If I’m selected as the hire your client wants, how will negotiations be handled?
  • Can I have the proposed offer in writing so that I may review it? (You want ANY contracts/offers given to you in writing so that you have a copy and are clear on what is being offered.)
  • How long do I have to make my final decision?

Other Things for Talent to Consider:

Being Pressured?

Good recruiters and placement firms operate pressure-free. You should be made aware of any deadlines or timeframes that they or their clients are working with. A new job decision needs to be well thought-out. If you feel you’re being put in the hot seat and having heavy sales tactics or pressure put on you from the recruiter, it’s best to walk away. At the end of the day, your have to do what’s best for YOU.


The best recruiters out there strive for more than just filling empty seats for their clients; they genuinely want to help you make the best decision for you and your career. These professionals will be as upfront as possible with all of the information they have, so that you are well informed. Naturally, you will be able to build a good working relationship with them as a trusted advocate for each step you take in your career. If for any reason you do not feel as though you can trust the recruiter or the search firm, or even their client(s), you should politely withdraw from the process.

Final Thoughts

The job-search process is by no means a one-way street. As a candidate you should expect professional treatment and as a professional also give the same to the recruiter. Having realistic expectations on the process and timelines will help, along with being flexible in order to make appointments and interviews work within the confines of usually several schedules. It also helps to be completely candid about your interest or lack thereof in the position.

We encourage you to educate yourself as much as possible. You should do your homework on the recruiter and the search firm. Just as you would research a car before purchasing it, you should also research the individual or firm that is representing you in your search.