Working with a Recruiter 101

outstretched hand to shake

Have you been contacted by a recruiter? Do you have a meeting or call coming up and you aren’t quite sure what to expect? Here’s some advice, from questions you can expect to receive to questions to ask the recruiter to determine if the role is the right fit for you!

Before you meet:

Ask the recruiter if they can share a job description and the name of the company.

This will help ensure you have a full understanding of the job requirements and haven’t already applied for the position on your own or been submitted by a different firm. Often this info can be shared; however, if the role is a confidential search, it may not be.

Share a copy of your resume with the recruiter.

This gives them a chance to review it prior to your meeting and then clarify any questions they have during your discussion.

Research the recruiter and the firm that they work for.

Check out their website and their LinkedIn profile (ours are linked, for example!), and you can also check to see if you have any mutual connections. This “due diligence” work is good practice for many reasons, including security—in this age of remote and gig work, it never hurts to make sure the person you’re communicating with is who they say they are!

You should also check to see if there are any other roles posted on their site that you may also want to ask about.

Prepare for your conversation by polishing your interview skills and by reviewing the following list of questions.

We have some great guides to help you prep for interviews here.

Questions you can expect to be asked:

  • High level, how did you get to where you are in your career today?
  • Can you share what led you from one position to the next?
  • What is your catalyst for searching now?
  • What do you want to do next? Is there anything specific you are looking for in a future company or role?
  • Get into “the weeds” based on the role and your experience:
    • What project management methodologies have you used? How comfortable are you with agile/scrum versus waterfall?
    • What technologies are you proficient in? Do you have infrastructure experience, or is it all SaaS?
    • What tech stack are you most proficient in?
    • What tech(s) are you looking to grow with?
    • More specific for Developers:
      • Full stack/front end/backend?
      • Full life cycle (design, development, testing, production support)?
    • Share examples specific to past projects and experiences.
  • Are you working on any certifications or side projects?
  • Do you have an industry preference?
  • Do you prefer more of a startup or corporate environment?
  • Are you open to contract, direct hire opportunities, or both?
  • What are your salary or hourly rate requirements, location preferences, etc.?

Questions you should ask:

  • Does your firm have Contract, Contract to Hire, and Direct Hire opportunities? Can you tell me about the difference and pros/cons of each?
  • Do you offer benefits to your W2 contract employees?
  • How often do you see the type of role I’m looking for?
  • Can you share examples of the major companies / industries you partner with?
  • Do you see the types of roles in the compensation range I am looking for frequently?
  • Do you have any open roles now that you think my skillset and preferences may align with?
  • Will you notify me before sharing my resume for a potential role?
  • When you have a role that may be a good match, what does the process look like?
  • When will I hear from you next?

After you meet:

Keep in touch with your recruiter every couple of weeks. They most likely haven’t reached out because there hasn’t been a “right fit” role, but it never hurts to stay top of mind.

In the end, remember you are building a relationship with your recruiter for a career change that might be imminent, as well as for opportunities down the road. Being honest about your salary requirements, strengths, weaknesses and what are “Must Haves” vs. “Nice to Haves” with roles will help ensure they reach out to you with the best opportunities. In turn, if a recruiter continues to reach out with roles that don’t align, that is a sign that they might not understand your experience or expectations.

At Carex, our motto is “Care. Be Real. Have Fun.” We hope to have a conversation with you where you can experience this as well! Schedule today with our Candidate Relations team for an introduction call!