How to be the candidate a Recruiter can’t wait to place


9 tips to make sure you get the next call

I want to let you into a little recruiter’s secret. Not all candidates were created equal.  We will go out of our way for some people.

I know what you’re probably thinking: we’ll only have time for you if we can see easy money in it. And there may be some truth in that. We do like to eat (some of us like to eat very well) and when a candidate is an easy placement we will shower them with attention. 

But that’s not the whole picture - not by a long way. Because these days finding a job and a candidate simply made for each other doesn’t happen very often. Instead, when a role comes up we’ll usually have a few people we know who could do the role and many more we can approach. So the people who secure an interview with the client (and ultimately the job) are likely to be the ones who’ve spent some time and effort building a relationship with us. 

So if you want to be the one we call, here’s a few things you should - and shouldn’t be doing.


 1. Come in and meet us

If we ask you to come and meet us in person, nothing will endear you to us more than taking the time and effort to do just that. It will also give us a better feel for what you’re like: how you present, how you communicate, whether you have a sense of humour and so on. And that means we’re not just likely to think of you next time we have a role - we’re also a lot more likely to find you a role that you’re suited for.

 2.  Don’t rely on us to write your CV

Sure, ask us for some CV tips - we want to help - but please don’t ask us to write your CV. Your CV should have a personal flavour - it’s your career, you know what you do well and what experience you have. Besides, you own the content of your document and it should be your work.

 3. Do your homework

Once we secure you the client interview insist on a prep and get the brief outside the brief, even if you already have a comprehensive job description. Ask us all you can about the role. Why do they need someone? What happened to the last guy? What will they be looking for? And what’s the company culture really like.

While you’re at it, find out everything you can about who’ll be interviewing you too. Who are they? What’s their story? How are they likely to behave? And what makes them tick?

 4. Give us feedback

Let us know how the interview went: what you thought of the business, the role and the people who interviewed you. Call us as soon as you can after the interview while your thoughts are still fresh in your mind. Otherwise, you might forget something. Then, if you want to add further thoughts follow up in the evening with an email that’s a bit more reflective. Be open to the advice we give you in return. We may be looking to make a buck from placing you. But, believe it or not, we’re not completely self-interested. Besides, success as a recruiter usually comes from placing people in the right roles, not simply placing them.

 5. Be frank

We know you’re probably looking at other roles too, so please keep us in the loop about other interviews and how you feel about them. Because we’re the ones who’ll look stupid when something ‘pops up’ at the end of the interview process and it will be our reputation that suffers.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, have the guts to call us with bad or complicated news. Don’t email. Sure, it may be awkward. Yes, we may feel compelled to present the other side of the argument. But if you’re sure on your call, you at least owe the person who wanted to employ you an explanation.

6. Prepare your referees

Call them before we do so that they know what to expect and they’re ready to take the call. Nothing is worse than speaking to a surprised referee, whereas a prepared one has the opportunity to give what they want to say some thought and provide us with real insight.

 7. Stick to your word

If you say ‘yes’ to an offer then don’t follow it with a ‘can I have a look at the contract’ to buy yourself time. Contracts are standardized. I’ve rarely seen one with a nasty surprise in it. So if there is something unusual you have complete permission to pull out later.

8. Don’t go underground during your notice period

We’re all in no man’s land with you once you’ve given notice. So take us up on our offer of coffee or lunch. We’ll update you on the situation at the company you’re moving to and can pass any news back to them as they eagerly await your arrival. It’s this communication between the three of us that will mean you hit the ground running in your new role.

9. Keep in touch

Finding a good job through a decent recruiter can - and should be - the beginning of a mutually rewarding professional relationship. Please keep in touch with us even when you’re not actively looking for a job. After all, a good recruiter is a repository on career advice that doesn’t always involve changing companies (including how much you should be getting paid) and we can help you build your network too.


Get in touch if you’d like to have a conversation.

Matthew Mayoh is a HR Recruitment specialist operating in the Sydney market.