Working With Recruiters in the New Year

    Recently, I was shocked to hear my husband say, “Isn’t there someone I can pay to go out and look for a job for me, like a recruiter?” It dawned on me at that point, if you’ve never worked with a recruiter, it can be somewhat of a mystery as to how they assist with job searches.

    First and foremost, the recruiters never work for the career-seeker, they solely work for their clients who have available positions and are looking for the right person. I explained it to my husband this way, “Think of yourself as a car at a dealership. The recruiter is car shopping for their client and you are the commodity. When they find the exact car or cars their client is looking for, they make the match. You, as a car in a sea of cars, have very little control within the shopping experience.”

    But that’s not to say that a job-seeker can’t do things to make themselves stand out. Here are a few things you can do to make yourself more desirable to a recruiter, and therefore someone a recruiter might recommend to their client.

    1. The majority of recruiter searches are accomplished solely online. Make yourself a top-notch candidate by staying active on LinkedIn and registering with a job search site like Indeed, Glassdoor and Career Builder. Always use a professional photo. Don’t just list where you have worked, but expand on your role at each company and use keywords wisely. Once you have a strong LinkedIn profile, make sure you have turned on the settings that make you visible to recruiters.
    2. When approached by a recruiter, take notes on the information the recruiter divulges about their client. If you end up being someone they want to recommend for a particular client, this can serve you in the interview process later. It is recommended that you also modify your resume to more specifically match the position they are working to fill.
    3. When a recruiter is shopping for their client’s match, they will often ask what your current salary is. It is okay to politely decline answering or to ask if they can share the salary of the position. At that point in the discussion, you should indicate if it is a salary you would entertain or if you feel you need to pass on this specific opportunity.
    4. If in the process you develop a strong interest in the possible job, work to influence the recruiter by sharing the value you can bring to their client. Until you are invited to interview with the client, the recruiter is the gateway to this position. You should always work to sell yourself to them first.
    5. Rise to the top of their candidate list by staying in touch about the position. Generally, if you are no longer being considered by them or their client, recruiters will kindly let you know. If this happens, feel free to send a follow-up thank you email or thank you card for the consideration.
    6. Know exactly what role or type of company you are aiming for. This keeps you from wasting the recruiter’s time or them wasting your time. If you are not a good match for this particular client, make sure you let the recruiter know what you are interested in and ask that they consider you for future opportunities.
    7. According to this article, here are the top qualities recruiters look for in potential candidates; curiosity, interest, responsiveness, positivity, reliability and transparency. Remember, they often have long-time relationships with their clients and if you are someone they recommend for interviews, you will want to make them look good too.

    If you are serious about switching jobs, don’t feel you have to work with one recruiter. In fact, you should reach out to several that specialize in your industry. Recruiters are easy to find on LinkedIn, by searching the web and by using recruiter directories like

    If you are interested in movement within your commercial real estate management career, you may want to consider polishing up your resume and aligning yourself with Houston recruiters. We are constantly hearing our members say that good help is hard to find, so by focusing on a few key improvements, you just might be their perfect match in 2019.


    About the Author: Jo D. Miller serves as the IREM Houston Executive Director. Jo D. earned her Bachelor Degree in Advertising from Texas State University and has 25 years experience managing associations and working with volunteers.

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