It is easy to get excited as you advance in an interview process and you may start focusing exclusively on the hiring manager at your target company, forgetting that there is another important person in your job search team: your recruiter! Candidates are not always familiar with the role their recruiter plays throughout the search and interview process and what they need to do to make the most out of this relationship.

Here are some tips that will help you build a strong relationship with your recruiter and avoid miscommunications that may hinder your search process:

Be responsive: It is important to remember that your communications with your recruiter are just as important as those with your target company. If you are responsive in your communications with us, that information will certainly be relayed to the hiring company. In contrast, candidates who fail to return phone calls and emails create uncomfortable situations for recruiters when the hiring company checks in with us as to how the search is going. If we haven’t heard back from you, we can’t pass any information on to the company. As we previously discussed in our blog about the interview process, your behavior during the entire recruitment process will be seen as a reflection of your work ethic generally. When a candidate takes days or weeks to respond to emails, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that they are not interested in the job or committed to the search process.

Give clear feedback: Once you have reached the stage of interviewing directly with the hiring company it is important not to forget about your recruiter. We are genuinely interested in hearing about how the process is going for you and, beyond that, if a candidate cuts off communication following an interview it leaves us to draw our own conclusions about what may have transpired. You would be surprised by the number of miscommunications that can occur between companies and candidates that we only become aware of when candidates share their feedback with us. Candidates may leave an interview with the impression that they are expected to bring in ten new clients in their first year of joining a firm when all the interviewer meant to convey is that client development is expected to happen over the course of a number of years. Because we have the benefit of having multiple conversations with the hiring manager over the course of the mandate, we can pick up on any misinterpretations and act as an intermediary to clear the air to ensure that all parties are on the same page when a hiring decision is made.

Use your recruiter as a sounding board: While we can’t tell you what career path you should take or what job may be right for you, we have seen a lot of candidates (fail and succeed) and you should draw on that wealth of experience when discussing your options. A good recruiter will give you honest feedback about any questions you raise and can help you consider the pros and cons of a career move. You should also feel comfortable speaking with your recruiter about any questions or concerns that you may not have felt comfortable raising during the interview with the target company. We want to ensure that when a hiring decision is made it is a good match on both sides as this will be a reflection of our work as well.

Just like any healthy relationship, the recruiter-candidate relationship needs to be built on a foundation of trust, honesty and transparency. Ultimately your goal is to end up in a job you love and we can only help you achieve that goal if you are open and frank about your long-term objectives.

Carrie is the President and founder of The Heller Group. She specializes in the recruitment and placement of partners and senior lawyers into major law firms, as well as general counsel and senior counsel roles for national and multi-national corporations. In her spare time, Carrie enjoys travelling, yoga, trying out new recipes, and spending time with her husband and two young daughters.

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