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In life, it is always good to take advice from people who are experts in a particular area and when it comes to getting a new job, those best placed to do this are Professional Recruitment Consultants. They are dealing with the nuts and bolts of the recruitment process all day, every day, and can give valuable advice on how to optimize your CV, prepare for an interview and handle salary negotiations. It is also worth bearing in mind that recruiters are constantly in touch with hiring managers and know where there are vacancies, but more importantly know when a role will be coming up. This may help to get your CV on a manager’s desk before the position is advertised and there is a flood of applications.

I have outlined some points below that may help you to understand how this candidate/recruiter relationship can be developed and maintained, so both parties can profit:

  • This is Business:

This may seem cold, but a recruiter makes money by placing candidates with companies; their client pays them, not you. They will have talked to their client in-depth before working on a role and so will know exactly what background the successful candidate will require. This means that if they tell you that you are not suitable for the role, it is because the client will not be interested in your profile; perhaps you have too much experience, or your style of management will not fit in with the organization. The recruiter is not making a personal judgment on you – they are making a business decision based on client requirements.

  • Honesty:

As with all relationships, honesty is very important. If a recruiter does not trust you, why should they put their time into you? To give some examples, if you have already interviewed with a company or applied for a role directly, tell them; in this case, a recruiter cannot represent you for the position in question, but they may have another suitable job for you. If the role they are discussing with you involves relocation, speak with your spouse at start of process, not as you wait for the offer. If you have had some issues in your career, explain fully to your recruiter; everyone has ups and downs and most issues, once addressed at the start of the process can be resolved. You should also never use your application for a new role as leverage in salary negotiations with your present company. Firstly, you will have weakened the relationship with your present boss while at the same time damaging your reputation in the market place. You should always remember that it is a small world and unprofessional behavior will follow you.

  • Follow Their Advice:

The recruiter knows and understands the client and what they want. They also know what works in an interview and how to deal with the issues that arise in the process. If they are suggesting a particular idea or course of action, it is because they know that it works or that the client will be impressed. It is not in their interest to give you bad advice; why waste their time?

  • Feedback:

You can rest assured the recruiter is as keen as you to get an update from the client and will be pushing them for feedback. They should be getting back to you regularly but if they are not, it is because they do not have an update. This can be for a variety of reasons, but is usually due to a slow decision-making process. It would be advisable to ask your recruiter when to expect feedback and also ask them to keep in touch with you regardless of news.

  • Successful/Unsuccessful Outcomes:

If you are successful and you feel that part of this was due to your recruiter, feel free to let your new employer know. Good feedback like this will be much appreciated by the consultant. If you are not successful, it will not have been the recruiter’s fault; perhaps you were not the best fit for the role. Remember it is not personal and if you are happy with your recruiter’s work, continue to deal with them.

  • In General:

I am aware that not all recruiters act with integrity and that the unprofessional ones give the whole industry a bad name. Clients will also be aware of this and know which consultants are providing a good service and which ones are randomly sending them CVs. It will help you greatly if your CV comes from a professional recruiter, as this is the first email a hiring manager will open. So, before sending your CV, try and talk with the consultant looking after the role, ask them some questions and get a feel for them and their knowledge. If you feel they do not know what they are talking about, do not send them your CV. In the present market I would advise trying to develop a relationship with 1 to 2 recruiters and going through them on all roles that you are interested in.


Cathal McInerney, Associate – Europe, Africa, and Asia

cathal@flagshipmgt.com  +353 1 905 9100

Cathal, a Fellow of the National Recruitment Federation, graduated in 1998 from the National College of Ireland and holds a BA in Human Resources Management. He has built on this foundation throughout his career to gain an extensive understanding of recruitment and the wider Human Resource Management field. He has worked in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and China before returning home to Ireland to join Flagship Management. Over this time, Cathal has worked across many different industries and has provided support for clients with a wide range of services, from help with permanent and contract hires to management of outsourced workforces. In order to be better placed to help his clients in the maritime industry, Cathal is currently working his way through the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers exams.