How to (successfully) Use A Recruiter to Find a Job

Posted on: October 2, 2017

So, you’re looking for a job…? Whether you’re a millennial, new graduate, a freshly-trained tradesman, or a seasoned veteran seeking a change – a recruiter can help you snag that job you are looking for, and even negotiate on your behalf. There are many great recruiters out there who understand the stressors that surround the job search and will earnestly work in your best interest.  After all, they were job-seekers at one time or another. There are some important things to think about when working with a recruiter, though. These tips will ensure a smooth process and give you an even better chance to make your recruiter-driven job search a smashing success.


  1. If you’re actively seeking employment, be accessible.

If you’re applying to jobs – whether you apply directly or via a recruiter – it’s generally a good idea to make sure the recruiter can reach you. Give yourself the best chance possible to get that job! Be accessible both online and by phone, and answer the phone when it rings.

Check your missed calls and voicemails as they come in and return those calls as soon as you’re able. That means you may need to make time during your workday (e.g. during your lunch break) to return phone calls.  If that’s out of the question – and it might be – notify your recruiter of best times to contact you.

Monitor your email at least once per day (but preferably more often) and try to respond in a timely manner.  If you’re working a 9-5 job, and you can’t take phone calls during the day, email is often the easiest way to communicate with your recruiter.  It’s always a good idea to use your personal email address for privacy reasons.  

Check your social media messages. There are countless job-seekers who use LinkedIn and other social media sites for job searching but don’t check their inbox very often.  Many recruiters use LinkedIn as an introductory method, so make sure you are treating your social media presence like a second inbox when on the job hunt. 


  1. Accurately communicate your employment history.

Your resume will be viewed by lots of people – recruiters, hiring managers, HR and CEOs alike. Make the screening process easier and be specific about your employment history. Not only does this make your job history read more easily, it also provides a more accurate picture of your experience.  

Include the months in your employment history – not just the years. For example: Let’s say you worked at Google for two years from July 2015 to July 2017 and you do not include the months on your resume.  Someone viewing your resume might conclude that your tenure was two years, or they may wonder if you worked there closer to one year or closer to three years.  For example, if you started in December 2015 and left in January 2017, that’s really barely longer than one year.  On the flip side, if you began working in January of 2015, and leave in December 2017, that’s almost three years.  This may sound trivial, but for some employers, it could be the difference between getting an interview, or not.

Clarify if and when your employment ended. If you’re no longer working at Google while applying to a job at Apple, make sure your resume says “July 2015 – July 2017”.  Even if that was only a matter of months ago – it can be misleading to say “through present”. Honesty and clarity are always the best policy.

For other tips on resume writing and formatting, check out our website feature on how to create a killer resume.  It’s specific to clinical laboratory professionals, but the tips can apply to any industry.


  1. Talk about money early and often.

It’s never easy to talk about salary expectations.  In fact, if you’re job searching in New York, Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts, it’s illegal in many cases for a potential employer to ask you for your salary history. The most important tip I give candidates is to “be honest about your expectations.”

Talk to recruiters about your salary expectations. Money and salary are huge factors that can cause an otherwise great interview process to fall apart. In order to help you get the pay you are looking for, recruiters need to know your salary expectations upfront. If your requirements are outside of the employer’s range, your recruiter will let you know, which may save everyone time and frustration in the end.  Don’t fudge these numbers, assuming that a company will pay you above their expected range once they get to know you. It’s never a good idea to tell your recruiter you’ll accept $50,000 for a position only to play hardball when you receive an offer of $50,000.

Do your homework. When deciding how much to ask for, research the company, its location, and the surrounding communities to make an educated decision.  It’s imperative that you keep the cost of living in mind.  It’s unrealistic to expect a New York salary in rural Kansas.  There are a number of websites that can help you with cost of living comparisons ( and are good places to start). Do your homework and communicate clearly with your recruiter, and you’ll be sure to secure an offer that pleases you.


  1. Be professional and don’t burn bridges.

Tell the recruiter about other job offers. Recruiters know that they won’t place every candidate they work with – it’s part of the job.  Please remember to have the professional courtesy to tell the recruiter if you’re considering accepting another offer. If you’re actively seeking employment, no good recruiter will naively think his or her opportunity is the only one you’re entertaining. Recruiters know you’re likely to be interviewing at multiple companies simultaneously and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a few offers to consider, as well.

Be clear and honest, and it might get you more choices – or money. If you do end up accepting a position while working with a recruiter on a different job, that’s okay.  The recruiter is likely to be disappointed but will understand the reasoning and will be very appreciative for the notice.  Depending on where you’re at in the acceptance process with the other company, your recruiter might even be able to get the other company to come through with a better offer – thus giving you 2 offers to consider. Again, honesty and clarity are important. Remember also: no job offer is finalized until you sign on the dotted line.  

Keep in touch. Whether you accept a job through a recruiter or through some other means, you may need them again in the future. Keep in touch.  Connect on LinkedIn and swap the industry buzz. Write the recruiter a recommendation if you were pleased with their efforts. Good recruiters will keep you in the loop because they play the long game. If in three years you find yourself back on the market, they’ll probably remember you and they’d be happy to work with you again. Well-maintained professional relationships can result in mutually beneficial opportunities down the line.

In conclusion, if you’re a job seeker using a recruiter, clear communication and professionalism are key. If you work in the clinical laboratory industry and you’d like to work with a great recruiter, we’d love to talk to you. You can contact us here. To receive the latest clinical lab job openings, and more great tips from our top recruiters, visit our job board or sign up for our monthly newsletter “The Laboratorian”. Happy Hunting!