Getting the Best Out of Your Recruiter

Hand Gestures | Legal Lawyer Recruiter




Some tips to ensure you build a strong relationship with your recruiter. 


Reading Time: 4-5 minutes


At some point in your career, you will engage the services of a recruiter. As such, it is important that you find the right recruiter and that you work together as a team. Statistically, you will work for up to six different organisations before you retire and with millennials taking it to a whole other level, that figure will presumably rise. So, there really isn’t a job for life anymore.


Unless you want to work with multiple recruiters across your working life, it is, therefore, advantageous to find one now, even if you aren’t quite ready for the move. Who knows, you might even end up with your dream job!


However, before you begin, it is important to learn how to build a network and to understand that your recruiter can be part of that network.


1. Truly understanding how to build a network.


It is no coincidence that successful senior lawyers and partners have a very good approach to both networking and advertising themselves. Rather than hiding behind vague profiles and obscure headings, they make sure that colleagues, recruiters, referrers, clients and prospective clients can get hold of them easily and quickly.


By building an active and successful network you are making yourself visible and advertising the fact that you are approachable. This is an essential skill that so many professionals seem to miss. If you want to grow your network (and have the opportunity to find out about things like – new clients, new groups, market opportunities etc), make sure that your up-to-date details are on the Law Society, Linkedin, Twitter, your firm website and any blog sites you contribute to.


2. Remember, it is your 'Career' we are talking about. It is not just about jobs.  


When you engage with a recruiter, it is not all or nothing. Many professionals engage the services of a recruiter a good few years before they decide to move. It allows both parties to build a strong relationship of trust which will bode well when it comes to moving.


In that period the recruiter can keep you updated with the market, upcoming roles and other professionals that are moving. It means that when you are ready to start your search, you feel that it is the right time and that you can capitalise on the benefit of your market knowledge.


As a side point, it is worth listening to the recruiter’s suggestions. You may have a clear idea of what you want in your next move but the recruiter may have additional ideas, based on past dealings. It is worth listening!


3. Two Way Traffic. 


Ensuring that the rapport builds between yourself and the recruiter is essential. Because the recruiter is essentially working with you for free (yes, you get our advice free of charge), make sure that you are open and honest with them.


In return for the free advice, we ask a few simple things.


If you say that you are going to send your CV, make sure that you do exactly that. If you confirm that you are going to send an email or look over details of jobs (that the recruiter has spent an hour putting together for you) then make a point of coming back to the recruiter, even if the role isn't what you are looking for.


We appreciate that you are busy but so are we. By being rude or ignoring communications, you are putting yourself in a small camp of supposed professionals, who are acting quite the opposite. Similarly, if we are at a point of already talking to firms on your behalf, it’s your reputation that gets damaged, not the recruiters. Act towards the recruiter as you yourself would like to be treated. We will always do the same in return.


4. Salary Information. 


The recruiter will ask you what your basic salary is and whether you get any further benefits or bonuses. Be frank and talk through your package. Refusing to discuss your salary or giving vague plucked from the air figures, suggest that you are trying to hide something. Do remember that conversations are always private and confidential.


Make a point of being as clear as possible with the recruiter. Be exact in your figures. Tell them what you are currently on, what you are looking for and what you expect in a best/worst case scenario. Armed with this information, the recruiter can do a much better job of negotiating you the best deal when the time comes.


And remember, when law firms want to know what competitors are paying or start their annual salary reviews, they call the recruiters!


5. Respond to roles quickly. 


As you won’t be the only potential lawyer in the market looking at roles, when an opportunity becomes live, the window of opportunity starts to close. If the recruiter sends you a job specification or calls you with information, it helps your chances of successfully securing the role, if you say yes or no as promptly as possible. By acting quickly, you can often beat the competition.


6. You have already applied for the role. 


Put simply, if you have already applied for a role through an agent, don’t ask a second agent to also apply for you. Making two applications will not secure you the role. In fact, it will guarantee that you don't get the job. Secondly, it creates a messy unwanted situation between both agents and the firm. All in all, it makes everyone look like they don’t know what they are doing. And nobody wants that.


Similarly, if an agent mentions a role and you have previously interviewed with the firm, then you should (obviously) mention it. There is nothing worse for a recruiter than getting a call from a senior partner saying, ‘we’ve met this person before … last week (or last year) … and they were a no then and they are a no now.’ Full disclosure of the facts always helps.


7. Don't contact the client directly. 


If you get the urge to send a partner or HR professional an email after an interview to say ‘thank you for your time. It was lovely to meet you,’ don’t.


It puts the partner or HR professional in a difficult position, especially if they don’t want to take your application forward. Secondly and more importantly, you are essentially duplicating the role of the recruiter. That makes you look desperate and makes the recruiter look like they have no candidate management skills. Let the recruiter do their job and once you get to the point of offer/acceptance, you can then send an email reading ‘thank you, I would love to accept.’


8. Keep in touch with the recruiters afterwards. 


Remember, you may well look again in five years’ time. Keeping in touch with your recruiter means an annual email asking how’s the market looking or for some advice on salaries prior to your salary review. Many recruiters offer referral fees for successful placements. If you know others in your profession that are looking or would benefit from a chat with a recruiter then get the two of them talking.


9. Provide Feedback. 


We aim to provide as seamless a service as possible. But, we appreciate that there are always things that we can do differently to meet the needs of individual lawyers and clients. As such, we value your feedback and thoughts and would love to know what you think of our service. 


You can read more of Peter's blogs here. If you want to discuss any of his roles or the market generally, you can contact him on or on 07834 436775.


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CaterJay Legal | Law Recruitment Specialists in London