Should I speak to the recruiter who called me?

Friday, August 1st, 2008 - Blog


Margie asks: A recruiter contacted me by phone, and I figured, why not have a phone interview even though I’m not actively looking. It’s been over a decade since I’ve been in this position. Does anyone have any advice for when you meet with a recruiter? Do they charge you if they find a job and you’re interested (or actually change jobs due to their contacting you)? What kind of questions are they likely to ask? Thanks for your advice.

In answer:
Yes, why not – plus you could get a free career review and an view on what’s out there/how much you could be paid.

The format’s pretty standard (you, your skills, your ambitions):

1. A review of your employment history.
2. A review of non-work related (volunteer, etc) history that is applicable.
3. A review of the geographic area you want to look in.
4. A review of the industry you’re interested in.
5. A review of the role you are looking for (which does not necessarily have to be associated to your past experience, though your skill-base needs to transfer easily).
6. A review of your salary expectations, and other ‘perk’ expectations.

From the above, a lot of dynamic questions can arise, but this is usually the starting point for any discussions with a recruiter.

The cost to you in a western environment should be free – it usually is the hiring company that pays; while engagement fee’s payable by candidate are quite common in Eastern cultures. The payment plan can differ in several ways, but the majority of recruiters work on behalf of the hiring company to hire talent, and is thus why they compensate a recruiter for hired individuals.

However, one caution – once you are one their dBase, its hard to get removed. And often, some new recruitment agents are paid to collect CV/Resume’s to build the companies portfolio of candidates. The key engagement questions for you are:

(A) how did you get my details (get as specific and hard nosed on this as you want – legally you can in Europe about any cold call)
(B) is there any cost to me for this service; if not, how do you get renumerated?
(C) is there a specific post you are seeking to fulfill; if not, why approach me?
(D) can you confirm that if I wish my details to be removed from your dBase and systems at any point, I can do so and that you will fully comply?
(E) please confirm the above in writing on your companies letterhead, with a list of suggested meeting dates

Good Luck!

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