Job seekers: How to optimize your meeting with a recruiter

If you've spent hours submitting online applications and polishing your resume, and still haven't found that coveted position, it may be time to see a recruiter.

Meeting with a recruiter is one of the most important steps you can take on the path toward a better career. If you've spent hours submitting online applications and polishing your resume, and still haven't found that coveted position, it may be time to see a recruiter.

Before you make the call, follow these tips to prepare for your meeting:

Define your goals

Before you go into the meeting, it's important to define your goals and expectations. You may have some idea about what you want out of your next job, but it's still better to write your goals down on paper. This will help you structure the conversation you have with the recruiter.

Grab a piece of paper or open a blank document on your computer and try to define a few things, including:

  • Salary requirements.
  • Location.
  • Benefits.
  • Work environment.
  • Scheduling.
  • Responsibilities.

"One of the most important things I like to know is what differentiates the position the candidate is seeking from the position they are leaving," says Vanessa Keenan, Recruiting Manager for Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Philadelphia. "I really like to know these motivating factors so I can find the best match moving forward."

This exercise will help you organize your thoughts - you don't need to create a polished document. Organizational activities like this will also help you with the other parts of your job search and professional development, such as your personal elevator pitch.

Bring your documents

You'll want to have a polished, up-to-date version of your resume. Along with your list of goals and expectations, this will help the recruiter get a better idea of your strengths, skills and experience. Leaving a resume that s/he can annotate will help the recruiter as they market you to potential employers.

"I have been very impressed with candidates who come in with samples of their work and written recommendation letters," notes Ms. Keenan. "They can really set you apart – just make sure to exclude any work samples that may be confidential."

At this point, you'll also want to check out your social media profiles. Google product marketer Jon Youshaei, writing in Forbes Magazine, explained that almost all recruiters and employers will scan your internet presence for red flags. And while a recruiter will help you with refining your personal brand, it's always a good idea to do a little work beforehand to make sure they have the right impression.

Dress the part

You may not be seeing an employer, but it's still necessary to dress for the job you want. This shows the recruiter that you're serious about your career search and you conduct yourself in a professional manner.

When meeting with a recruiter, always dress for success.

Be prepared to ask questions

Asking questions shows that you're curious and engaged. The questions you ask should help to build your understanding of the positions for which you will be considered. Topics may include:

  • On the job training.
  • Management styles.
  • Typical time-to-hire periods.
  • Industry challenges.
  • Specifics regarding commute and flex time.

Recruiting Manager Brandon White, of Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Atlanta, suggests also coming prepared with talking points such as ideal pay rate/salary, location/commute preferences, interview availability, and pending holiday/vacation schedules.

If you're struggling to come up with questions, try this: Imagine you're returning home from a successful interview when you are greeted by your best friend. He's excited about your new opportunity and wants to know more. "What will your hours be like? How's the pay? What's your new manager like?"

Treat it like the real thing

Meeting with a recruiter, in contrast with meeting with a hiring manager, is a more relaxed experience. But even though you are not interviewing for a specific position, it is important to maintain a professional demeanor. "In addition to your preparation, it is equally important to conduct yourself as you would in front of a hiring manager," says Ben Daves, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Financial Division in St. Louis. "Remember – the recruiter you meet with is responsible for promoting your skills, ability and personality to a potential employer. Oftentimes candidates feel overly comfortable discussing their previous employers and experiences with a recruiter, ultimately souring the recruiter and making them less likely to send the candidate's resume for open positions."

Mr. White adds, "Avoid speaking negatively about your former employer and Hiring Managers, as well as research the office location beforehand. If you are too early, you may disrupt the recruiter's schedule. If you are late, please let your recruiter know in advance. These opportunities to display professionalism communicate to your recruiter how you will potentially conduct yourself in an actual interview scenario."

Stay positive

Searching for a new position can be stressful and exhausting - but it's worth the effort. Throughout your search, stay positive. This is another reason why individuals engage recruiters – job seeking can be a lonely and thankless task. Knowing that you have an advocate invested in your success provides an emotional boost for when the difficult times come.

Think you're ready to take the next step in your career? Visit to begin exploring your opportunities.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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