Working with a Recruiter

Updated October 20, 2022 · 5 Min Read

Working with MBA recruiters can provide job seekers with access to positions for which they otherwise might not have access to or apply for. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Employment recruiters seek to fill positions with the best talent in an efficient manner. MBA recruiters come in two categories: in-house recruiters and agency recruiters. In-house recruiters are paid human resources employees of one specific business who look for talent to fill open positions within the company. Agency recruiters work exclusively in the area of employee recruiting and receive compensation from third-party companies who hire them to locate and attract preferred talent.

Recruiters know the pulse of the job market and have direct contacts to hiring managers.

Although recruiters do their work on behalf of their business clients, job seekers can reap the benefits of the recruiting process as well. Working with recruiters can provide job seekers with access to positions for which they otherwise might not apply. Some company and agency recruiters will even accept promising job seekers' resumes on a rolling basis and reach out to those who best fit a position that becomes available. Recruiters know the pulse of the job market and have direct contacts to hiring managers. It's their job to place qualified applicants at the top of the list, frequently bringing job seekers up to a level of hiring consideration they might not find on their own.

How Do You Find a Job with a Recruiter?

Finding Recruiters

A job seeker's journey with a recruiter typically begins when the recruiter reaches out to them after finding their profile on a site like LinkedIn. To enhance your chances of being contacted, be sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, well-written, and that your job-seeking preferences are set to let recruiters know you're open to opportunities. Profiles with skill endorsements from your connections look particularly inviting to recruiters. Consider posting your resume on other popular job sites like Monster and Indeed as well.

Beyond the web, ask networking connections in your field or consult with a professional organization for recruiter information and recommendations.

Several online directories, such as Online Recruiters Directory and, allow users to search for recruiters by industry and access their contact information. The Recruiter Network offers a free service to directly match job seekers with recruiters based on their resume, job function, salary requirements, and geographical preference. Keep in mind that sites which require payment to access recruiter databases, like Custom Databanks, Inc., tend to offer more up-to-date information. Beyond the web, ask networking connections in your field or consult with a professional organization for recruiter information and recommendations.

When considering working with a specific recruiter, do your homework and research important information. How long has the recruiter been in the business? Do they prefer to communicate by email alone, or will they field phone calls? What type of connections do they possess? Do they receive payment on contingency or on retainer? Though the information is not easily accessible for all recruiters, some may also advertise their own placement success rate.

Initial Interview with a Recruiter

The MBA recruitment process typically begins when job seekers first make contact with a recruiter and a phone screening is scheduled. A recruiter located nearby may request to meet with you in person instead. During this initial call or meeting, recruiters confirm resume information and determine whether a job seeker would be a good candidate for an open position. This meeting provides you with the opportunity to judge the value of the recruiter as well. Although recruiters do not expressly work for you, the job seeker, you should still seek to develop a collaborative connection with them.

On the initial call, communicate vital job search information, including the type of job you're looking for (e.g., managerial, entry level, mentorship, etc.); how this relates to your long-term and short-term career goals; and details like your preferred salary, benefits, and job environment. Although you should work to develop an honest connection with recruiters, avoid revealing any personal information that is irrelevant to their work or that might harm your chances with a company (e.g., that you have no other current opportunities, information about your financial situation, or the lowest salary you will accept for a job).

The Job Interviewing Process

Depending on the recruiter you work with and their relation to the company you apply to, their role may vary from simply being a gatekeeper to an interview, to being one of the final decision makers. Whatever their final responsibilities, recruiters typically guide all job seekers through a similar interviewing process. If the initial screening call goes well, the recruiter will reach out to the hiring manager with a recommendation to schedule an interview. For important positions in larger companies, the recruiter may complete additional duties such as organizing an interview panel and suggesting appropriate questions.

While recruiters do not dispense explicit interview advice, they will let you know what to expect and provide you with information on who you'll meet. The interview process may require several rounds before completion, in which case you should follow up with your recruiter after each round to discuss how it went. They will use your feedback in organizing and preparing subsequent interviews or meetings.

Should You Look for a Job with a Recruiter?

Advantages of Working with a Recruiter

Recruiters receive compensation in a variety of ways. One frequently used method provides recruiters with a commission based on the salary of the positions they fill. In these cases, your recruiter would obviously prefer to set you up with the best offer possible. Great agency recruiters who perform well and find the best candidates will often find continued work with a third-party company. This presents an added incentive for the recruiter to place job seekers in roles in which they'll excel.

One frequently used method provides recruiters with a commission based on the salary of the positions they fill.

Recruiters work with business professionals at all stages in their careers, including entry-level staffing and executive business positions. Business school graduates seeking employment in mid-level positions can especially benefit from working with an MBA recruitment agency. While your networking status and list of professional contacts might be a work in progress, established recruiters tend to have a wealth of connections within the field. These connections allow recruiters to know exactly what employers look for in successful job candidates. A recruiter who knows where to go, who to speak to, and what to say can save you the time of searching out job postings on your own.

Potential Disadvantages of Working with a Recruiter

Job seekers put their trust in recruiters to make the most effective job search decisions for their careers. When you hand over this power, your role in the process can sometimes feel reduced to a small cog in a machine. Recruiters typically must put the interests and needs of companies and employers first, which means their position as your ally in the job market has its limitations. These limitations even come into play regarding information about open positions. Your resume may be stellar and hold all the qualifications the hiring company desires, but if you interview well and still don't get the job, the recruiter will likely not be able to tell you why the company chose not to select you.

At the end of the day, recruiters make their income by filling open jobs. Many recruiters work hard to get candidates they work with into the best positions possible. Unfortunately, some recruiters' incentive to earn money can come at a job seeker's professional expense, such as when they are encouraged to accept offers for positions at a lower level of pay.

Tips for Working with a Recruiter

  • Don't Take a Shotgun Approach: A resume distributed to dozens of recruiters looks risky to take a chance on. Don't proposition more than a few recruiters at a time.
  • Dress Professionally: Recruiters can become friendly allies and companions in your job search, but your appearance should remain professional. Dress appropriately for any meetings you schedule.
  • Send Thank-You Notes: Although recruiters work for companies rather than job seekers, consider sending a few words of appreciation for their assistance in your job hunt, whether you make the hiring cut or not.
  • Develop a Rapport with Your Recruiter: During a job hunt, reach out to your recruiter frequently. Be personable, friendly, and accessible. Don't make it a chore for your recruiter to speak with you.

Recruiter FAQs

How Many Times Do You Meet with a Recruiter, on Average?

The number of times you will meet a recruiter depends on their location, schedule, preference, and how long the job search lasts. Typically, job seekers will meet with their recruiter after each completed interview.

What Kind of Qualifications Do Recruiters Typically Have?

Job recruiters most often hold a degree in human resources or a related field. They may possess job experience in a variety of people-oriented business settings.

Can You Work with Multiple Recruiters at the Same Time?

Although working with multiple recruiters is acceptable, you should always maintain upfront honesty about doing so. With each recruiter, request and provide specific information about where your resume has been sent.

What Are the Signs of a Good Recruiter?

Great recruiters will display knowledge of companies in your industry, boast a wide network of professional connections, and will freely reference their past success in candidate placement.

What Are the Signs of a Substandard Recruiter?

Red flags to watch for include the use of vague or cliched language rather than concrete communication, a propensity to talk over you, or pushing you to accept any offer you receive.

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