What to Expect When Working with a Recruiter


Job seekers will commonly encounter a recruiter during their job search. Whether it’s your first time working with a recruiter or you’ve had experience with one in the past, there likely remains many questions and potential misconceptions about partnering with a recruiter. We want to provide insight from our experienced perspective.

To clear up any confusion, we talked to Senior Recruiter and Information Technology Division Director Adam Loewen about what you can expect when working with a recruiter and the best ways to do so effectively.


How much does it cost to work with a recruiter?

For job seekers, there is no charge to work with a recruiter. “Job seekers who have never worked with a recruiter are surprised to find out that it is completely free to them,” Adam said. “If a recruiter ever asks you for a fee, you shouldn’t work with them because they likely don’t have your best interests at heart.” The staffing firm is paid by the employer that engaged them to find the right talent (ideally, you!) for their open position.


What are the benefits of working with a recruiter?

There are pros and cons to most everything in life — except working with a recruiter. “There is virtually no downside to working with a recruiter, and I wish someone told me about them earlier in my career,” Adam said. “A talented recruiter who understands the market will be your advocate when speaking with employers. We will help market you to an employer, communicating the skills and attributes that make you unique that the hiring manager would not get from just your resume. This is the difference between getting an interview or being overlooked for a role you fit.”

Recruiters not only help promote you to employers, they can give you the inside scoop on what certain companies are looking for. “We have so many tenured recruiters at Morgan Hunter that we’ve been able to build strong relationships with many of the best employers in Kansas City,” Adam said. “We are in constant contact with them, have walked their halls, and know their culture, so we gain a valuable and true understanding of what they’re looking for when hiring a new employee.” Recruiters will leverage those relationships when it comes time to get you in front of an employer, plus match a company’s qualities to what you are seeking in a career opportunity. Additionally, the positions on online job boards are just a sliver of the true opportunity in the marketplace.


What is the difference between a retained search and a contingent search?

There are two main types of searches a staffing firm performs: retained and contingent. With a retained search, the staffing firm is paid upfront by the employer and is tasked with locating extremely specific candidates for a role. With a contingent search, payment to the staffing firm is contingent upon one of their candidates being hired. “Most of what we do at Morgan Hunter is contingent searches,” Adam said. “We strive to find a mutually beneficial match for both clients and candidates alike, and because there is no cost to the client for viewing your background, they are more likely to interview you, which is how best to see what a company and role offers.”


How come I haven’t heard back from my recruiter?

Most of the time, it’s simply because they do not have any new information to share with you. “If you take one thing away from this blog, I want it to be this insight. I always do my best to set up communication expectations with anyone I begin a relationship with because this is where most ill feelings stem from and it’s usually due to a lack of understanding. Because our efforts are focused on finding career opportunities for the many people we are working with, it isn’t beneficial for anyone to frequently have ‘check-in’ conversations.”

“Also, we are at the mercy of our clients, and while I always attempt to have timely updates to share, it isn’t always the case, unfortunately,” Adam said. “One thing you can do to keep yourself fresh in our mind is let us know about jobs or companies you’re interested in before you apply. Doing that helps us learn more about you and what types of jobs you’re interested in. We likely have a relationship with the company and are able to get you in front of the hiring manager quicker and more effectively than applying online. We will be your advocate to an employer, but you must be an advocate for yourself to a recruiter.”


How long will it take for my recruiter to find me a job?

This varies greatly depending on the market, your background in context of what the recruiter’s specialty is, and sheer timing. Some employers want to move fast, while others prefer taking their time during the interviewing and hiring process. And if the initial search doesn’t end with you getting hired, Adam says that’s just the beginning. “We like to build lasting relationships with our job seekers,” he said. “If a recruiter is only working with you for one open job at one time, they are not thinking big picture about your overall career growth. I’ve had candidates who I’ve placed the day I first met them, and I’ve had others that found a role on their own, but I found the next step in their career years later. It’s all about maintaining those relationships. At some point, it pays off.”


Any additional advice?

“I would tell anyone who cares about their career to forge relationships with a select few recruiters that match your skillset and will keep you in touch with what the market can offer you. Do this before you need a job, so you can be proactive and not reactive! Also, remember that a recruiter is hired by a client to find a specific fit for their role and at that time it might not be you, but the right fit could be right around the corner. Cultivating a strong and dependable relationship will have you set up to land the perfect role!”


If you would like to learn more about working with a recruiter, contact us today.