Your Recruiter Is Not Your Therapist – We Actually Talk Back


You've lost that loving feeling at work. Or maybe your bank account needs a boost. Perhaps you're just restless and in need of a change.

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Whatever your reasons are for looking for a new opportunity, one of the fastest ways to find a job is to work with a recruiter. You come to meet with your counselor, as they are sometimes called, and you feel a connection. You share things about your hopes, your dreams, and your past disappointments, and soon you have the feeling that you're talking to your therapist. Finally – someone who understands your career woes!

While there are some similarities between talking to a recruiting and chatting with your therapist, there are six things you need to know about your relationship with a recruiter:

1. When Your Recruiter Gives You Advice, Assume It's to Put You in the Best Position When Presenting You to Clients

I often regret turning down the opportunity to get my doctoral degree in psychology. I just wasn't sure that I could listen to someone talk about issues they wanted help with and not offer specific advice.

With recruiting, however, I get to tell people what I think they should do to put themselves in the best position to get the job they want. Whether it's related to their resume, advice on answering commonly flubbed questions, or letting them know not to chew gum during the interview (yes – this still happens), it's all with the best intentions.

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2. Be Comfortable With Being Open

It may be awkward divulging the details of your professional past to a stranger, but if you work with a recruiter, being open is the fastest way to get what you want and avoid the things you don't. Be comfortable talking about things like salary, the reasons you left past positions, and difficult situations you've been involved in at work. These things are likely to come up in interviews. You should also open up about your true hopes regarding both your short and long-term career goals. Let your personality shine so that your next job is not only a skill match, but also a culture fit.

3. Follow Up Once a Week

Weekly visits with a therapist are usually the norm. The same goes for how often you should be checking in with your recruiter. You'll want to give your recruiter a solid and thorough update of what's going on in your job search. Keep your recruiter informed of your progress to help them manage their search more effectively. Discuss interviews you've been on and your thoughts on the various organizations you've met with to further expand their understanding of what you want.

4. Let Your Recruiter Know You Appreciate Their Help

Therapists and recruiters alike love knowing they've had a profound impact on someone's life. You can't do either job – at least not well – if this isn't a fundamental part of your practice. A thank-you note once you're placed is always appreciated. I know because I see them sitting on every recruiter's desk in our office – mine included! Even if we're not the ones who had the pleasure of placing you, a note recognizing our hard work will keep the relationship strong.

5. Go Back to Your Recruiter When You Start Another Job Search

Never delete a great recruiter from your contact list. Just as it is with a therapist, the door is always open in case you find yourself on the lookout for new opportunities. Keep their information on hand for moments when you may need a career tune-up.

6. Refer Friends and Colleagues to Your Recruiter

In any business, a referral is the highest form of flattery. Though you may feel the need to keep your therapist to yourself, you should definitely share your recruiter with friends. It's a compliment to both parties, so go ahead and make the introduction.

A version of this post originally appeared on Atrium Staffing's blog.

Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing's resident career expert.