How to React If a Recruiter Has Reached out to You Offering a Job

Added: 19/12/2019

Ekaterina Gavrilova from DigitalHR recruitment agency gives tips on how to react if a recruiter reaches out to you offering a job.





Candidates are often at a loss when a recruitment agency offers them a vacancy. Some say no right away thinking that they will be charged a fee for the job placement. Others doubt the existence of agency vacancies suspecting recruiters of some monkey business. We would like to break it down for candidates and help them save their nerves.

How Recruiters Work


You can get a job invitation from three types of recruiters: company-based ones, freelancers and those working for a recruitment agency. An agency or freelancers are brought in if a company has limited HR resources, i.e. an in-house HR manager or recruiter has too much on their plate or is unfamiliar with the specifics of the search for digital specialists. Often, these are the companies that do business offline, wish to develop Internet marketing, and their HR is unfamiliar with the specifics of the field. Or it can be startups that are unwilling to get distracted from their main business goals and outsource the recruiting process.

A recruitment agency meets with the company reps, finds out the vacancy requirements and objectives, project details, signs an agreement and dives into the search for candidates. As a rule, its responsibilities include the following: research (looking for a relevant resume or candidate profile), communication with the candidate on the phone or via Skype, the first meeting and collecting of recommendations. Then the resume with comments is sent to the client company. NB: A recruiter does not evaluate the candidate’s professional abilities. Their job is only to check the soft skills and ask the candidate for a subjective evaluation of their own abilities.

A recruitment agency is armed with candidate search tools, such as automated recruiting services, CRM systems, social media, professional communities, messengers, forums. All that in order to discover the rare breed of IT&Digital Reps. The situation on the market is such that there’s a battle unfolding for each candidate.

When you changed your mind about discussing a vacancy

First Contact


As a rule, a company hires several recruitment agencies. The fight for the candidate’s attention turns out to be no joke. That’s why you can get the same vacancy offered by three or four intermediaries. It’s good manners to communicate with the company through the agency that contacted you first, be it via a phone call or messenger.

If you get a phone call from an agency recruiter, while telling you about the vacancy they will definitely ask: “Have you already been in touch with company X?” Sometimes candidates may keep the fact to themselves because of having been rejected and wishing to try again.

What it entails: Good if it transpires at the stage of resume approval with the client employer. Both sides won’t waste their time on an unnecessary meeting. Some companies add such people on their lists of undesirable candidates. 

Good strategy: If you previously responded to the company’s job opening, tell the recruiter about it. It’s highly likely that, due to the absence of an in-house HR manager, resumes were handled unduly and lost. And the recruiter will get the company’s feedback in no time.

When you get called for a job interview

Preparing for the Meeting


Remember to read the reviews about the recruitment agency. It may be of help to search for them to find out which topics they comment on and how much of an expert they are in the field. Ask the recruiter themselves for a recommendation from someone who could tell you about their work, be it another candidate this recruiter helped or a satisfied client. The recruiter will, most likely, be surprised, but will try to accommodate your request.

If you were offered a vacancy on one of the social networks, single out your friends in common with the recruiter. Most likely, some of them will be able to share their opinion on the agency’s work.

One may either perceive the recruiter as the necessary evil or effectively obtain from them the information about the company and the job position. First of all, it can be done in any way suitable for you. Not only on the phone, at the meeting or via official correspondence, but also on messengers, the social media (even Instagram, for that matter). Most recruiters are open for multi-channel communication—it’s the demand of our time and the benefits of digital industry.

Good strategy: Ask the recruiter whether there are candidates from their agency already employed at the company. It’s just great if there are. Check how long, whether the new employee is comfortable there and how the team accepted them.

When offered to ask questions about the vacancy

Job Offer or the Lack of It


If, after the job interview, you were offered the position but said no, let the recruiter know what vacancy could interest you in the future. For example, you would like to relocate to London, telecommute and start working for a company with staff of no more than 20 people. Thus they will disturb you less in the future and contact you only regarding the most suitable positions.

If you got a rejection, try to find out the reason why. Ask for resume feedback: what needs to be added, what is lacking. New generation recruiters will always accommodate you request—of course, it is not their direct responsibility, but that’s exactly how business with a human face works.

Good strategy: Ask many questions. Before the meeting, during the job interview, and after the job offer. Recruiters are no mind readers, but would very much like to be ones. We can share social media links to company founders or tell you about the company’s inside jokes.

When expecting there to be a catch

Safety Basics


— We don’t recommend you to go on job interviews if you are not told the name of the company. The least trouble would be your time wasted because you didn’t like the position. There’s a high risk that you will come across an unscrupulous agency willing to get from you insider information about the industry, your ex-coworkers and offering you paid employment services.

— Beware if the employer company is asking you to cut off communication with the agency (and tell them that you turn down the position) and contact them directly. Thus the company is trying to avoid its contract obligations and paying the agency its fee—there’s no guarantee that the same unscrupulousness doesn’t extend to their employer-employee relationships as well.

— Don’t pay for the job search. For example, it’s more difficult to find employment for junior developers, but there’s no need to pay money for something you can do yourself and much better. Send out resumes to IT recruitment agencies, make sure to indicate the desired position and fields you would like to work in. Be prepared that no agency will send you a suitable position—it may simply not be available. Focus your main energy on direct search with the companies you would very much like to work for: they may put you on their backup list or recommend for a position to some other company. 

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