Find Success With A Recruiter By Asking Yourself 40 Questions

Several weeks ago, I posted the article "An Easy Checklist To Qualify Recruiters" it received a lot of feedback. While some of the messages were from candidates thanking me, I received quite a few emails from recruiters jokingly suggesting I create a checklist to qualify candidates. At first I laughed, totally understanding their point: As frustrating as working with a recruiter can be, it's no picnic from the other side either. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. After all, almost every day I get an email or LinkedIn message asking the most basic recruiting questions from candidates. "Does it cost me anything?" "I'm sorry, should I have told you I interviewed there yesterday before I had you send the resume today...I figured it would show them how interested I was!" "I've never worked with a recruiter before. You guys are just like car salesmen anyway. How hard is it to find a job anyway?" *NOTE* That last quote occurred approximately one year ago. The individual is still unemployed and sends me a resume almost every week. But I digress...

After two weeks, I finally figured it out. I needed to come up with a checklist for candidates, but from a recruiter's point of view. A list of questions to help candidates determine if they truly are ready for "the recruiter experience." Anyone can shoot a resume off to a recruiter, but to really be successful, to really find that dream job, it takes effort. It takes a little homework. And it takes a whole lot of honesty and trust: An uncomfortable idea I know. If you want to find a new job with the help of a recruiter, you have to do it the right way. The same way that candidates just can't stand recruiters that take shortcuts, don't return calls, and otherwise seem to work when they want to, candidates have to be willing to do what it takes. Without further ado, here is a list of what candidates can do to be the Best Candidate They Can Be or "The 40 Things Recruiters REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY Need Candidates To Do To Make This Worth Everyone's Time."

This is a series of questions designed to show you exactly how a successful partnership with a recruiter SHOULD go. You have to go "all in" for your search. It requires faith in your recruiter, which I admit can be scary. But if you find the right recruiter who also goes "all in," your time and effort will be rewarded handsomely. *DISCLAIMER* Due to margin of error *cough*clients*cough*, both you and your recruiter can do every little thing perfectly and still have something go horribly HORRIBLY wrong. Hence the occasional dark void when you look into a recruiter's eyes and/or a candidate's propensity to have uncontrollable fits of cursing at the mere mention of recruiters. It happens.

  1. Are you willing to be the best candidate you can be?
  2. Are you fully committed to making a career move?
  3. Are you willing to discuss your existing issues with your current firm?
  4. Have you determined there is no way your existing issues can be resolved with your current firm?
  5. Will you be realistic in regards to your desired compensation/PTO?
  6. Are you willing to invest the time necessary to make this search successful?
  7. Will you keep track of where you submit your resume? Where your resume is submitted?
  8. Will you do your due diligence on the recruiters you are considering?
  9. Are you willing to hold your recruiter accountable for their actions?
  10. Are you willing to be held accountable by the recruiter for your actions?
  11. Will you be honest with your recruiter, as painful and as embarrassing as it may be?
  12. Will you be honest with yourself, as painful and as embarrassing as it may be?
  13. Will you require recruiters to require your approval for resume revisions or submissions?
  14. Will you make the changes a recruiter suggests to your resume? *NOTE* Except don't have to agree to lying. Obviously.
  15. Will you reply in a timely manner when your recruiter calls and emails?
  16. Will you do the homework your recruiter gives you? (Yes, there may be homework. We will make you think VERY hard about your wants, your needs, what makes you happy, what makes you unhappy, your short-term goals, your long-term goals, etc.)
  17. Will you keep your spouse/significant other involved and updated on the progress of your search?
  18. Will you keep your recruiter (your OTHER significant other in this process) involved and updated on the progress of your search?
  19. Will you do your due diligence on the companies your recruiter suggests to you?
  20. Will you trust your recruiter's opinions & suggestions? No? Will you at least LISTEN to your recruiter's opinions and suggestions? And nod politely?
  21. Will you review your current employment agreement to ensure a smooth transition to a new firm?
  22. Will you be reasonable in scheduling interviews that your recruiter obtains for you? Yes, we know, you work. But you have to remember, so does our client. They really don't want to meet you at 6am.
  23. Will you prepare for your interview to the absolute best of your abilities and review all prep material provided by your recruiter?
  24. Will you take a test run to the interview location to ensure you know how to actually arrive to the interview...on time?
  25. Will you arrive 10 minutes early to the interview with a copy of your resume and completed application?
  26. Will you think of company-specific questions to ask on the interview?
  27. Will you avoid asking about money/benefits/anything else NOT career-goal oriented?
  28. Will you promptly give your recruiter interview feedback, including your interest level and any additional questions you may have for the client?
  29. Will you promptly send Thank You emails which will first be triple-proofread?
  30. Do you promise not to whine or complain if the company wants to have a 2nd or 3rd interview?
  31. Do you promise to request additional meetings if you want/need a better feel for the company and potential managers/coworkers?
  32. Do you swear on all that is holy to not disappear once the official offer comes? No, I'm serious. Do you? Really, I mean it. You promise? My heart can only take so much Offer AWOL.
  33. If you want to negotiate/counter the offer, are you prepared to decline the offer if your counter is declined?
  34. If you want to negotiate/counter the offer, are you prepared if the offer is rescinded?
  35. If you want to negotiate/counter the offer, are you prepared to accept the offer if your counter is accepted?
  36. Will you give your notice in a timely manner?
  37. Will you let your recruiter know how said notice went?
  38. Will you let your recruiter know how your first day went? Your first week?
  39. Will you keep in touch with your recruiter to let them know how your new position is going?
  40. Will you think to refer people to the recruiters you trust and enjoyed working with? *HINT HINT*

If you have any questions or are curious about any of the above questions, just ask! Shoot me an email at

You can find 10 daily job postings, as well as loads of content on Karpiak Consulting's Facebook page Please "like" or follow the page to be kept up to date on all of new content daily. I re-post articles of interest I find online regarding recruiting, public accounting, and I also post emails I get (redacted of course) regarding recruiting that I think are of interest, including stories/emails from candidates about other recruiters doing bad/confusing things.

For more about me, please visit or I am always looking to network with good professionals that share my values in recruiting, so shoot me an invite!

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