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Insider Info: What Top Candidates Want From Recruiters

by Versique

I recently met a “very placeable candidate” (VPC), and gained intriguing insider knowledge that will show you how important trust is between a candidate and a recruiter. To give you an overview, a VPC has great technical, communication, and leadership skills, with a personality that fits well with any company. Recruiters love meeting VPCs, but we also know they are called and emailed by many recruiters – constantly.

How do VPCs stand out to recruiters? This article has useful tips on how to gain a recruiter’s attention and maintain a great relationship.

The VPC I connected with said she receives 50-100 calls/e-mails each week from local IT recruiters. I had to ask, “What do you with all those calls/e-mails?”

She shared with me that she deletes most of the calls and e-mails but told me what it takes to catch her attention:


  1. An e-mail is much more likely than a phone call to get an initial response.
  2. The e-mails that get a response always include: the name of the company, the title of the job, and the location of the job opening.
  3. Don’t call two minutes before the hour. It’s too easy to say she’s late for a meeting.
  4. Don’t call everyone in an IT department and leave the same scripted voicemail. The worst are voicemails that congratulate an employee on their amazing career or ask the candidate to call for some great news about their career. These voicemails are usually forwarded to everyone in the department and make a search firm look bad.

She explained that responding to an e-mail rather than a phone call allows her to keep her response brief while letting the recruiter know she has interest. She went on to say that knowing the company, location, and salary range of the opening helps her quickly decide if she’s interested in the job, which is critical when she receives so many e-mails and calls.

“Initially, it comes down to whether I feel I can trust the recruiter. I don’t have time to search for new jobs on my own, and I’m not going to share my salary requirements and what I’m looking for in a new job with someone who can’t meet me halfway with the specific details on the job.”

After the initial e-mail exchange, she prefers to talk to a recruiter in person. “I want to know if I can trust this recruiter with my resume and my referrals.”  She checks out the recruiter and searches firm online to confirm their track record.

After the in-person meeting, she prefers to talk to recruiters mostly by phone. Her advice for recruiters:

Besides trusting a recruiter, she also tries to determine if she can build a long-term relationship with them. “The recruiter may not find me my next job, but I want them to bring value. Knowing about new job openings, giving solid suggestions on my resume, and candid feedback on how my pay compares to others in the market are ways recruiters stand out. I would like to find a new job through this recruiter but, if not, I want to make sure I feel comfortable referring others to them.”

In this market, VPCs are hard to find but even harder to keep. Earning trust and bringing extra value are vital steps to working with VPCs long-term.

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Content provided by Joe Janasz

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