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Ask Aerotek: The Value of Open Communication With Your Recruiter

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Look around for advice on maintaining healthy, positive personal relationships and you’ll hear the same thing over and over again: open communication is the key.

Your professional relationship with your recruiting partner is no different. It thrives when both parties understand how best to help each other, and the best way to make sure that’s the case is through honest and open communication.

To find out what that means for candidates and contractors who are the beneficiaries of a solid relationship with a recruiting partner, we talked to Kate Schendel, a Senior Recruiter Lead in accounting and finance with Aston Carter, a division of Aerotek.

Lock in the basics first

As with any relationship, defining the best way to communicate can have a big impact on how smoothly you can both deal with issues should they arise later.

According to Schendel, initiating good communication means paying close attention to “the basics that you might not think about.” “For instance,” she asks, “what's the best way to reach you if I need to? Every situation and every relationship is going to be different, and it’s better to start with a mutual, honest understanding at that base level of your preferred method of contact.”

Building trust

Once you’ve mutually established how to maintain contact, you’ll at least have the communication lines open. At this point in your professional relationship it’s important to establish a baseline of trust: if you both trust each other, you’ll be receptive and responsive to open and honest communication.

Being receptive to your honest input is where the best recruiters will shine. You should feel completely comfortable sharing your goals and expectations. As Schendel notes, “The better I am at making a candidate feel comfortable with the process from start to finish, I’ve found that the more open the lines of communication become. I always emphasize up front that I'm here to be a resource, and try to take a relationship-building approach where the first conversation I have is about goals, skills and interests, rather than just one particular job.”


When first talking with a recruiter, it’s best to be frank with your answers. Just as you’d appreciate a recruiter who earns your trust by making sure you’re comfortable, you’ll earn theirs by being honest about what you need from them.

Setting expectations

In relationships, nothing is more frustrating to deal with than unclear expectations. Your relationship with your recruiter is no different.

Keep your recruiter apprised of any new opportunities you run into. Even if they can’t get back to you right away, they’ll appreciate the lead and can check into it for you in the meantime. Schendel says, “If you see something out there that you want to apply to, or if you’re having an issue with your current placement, let me know. I might not be able to return your call within ten minutes, but I'll do my best to get back to you as soon as I possibly can.”

Recruiters can be pretty busy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect a prompt response when you reach out to them. After all, it’s their job to help you find a position that fits your needs. As Schendel puts it, “I try to make sure that candidates or contractors never feel like they're bothering me by reaching out. Call me. Email me. Call my cell phone. Call me on the weekend. You're never going to be bothering me as a recruiter. This is my job, and if I'm bothered to do my job, then I need to find a new one.”

There’s no such thing as bad news

Recruiters want to hear about any updates that can help them help you, including any that might at first seem like “bad news” for the recruiter — like jobs you might be pursuing while engaged in a contract.

As Schendel explains, “It helps me a lot to learn about outside opportunities from any candidates and contractors I work with, and I’m always happy to help them if they’re looking for arrangement career change. The chances are very high that we can help our contractors get noticed in their own search, and doing so gives us recruiters a great opportunity to talk to new employers. What seems like it might be a difficult conversation to have with your recruiter is really a win-win.”

Meet halfway

Relationships only work if both parties are engaged in making them work. As you develop your professional relationship with a recruiting partner, it’s reasonable to ask yourself if they’re holding up their end of the bargain. But don’t forget to pitch in as well: it really is in your best interest to help them help you.

When asked what candidates and contractors she’s most likely to go above and beyond for, Kate Schendel replied, “It comes down to how engaged they are in the process, and how motivated to do the work it takes to land their dream job. I think a lot of times people think that it's a one-sided relationship. While we're here to be career consultants and advocates, it does take a little bit of work on our candidate's parts as well.”

Find the right partner

Are you looking for a recruiting partner who can be a long-term ally for your career development? Reach out to an Aerotek recruiter today, and see how their unique relationship-based approach can help you find the right job for you.

If you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search. And consider contacting an expert career advisor: Our recruiters are available to provide advice you can use.