MB Connection

How To Be a Good Candidate When Working With a Search Firm

You have applied for your dream job and the organization has engaged a search firm.   If this is your first time working with a search firm, you may have some questions about proper protocol.  Here are some tips for staying in our good graces.

  • Be Honest.  It should go without saying that you should always tell the truth, especially in a search process, but withholding information can also be misleading.  For example, if you are involved in other searches and may be expecting another offer, it is important for the search firm to know.  Having the information out in the open will ensure nobody is led on.  It is also helpful to know if you have a preference for one job over another.
  • Be Responsive and Flexible.  Return phone calls and emails quickly.  Timing is everything and if you want the job, be prepared to make yourself as available as possible for interviews and meetings.  Failing to respond indicates a lack of interest and seriousness about the position and can also slow the process down.
  • Be Positive.  Don’t badmouth previous employers but be forthright about the reasons you left past jobs. 
  • Be Patient.  Search processes can include many stages and multiple stakeholders.  Timing can speed up and slow down.  Be prepared to go with the flow but also keep in touch with the recruiter to share any timing issues you are facing.
  • Do Your Homework.  Even if you haven’t met with the organization yet, be prepared to discuss with the search firm why you would be a good fit for the organization.
  • Ask Questions.  The search firm will have insight about what their client is looking for and may have additional information to share beyond what is in the position description.  Don’t assume that only the hiring authority will be able to talk about the organization.
  • Trust Us.  Don’t go behind the search firm’s back and contact people at the organization.  It could backfire.  We are here to facilitate the hiring process and make a good match. 

Developing a strong relationship with the search firm will not only help you in the search process but also in your future career, whether or not you get the job.