Met with Scott Birkhead the other day and had a great conversation over lunch.  Scott owns Most Placeable Candidate (http://www.mostplaceablecandidate.com), a company that specializes in helping candidates (job-seekers) maximize their ability to navigate through the dark foreboding waters of an interview.

Scott shared with us some of his advice on how to get a candidate through the process, and I thought I’d write up a sort of codification of the Talent Recruiters, Inc. approach to helping candidates.  It’s not terribly different from Scott’s approach.

Here, then, are the rules for making sure that we maximize our relationship with you, the job-seeker:


1)       Always be honest. Never lie to us.  We make a living out of creating what are, in effect, marriages between job-seekers and job-holders, so it’s in your best interest to tell us the bald truth lest you end up in an ugly marriage.  We firmly believe that a paycheck attached to a job you can’t stand is never worth it.  Candidates who have succeeded with us NEVER lie to us, even if the truths are painful to admit.  We’ve probably heard it before.

2)      Be engaged in our process. We’ve been doing this for a long time. What may be a rare event for you (an interview) isn’t for us.  We spend ALL of our days working with candidates and grooming them for successful interviews.  Let us drive the process and listen carefully to what we say.

3)      Be respectful. We are usually working between a dozen and two dozen job openings at any one time, company-wide.  Respect our time, please.  If we call you, we need you to call us back immediately, as soon as you possibly can.  If we email you, we need a reply as fast as you can get it to us.  We’ll try to do the same for you and not waste your time calling you about things that can’t help you or aren’t a match.

4)      Be generous with feedback. Once you’ve interviewed, we need you to call us before the hiring manager can.  Fast feedback is non-negotiable for us because we promise it to our clients.  We cannot afford to lose even a single client because of a candidate who slows down the process.  You want to get hired?  We WANT you hired…so help us help you.

5)      Don’t approach us with money questions up front. Sorry, but this is a huge red flag.  We want to understand the parameters of your job search, what motivates you, where you’ve been, why you’ve been there, and what makes you move.  We don’t work with clients that are hamburger mills, so don’t assume we think you’re just a piece of meat.  We partner with clients with low turnover, we make relationships happen.  We’re not interested in helping feed you into a staff augmentation role.  That’s not our style.  So if you ask about money before we’ve established the FIT of the role for you, we will move on to the next candidate.  Your motivations need to be more than the bottom line, dollar-wise.

Please know what you’re looking for…really. Wishy washy motives and outlooks aren’t going to help us help you.  Why you’re looking, and what you hope to gain, are MUCH more important to us than your skills, so if you can’t articulate your position, you probably need more than recruiting help!

6)      Follow our instructions carefully, please. Every opportunity we post has us asking for your resume in WORD format and then a phone call.  Fail on either of these two and you’re just wasting our time.  Please don’t waste our time.

7)      Don’t assume we are like other recruiters you’ve worked with. Yes, we have “Recruiters” in our company name.  But we don’t make a living churning out waterfalls of keyword-matched resumes, and we take pride in making the right FIT.  Help us see why you’re the exception to the rule, why your particular skillset would benefit our client and why we should entrust your resume to be stamped with OUR name on it.  Show us how you’re different, and help us help put YOUR best foot forward.

There you go.  The Rules.  What do you think?  Comments are welcome.

Lou Berger


  1. I have to admit this blog took me by surprise. I found it refreshingly honest. I would love to see a list of rules that a client can expect from you.

  2. Craig, you make some excellent points. We never request a DNC because we don’t feel that we have the right to do that. We do ask, sometimes, depending on the client, for a “right to represent” but it’s not a global request, ever.

    We try to be pro-active about feedback from hiring managers. The system we use kicks out an automatic email when feedback is entered. THAT is very helpful!

    We sometimes do not submit a resume and, when we do not, don’t bring that to the attention of the candidate. Not every candidate will make it through our screening process. It’s the nature of the beast.

    We will, however, gladly explain why we didn’t move forward. It’s common courtesy…

  3. Who doesn’t know this stuff? You actually have to remind people to be honest? Even in this current economy and having been out of work for a year I will not apply for a job that I am not qualified for, I will not stretch my skills just that little bit to make it look more favorable. Once I actually get a position I want to retain that position. I have an odd quirky set of job skills that are not a great fit in most positions I am forwarded from the main job boards, so I don’t get a lot of real good hits. What really kills me now is that for at least one company for which I was what I would consider a good candidate at least I was refused an interview simply because I had been out of work for to long. I call it the “BOOW” virus. Their loss I know, but it was a devastating day for me. I agree with your “rules”, as long as you add one to the end that states, “If we know ANYTHING about the position you were submitted to or interviewed for, either good or bad, you will contact the job seeker ASAP.” I hate the hot to trot recruiter that wants you signing a DNC clause before you have even phone screened, but won’t call you to tell you that they either didn’t submit you or your resume was declined. And if you know why please share! Having a recruiter go dark on me is so difficult. I know you guys are busy, so I don’t like to hound, but come on this is my future! My 0.02 worth. =)

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