Working with a recruiter means having someone in your corner to help you navigate the job search. Recruiters aren’t an extension of the hiring company, but rather partners who can represent our candidates in the best possible light. However, in order to work in everyone’s best interest and help jobseekers find the ideal work environment to fit their needs, candidates must be candid (no pun intended) with their recruiter and honest about their background and life situations. In my 16 years as an executive recruiter, I’ve seen first-hand how hiding or failing to disclose pertinent information has caused tension with employers or, in some cases, caused a candidate to miss out on a position. Here are the top three things you should always be upfront with when you talk to a recruiter:

1. Job history. It’s crucial to let your recruiter know why you left or were terminated from a position. This does not just pertain to your immediate past position, but any job you’ve had in the past. By being honest about your job history, you can curtail any potentially negative conversations with an employer and let them know of any issues on the front end.

2. Personal background. From financial setbacks to any criminal incidents in your past, it’s important to disclose these to your recruiter. Whether you had to file bankruptcy during the market crash or got a DUI when you were in college, all of these can show up in a background check. Rather than the potential employer learning about these at the 11th hour, it’s best to disclose any potential issues as early as possible. For example, in one scenario, a candidate had defaulted on a home loan during the financial crisis. However, since he or she was forthcoming with that information from the beginning, it was a non-issue with the employer.

3. Life Plans. Everyone has life plans and life events that can arise. If you are planning to take a long vacation, are (or may soon become) pregnant or have any other upcoming life change, it’s best to discuss these with your recruiter. Therefore, he or she can help determine the best work environment for your personal situation. A candidate I worked with recently had an extended trip to Italy planned and almost declined a job offer due to her travel itinerary. Had she disclosed her plans from the outset, we could have worked together to develop a better timeline.

Transparency is always key when working with a recruiter. We want to help candidates find the next best step in their careers and are only able to do so having full knowledge and disclosure of pertinent details regarding your career and personal life.

Do you have questions or concerns about talking with a recruiter? Leave a comment below.


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