What Recruiters Are Really Looking For

What Recruiters Are Really Looking For

In today’s complicated world of job searching, Recruiters can be the key holders to a candidate’s success. You could be the most qualified individual for a particular position, but if the Recruiter or hiring team feels differently—it doesn’t matter how strong of a match you are. So how do you know what Recruiters are looking for?

The answer is complicated. It is probably different for every open position and every hiring organization, but there are a few things you will always want to keep in mind when working with Recruiters.

  • Culture Fit: Regardless if you’re working with an Agency Recruiter (i.e. head hunter, staffing agency, etc.) or a Corporate Recruiter, it’s important to keep in mind that they directly or indirectly represent the hiring company. Therefore, you want to put your best foot forward from the first conversation to the last. Yes, they’re looking for the strongest fit, but also they want someone who is going to be successful working for the company and functioning on the team. You will want to communicate your ability to do the job successfully, but also make sure you are conveying your ability to collaborate, communicate, and serve as a reliable team member.


  • Interest & Passion: One of the biggest turn-offs for a Recruiter is when the candidate doesn’t seem fully committed to a particular job or company. Obviously, as a job seeker, you’re likely pursuing multiple opportunities, but every company wants to feel like the open job they have is the only one on your radar. Do lots of research on the company and be sure to show excitement for this great opportunity!


  • Strong Resume: An Agency Recruiter will want to present a strong resume to their client, and a Corporate Recruiter will only want a strong resume to present to the hiring manager. It’s not just the content that should be strong but organization, grammar, spelling, and the look and feel. Be sure to have your resume reviewed before applying to a job, and understand that different industries require different resume or CV styles. Here’s what one Recruiter had to say about what she looks for in a resume at first glance.


  • Salary: This is an obvious one. Certainly, they want to find the best candidate possible, but the salary expectations of the candidate have to match that of the company. The more flexible you are as a job seeker, the better, but you want to make sure you earn a salary that you deserve. The best way to approach this in an initial conversation is to do your research on salaries for that particular occupation, considering industry and location.


  • Technical Abilities: Of course, this goes without saying, but Recruiters will be looking to make sure you meet the requirements of a particular position. However, not all the requirements will always be listed in the job description. They may be looking for candidates that have experience with certain types of companies, or a degree from a particular type of college or university. You can’t always know what those other expectations are, that’s why it is important that you really sell yourself on the known expectations. Get comfortable and familiar with the requirements listed on the job description and make sure you can address all of them in a conversation with a Recruiter. In the meantime, you might also take some informational interviews with other professionals in the industry or others who work at the company you’ve applied to, so that you can get inside information as to what the qualities are that make someone in that profession successful. We recommend taking informational interviews with alumni if possible. Have you heard of Pioneer Connect? It is a great tool to get connected with alumni! You will want to sign up today to get access to DU alumni all over the world who can help you!

As stated above, the expectations of a Recruiter will likely differ by position, company, and industry so it’s important to prepare as best you can and worry only about what you can control. You are more likely to be successful by being as authentic as you can be.

By Andrew Gupton
Andrew Gupton Career Advisor