Hays UK blog


Four things to tell your recruiter

By Roddy Adair, Director, Hays Personal & Executive Assistants

Having a long lasting and good relationship with your recruiter is important for you long term career. Not only can a recruiter help you with the job search itself, but they will also help you understanding what roles are right for you, speak to companies and hiring managers on your behalf and give you the advice you need. However, for your recruiter to be the best possible help for you, you need to provide them with all the information you need. So what does your recruiter need to know about you?

1. Why are you looking for a new job?

Your reasons for wanting to leave a role could be anything; the culture, the lack of progression opportunities, your boss’s management style, the company size or aspects of the role itself. Whatever it is, you should tell your recruiter in a positive and professional way. For example, rather than saying “I can’t stand my boss. They hover over me every second of the day and watch my every move”, you could say “I prefer to be given more autonomy in my role, and be trusted to get on with the task in hand.” Your recruiter will keep this information confidential, using it only to eliminate unsuitable roles that they may have otherwise offered to you.

2. What jobs are you looking for?

Now, onto what you do want from your next opportunity. What you do day to day will have a large impacts on your personal and professional wellbeing. So what would your ideal job description look like? You should consider the below:

Your key responsibilities

Write down the key responsibilities of your ideal role, based upon what you enjoy about your current role as well as in previous jobs. You should also let the recruiter know how much you want to progress within your perfect role, and how this fits with your wider career goals.

Your strengths and weaknesses

Next, be clear on what your unique selling points are, identifying the hard and soft skills which suit your hypothetical responsibilities, and the areas in which you may need to upskill. Your recruiter can advise you on how to bridge any skills gaps, and may know of opportunities that can support you in doing this.

3. Where do you want to work?

Everybody’s definition of a great place to work is different, and yours will be unique. However, it’s advisable to consider the below when building your criteria for the ideal work environment:

Company size and scale

Perhaps you want to stay within a large global organisation where you communicate with businesses overseas, gradually working your way up the long corporate ladder. Maybe you like the idea of working for a start-up or an SME, where you will have a lot of responsibility and exposure to influential stakeholders almost straight away. You just have to figure out which is right for you.


Which industries have you previously enjoyed working in, or which could tie in with your passions, hobbies and interests? You don’t have to pigeonhole yourself based on your previous industry experience – plenty of hiring managers will welcome industry outsiders.

Company culture

Which type of environment is your personality suited to? There’s no right or wrong answer here. If you are naturally talkative and outgoing, then explain that you need to be in a sociable lively workplace. If you are more introverted and prefer to keep yourself to yourself, that’s also fine – if this is the case, you may suit a quieter, more focused office environment. The key is to be true to yourself, as poor cultural fit is one of the main reasons new hires don’t work out.


This can be things like rewards, benefits, flexible working policies, location/minimum commuting times and salary. Have these clear in your mind and ready to relay during your job search. The great thing about using a recruiter is that they will have this information to hand, and can discuss on your behalf when negotiating a job offer.

Maybe you already have some companies in mind which you like the sound of working for? If not, do some research based on the above criteria, and take this list to your recruiter. They may be able to approach these companies speculatively and keep an eye out for suitable roles.

4. What do you need and what do you want?

Now that you have the above elements clear in your mind, separate the ‘essentials’ from the ‘nice-to-haves’. Be realistic, you might struggle to find a role that tick every box, but certain factors will be key to your workplace wellbeing and career goals. Highlight the parts you could compromise on, so that your recruiter knows not to pass you up for a promising opportunity, just because it wasn’t 100 percent perfect.

Imagine jumping into a taxi and saying “take me anywhere please.” You’ll be taken for a ride and you may not like where you end up. Similarly, although your recruiter will we appreciate flexibility, if you don’t guide your recruiter then we can’t get you to the right destination.

Be honest, specific, and constructive. From the very first meeting onwards, ensure that you keep communication with your recruiter fluid and regular, updating them on your key criteria for the perfect opportunity. This is essential to building a relationship; ensuring that you are only put forward for the most suitable roles, not just now, but during every step of your career journey.

For more information or to discuss your employment needs, please contact your local consultant.

About this author

Roddy joined Hays in 1999 as a Recruitment Consultant. In 2012 he took over operational responsibility for Hays in Scotland, managing dedicated teams providing expert temporary and permanent recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions. From 2017, he has been the lead for Hays Personal & Executive Assistants business across the UK, providing strategic leadership to over 200 consultants.


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