The recruiter-candidate relationship. It's complicated. | Ladders

As a candidate, you've got one thing you can't control stacked against you.

The recruiter-candidate relationship. It’s complicated.

As a candidate, you’ve got one thing you can’t control stacked against you. Don’t blow the things you can control.

Chad Oakley, president and chief operating officer of one of the largest recruiting firms in the country, says, “The biggest reason job seekers get the cold shoulder from a recruiter is timing.”

Even if you do everything right as a candidate and you’re working with an excellent recruiter, the company will still have a preconceived idea of the right person for the job – and it might be somebody with a slightly different background.

“They’re looking for an exact match,” Oakley said. “I have to send out an email to half the people I connect with that says ‘thank you so much (but) there’s nothing that matches the criteria.’ ”

With odds stacked this high against them, candidates better not do anything to ruin their chances even further, Oakley says.

He offers up four tips to job seekers who are working with recruiters to help them avoid the most common pitfalls in the complicated recruiter-candidate relationship.

Have a well-organized resume.

When you’re in a recruiting position, you don’t have a lot of time to figure it out. The resume is basically the ad that gets them interested in buying into you. If you blow this opportunity, you’re never going to get the opportunity to sell yourself in an interview.

Make yourself very accommodating.

Being aloof doesn’t win you any points with a recruiter, either. It’s better to be eager and responsive. Recruiters are very busy people and they work with more than one candidate at a time. They don’t have time to waste on someone who doesn’t seem that interested.

Be honest.

Transparency is key to the partnership and one that often gets ignored – to the detriment of both the candidate and the recruiter – as the job seeker does their best to “spin” the truth to look better in the eyes of a potential employer. If you’ve recently experienced a layoff, tell them. Recruiters are really savvy with this type of thing because it’s all they do. If they find out about it later, it’s an instant credibility killer. Other areas where candidates can get into trouble for stretching the truth is salary.

Do what you say you’re going to do.

It might sound obvious, but job seekers often forget to follow up with everything they’ve promised the recruiter. Such incompetence is unacceptable because it shows what kind of employee you’d be. If you say you’ll have something by 5 p.m., make sure you have it by 5 p.m.

In your job search, a recruiter might be the strongest ally you have. Following these tips could pay huge dividends as the two of you work together for that common goal.