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Working with a Recruiter During Your Job Search – Tip #3

This is the third in a four-week series on leveraging third-party recruiters (headhunters) to your full advantage during your next job search.

To check out weeks 1-4, click here.

Ever thought about using a third-party recruiter – otherwise known as a headhunter – for your job search? Whether you’re a new grad, a seasoned veteran seeking a change (or something in between) a good recruiter can greatly increase your odds of landing your dream job offer. Over the next four weeks, I am going to discuss a few ways that you can engage with and use headhunters (and other recruiters) to your full advantage during your next job search. 


Tip #3 – Talk About Money Early and Often



Did your parents teach you that it’s rude to talk about money? Mine did too. I realize it’s never easy to talk with a stranger about how much money you would like to make, especially if you’re unsure of how to value your skillset. However, it is imperative that you discuss in real terms with your recruiter how much money you need to make when you are on the job hunt. Why is this important, you might ask? Well, if your pay requirements far exceed the employer’s anticipated budget, your recruiter will let you know, saving everyone time and frustration in the process. Likewise, if you are UNDERVALUING your skillset, a good recruiter will let you know that as well and encourage you to ask for more.

When discussing compensation with your recruiter, don’t underreport your salary expectations to get through an initial interview, assuming that a company will pay you above their salary bracket once they get to know you and see your value. Some employers may be willing to make that investment, but many set a particular budget for compensation in line with their business plan and won’t have that flexibility. For that reason, it’s important, to be honest about your earnings expectations – It’s never a good idea to tell your recruiter you’ll accept $60,000 per year when you really need $80,000. At the end of the day, if the recruiter and employer do not know what your TRUE salary expectations are, you are far more likely to be disappointed by a low offer. But what if you don’t know how much you should be asking for?



When deciding how much to ask for, research the position responsibilities, the company, its location, and the surrounding communities. It’s important that you keep the cost of living in mind. Make sure you are asking for enough if you are moving from a location with a relatively low cost of living to a new location with a higher cost of living. Likewise, don’t expect a New York City salary for a position in rural Kansas. If you’re not sure how to conduct this research, there are a number of websites that can help you estimate average salaries for your job, and provide a cost of living comparison (salary.com and bestplaces.net are good places to start).



Finally, make sure to reaffirm your expectations each and every time you speak with your recruiter. If your recruiter remembers your expectations, then they will have all the information they need to advocate for you when it comes time to draft an offer for your review. If, during the interview process, your salary expectations change – either because of a change in your life or a shift in the responsibilities that a particular position requires – make sure your recruiter knows this immediately! Waiting until offer negotiations to revise your salary expectations can cause an offer to fall short or even be withdrawn. This means you will have wasted your own precious time interviewing for a role that was never going to be a fit for you financially.



In short, do your homework and communicate clearly with your recruiter, and you’ll be sure to secure an offer that pleases you!


For other tips on resume writing and formatting, check out our website feature on how to create a killer resume. It’s specific to clinical laboratory professionals, but many of the tips can apply to any industry.

Lighthouse Lab Services offers assistance to the clinical lab industry via recruitingconsulting, and lab director services. Please, feel free to reach out to us if your lab needs any help.

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