Working with a Recruiter

Updated September 29, 2022 · 5 Min Read

What does a job recruiter do, and should you work with one? Discover the benefits of connecting with an agent to help you land your next accounting role. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Woman and man smiling and shaking hands Credit: FG Trade / E+ / Getty Images

Recruiters search for individuals to fill specific jobs. They locate qualified candidates, screen them for interviews, inform them about the position, and ultimately present them to the hiring manager of a given company. Some recruiters fill select, high-level roles, but others seek candidates for positions at all levels. Working with a recruiter can lead to exciting opportunities in the accounting field. In fact, many accounting jobs are not publicly advertised since many employers rely solely on recruiters to fill them.

Some recruiters work for recruiting agencies, and others serve in a single company's human resources department. Depending on their role, a recruiter may cast a broad search to fill a post or they may look exclusively within a company's current employee pool. In all cases, recruiters are working for employers, not job seekers. That means that recruiters typically receive payment from employers, not job seekers. It also means a recruiter is not responsible for finding a job for an employee. Recruiters do not make the final hiring decision, and they rarely control the process. A recruiter can, however, connect job seekers with accounting positions, prepare candidates for an interview, keep everyone informed about the process, and help with contract negotiations.


Finding Accounting Recruiters

Finding and choosing an accounting recruiter can be an important step toward securing the next job in your career. Often, recruiters reach out to you after finding your profile on a site like LinkedIn or Indeed. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, well written, and complete. Secure endorsements, publish articles, and interact with others on the platform to bolster your profile. Exercise caution if a recruiter names a price or asks you to pay for access to a directory. Most of the time, the agency looking for a new employee pays the recruiter, and the job searcher does not.

You don't have to wait for a recruiter to find you, however. Instead, you can search for accounting recruiters online. Perhaps the best approach is to ask others in the accounting field to recommend recruiters in your area of interest. See if other job seekers have reviewed potential recruiters on Indeed, Glassdoor, or Yelp.

Professional associations can be another great place to meet recruiters. Attend local or regional events, participate in internet forums, and publish in the organizations' periodicals when you can. Recruiters take note of those activities, and are more likely to contact you if they associate your name with thought leadership in accounting. As you think about working with a recruiter, consider their placement record, how long they have been recruiting, and what connections they have in accounting. Also make sure you only contact them by their preferred method, be that phone call, email, or social media.

Initial Interview with an Accounting Recruiter

Recruiters screen and interview potential job candidates to determine if they are a good fit for an accounting position. Working with a recruiter usually begins with a phone screening. The recruiter shares basic information about the job and learns more about you as a candidate. If the phone screening goes well, the recruiter will likely schedule an in-person interview with you. During that interview, keep in mind that the recruiter is on your side, so share openly what kind of job you are looking for. If you want to move into management, say so. If you're looking to work with a mentor, let the recruiter know that. Give a brief overview of your short- and long-term career goals so the recruiter will know if the job is a good match for you.

Sometimes, recruiters know of better-fit positions that are coming down the pipeline later. Of course, you'll also need to share your expectations about salary and benefits. Do not give the impression that you are desperate, give information about your financial situation, lowball your minimum salary, or criticize the hiring managers. Most importantly, determine if you and the recruiter share the same approach to the job search.

The Job Interviewing Process

Depending on the nature of their contracts, recruiters can play different roles in your interviewing process. Some recruiters complete an initial telephone screening with you and other prospective candidates to determine who meets the job's criteria, and then pass along what they learned to a hiring manager. Others work with candidates throughout the job search process from initial contact through salary negotiations. Since many recruiters know what questions are likely to come up during the interview, they can even help you prepare and practice answers.

In fact, recruiters are generally involved in each stage of the interview process. For instance, a recruiter may select participants and organize a panel interview. He or she could design questions for the interviewers or even participate as a panelist. Once interviews are complete, a recruiter may compile notes and data on all the candidates, contact references, and make recommendations to the hiring managers. As the job seeker, you must follow up with the recruiter through a timely email or phone call. And don't forget to send a thank-you card.


Advantages of Working with a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter can give you a leg up as a job seeker. You do not have to pay a recruiter yourself. He or she typically receives a commission based on your first year's salary, paid by the company. This approach provides recruiters with an incentive to place you in the highest-paying position possible and to serve as a strong voice on your behalf during salary negotiations. Since recruiters want to keep doing business with their clients, they will work hard to find a good fit for both the company and the job seeker. A recruiter benefits when a match works well.

Recruiters also help job seekers save time. They can prepare you for the interviews, explain the job, and give you background information about the company. Recruiters often know the hiring company inside and out, having been thoroughly briefed when they accepted the opportunity to recruit. Usually, recruiters spend considerable time reviewing candidates' resumes so they can base their recommendations on facts. Additionally, recruiters maintain many helpful connections within the accounting field and can help you reach out for other opportunities during your career, should the need arise.

Potential Disadvantages of Working with a Recruiter

Recruiters can be a big help as you search for a job, but sometimes finding a job on your own can be an even better strategy. After all, a recruiter only gets paid when you do. Mostly, this works in your favor since recruiters have a reason to place you in the highest-paying job you can land. However, as long as you secure a job, any job, the recruiter can earn his or her commission and move on. This approach can create an incentive for the recruiter to push you into taking a low-paying job or one that isn't a great fit just to close the deal quickly.

Remember that a recruiter does not work for you. Instead, he or she receives a percentage of your first year's salary from the company you contract with. Therefore, the recruiter's first priority does not lie with the job seeker but with the employer. Recruiters sometimes even know unsavory truths about a prospective employer but are contractually forbidden to share them with applicants. Finally, recruiters may not always understand the technical nature of jobs in the accounting field, which can make it challenging for them to understand the positions you are best qualified to fill.


  • Don't Take a Shotgun Approach: Rather than sending your resume to every agency, do your research and send it to those that specialize in accounting. This gives you a better chance to land the right interviews.
  • Dress Professionally: Dress formally when meeting with a recruiter, even if you work in a casual setting. Recruiters like to know that you will represent them well.
  • Send Thank-You Notes: Remember, a recruiter meets at least 20 new candidates per month. A timely, well-written thank-you note can help you stand out.
  • Develop a Rapport: Common courtesy goes a long way. Keep your recruiter updated, respect their time, and inform them of any changes in your job search.

Frequently Asked Questions About Recruiters

How Many Times Do You Meet with a Recruiter, on Average?

After a phone screening or in-person interview, you may not meet with your recruiter again. You can follow up with an email, but it's important to realize that each recruiter moves at a different pace.

What Kind of Qualifications Do Recruiters Typically Have?

Recruiters usually hold at least a bachelor's degree in psychology or human resources. They also typically have experience in talent direction, training, and customer service.

Can You Work with Multiple Recruiters at the Same Time?

Yes! Casting a wide net is a smart strategy, and working with multiple recruiters is completely acceptable. Only a few high-powered recruiters request exclusive representation.

What Are the Signs of a Good Recruiter?

A great recruiter comes highly recommended by previous clients, gets to know you personally, and cares about your career development. He or she communicates clearly throughout the job search and hiring processes.

What Are the Signs of a Substandard Recruiter?

Watch out for recruiters who distribute your resume without telling you, don't spend time getting to know you, or suggest that you untruthfully embellish your work history or qualifications.

Recommended Reading

Search top-tier programs curated by your interests.

Let us know what type of degree you're looking into, and we'll find a list of the best programs to get you there.