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4 things your recruiter needs to know about you 

Chris Dottie MBE, Managing Director, Hays Spain


I may be a little biased, but any successful person, whether they work in recruitment or not, will tell you that having a good, long term relationship with a recruiter can enhance your career success. Your recruiter is the person who can support you with your job search; identifying suitable roles, approaching companies on your behalf, and providing you with expert advice when you need it.

That is, provided that you give them all the information they need from the outset. A Hays recruiter can only match you to the perfect opportunities, both now and in the future, once they have a true understanding of what you want.

With this in mind, what does your recruiter need to know about you?

1. Why you are looking for a new opportunity

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, I would advise that you relay this information in a positive and professional way. For example, instead of saying “I can’t stand my boss. They hover over me every second of the day and watch my every move” instead, you could say “I prefer to be given more autonomy in my role, and be trusted to get on with the task in hand.”

The recruiter will keep this information confidential, using it only to eliminate unsuitable roles that they may have otherwise offered to you.

2. Your ideal job description

Now, onto what you do want from your next opportunity. What you do on a daily basis largely impacts upon your personal and professional wellbeing. So what would your ideal job description look like? I would advise that you factor in 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 you need 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. Your ideal company

Everybody’s definition of a great place to work will differ, and yours will be unique. However, I advise that you 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. As I explain in a previous blog, there are pros of working for companies of a different size and scale. 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. Hays’ Alex Shteingardt has already written a guide on moving into a new industry.

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 here, as poor cultural fit is one of the main reasons new hires don’t work out. Make sure you ask yourself which companies suit you.



I’m talking about 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. The "must haves" and the "nice to haves" 

Now that you have the above elements clear in your mind, separate the ‘essentials’ from the ‘nice-to-haves’. Be realistic, some roles won’t 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 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.


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A native of Liverpool, Chris joined Hays in 1996, working in the UK and Portugal before arriving in Spain in 2002. He is Managing Director for the Hays group in Spain, with offices located in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and Seville.

He has a degree in International Business and Modern Languages from Aston University, including a year’s study at l’École Superieur de Sciences Commerciales d’Angers and has since completed Executive Education courses at Ashridge Business School and IMD. He is a regular public commentator on the world of work and international trade.

For the past four years Chris has served as President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain and currently serves as a Non Executive Director on the Board of the British Chambers of Commerce. Chris was awarded an MBE for services to British business on the New Years Honours List in 2020.



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