iContract insider: The recruiter’s view

21st September 2016

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What’s it like to be a recruiter? iContract sat down with Will Ullyott, a technology recruiter at Burns Sheehan, to learn how recruiters work and find out how a candidate can really stand out.  

Can you describe the typical recruiter’s day?

As with any job, no day is the same in the recruiter world. With each day comes a different company requirement and meetings with new candidates. 

I’m usually in the office by 8am, and will usually have a pre-arranged call with a candidate who can only speak outside of office hours. We chat before they go to work. I will then have a quick check through relevant job boards to see if anyone in my area has changed their situation or updated their details overnight. 

The rest of the day involves a lot of meetings – internal or external. I stay in the office until 7.30 or 8pm so that I can also get hold of candidates in the evenings. If I go to the gym at lunchtime, it allows me to be a bit more flexible on my hours in the office. Other recruiters might speak to candidates at lunch-time, since that’s a good time for job-seekers who currently work business hours to duck out of the office. 

In general, as recruiters, it’s our job to be available. If you’re trying to get hold of a recruiter, don’t be afraid to call before or after the traditional 9-5.

What should contractors consider before registering with recruiters?

It’s relatively obvious to say but the first step is to find a recruiter who specialises in your field of expertise and works geographically in your area. Expect that you might have to contact and meet several until you find a recruiter you both get along with and can trust with access to relevant roles for you.

In the age of technology, some say it’s no longer necessary to meet with recruiters, but for me it truly still is the best way to start out. So whilst you might research the recruiters online, do build some time into your job hunting schedule to sit down with recruiters and get to know one another.

How can contractors stay front-of-mind with recruiters?

Contract roles move so quickly ­­– a requirement comes through in morning and it can be filled in the afternoon. Most specialist recruiters will have an idea of the best available contractors in their area at any given point, it’s still worth checking in to make sure they know you are open to new opportunities. 

By far the best way to rise to the top of the list is to build a rapport with your recruiter. If I like someone, I will go out of my way to help where possible.

What advice would you impart to candidates for interviews with recruiters?

Just as an interview is an opportunity to share your skills and experience, it’s also the place to ask questions about the company that is hiring. 

Your recruiter should be able to provide a lot of useful insight about their client, at the end of the day, an interview is just someone’s opinion and if the recruiter knows the interviewer on a personal level, they should be able to give you information to perform your best. The most successful placements will match a candidate’s personality with a work environment that suits. Make sure you ask about the employees and management in the company, find out about the people who will be in the next interview, and if there are any specific traits common to candidates who have been successfully hired in the past.

What are the key characteristics of a good candidate that recruiters will come back to time and again?

Trust – a contractor is in many ways a representation of that particular agency and reputation is hugely important in almost any industry. If a recruiter finds a contractor they can rely on to turn up to and perform well with clients, their reputation grows in a positive way. And then references! We can build a pretty robust understanding of a candidate when we meet them, but nothing beats talking to someone who has known and worked with them for weeks, months and years. Where possible, I always try to get a credible reference from someone I trust.


iContract goes live soon, creating a personal, interactive environment where recruiters can better filter candidates and contractors can access work opportunities. Be sure you pre-register here.