Which Type Of Recruiter Gets The Job Done? A Transactional Or Trusted Advisor Recruiter

Your recruiter should be like a trusted advisor, not a solely transactional recruiter.

Recently I had the pleasure to be a guest on the Resilient Recruiter, a worldwide podcast for the recruiting industry.  In my episode I stressed the two most important areas that both the candidate and hiring manager want to feel good about.  When a recruiter works with a hiring manager it can be in either one of two ways: a transactional relationship or that of a trusted advisor.  When the candidate works with a recruiter, they should feel the same way. Not only is this like a trusted advisor, but they “get” me.

The Transactional Recruiter Vs. The Trusted Advisor Recruiter

Let’s discuss the importance of both candidate and hiring manager believing that the recruiter is their trusted advisor. What does that really mean?  In a nutshell, the difference between a transactional recruiter and a recruiter that acts as a trusted advisor is the word trust.  A transactional recruiter only cares about one thing: get the candidate hired as fast as possible and move onto their next transaction (whether with this client or another one).  A candidate and a hiring manager can typically tell what the recruiter’s motivation is.  A hiring manager that is working with a trusted advisor type of recruiter knows that the recruiter will (and does) watch out for both candidate and the manager’s best interests.  The recruiter must only be concerned with their interests to make a match.  Also, the timing of the match must be looked at carefully, since there are various concerns (which are discussed in previous blogs) that must be addressed by both parties.  If the recruiter is putting their self-interest above either the candidate or the manager, the deal is not going to either happen or worse. What could be worse? The deal happens, but it will not work out, and everyone loses.

The Magic Of Trust Creates A Win-Win Situation 

By being that type of recruiter that acts as a trusted advisor, you really get to know everyone’s true interests in the transaction.  With that knowledge, deals can be crafted that end as win/win situations.  Without that in-depth knowledge of everyone’s interest, it is extremely difficult to keep the deal moving forward to a logical conclusion where everyone gets what they want.  You, the candidate, get the right new firm, the hiring manager gets an awesome new employee, and even the recruiter will benefit monetarily.  However, if a recruiter is only representing the transaction, there will not be trust to share the crucial information that will make a deal happen.  Also, that trust does not happen overnight. It takes a while for it to be built, both at the candidate and the hiring manager level.  When it does, magic can and does happen.

The Trusted Advisor Recruiter That Has Your Best Interest

I also addressed the idea that a good recruiter must not only build that trust, but he/she must empathize with both parties.  Mark Whitby, the host of the podcast, asked me to explain that concept as he had never heard it before.  The way I summarized it is the following:  A good recruiter must put himself/herself in the shoes of the candidate at all times.  By being that candidate, you know what is best for them and can share that with them from a different perspective.  This usually plays itself out when negotiations are coming to a head.  I am fortunate that my clients will elicit my suggestions and feedback on what a fair compensation package looks like for each candidate that we work with.  If I can empathize with that candidate, I can make more appropriate recommendations based on their needs. 

Getting creative at the offer stage is when deals happen. The more I can know what is best for my candidate based on being that trusted advisor recruiter who can empathize, the better I can represent their interest to my hiring manager.  Because I have that trusted relationship with my hiring manager, I can rest assured they will take my recommendations under serious considerations.  Everyone wins at the end of the day.  If you do not feel you are working with a recruiter that has your best interest, find one who does. It will make a world of a difference to you.

Take a listen to the podcast for more insights. You can find it directly on the Resilient Recruiter site here, or listen to the episode via Apple podcast or Spotify. Whatever is easiest for you. Happy listening! 


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting”.

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.