There are few phrases that are as over-used as “less is more.” It ranks right up there with “thinking outside of the box.” In some instances, less might be more, but when working with a recruiter, less is definitely NOT more – at least when it comes to the information given to the recruiter.
The more information that a recruiter has, the more effective s/he can be. Think of a recruiter as a financial advisor or doctor – you can answer their questions with minimal information, but the more you keep them in the dark, the less effective they will be. Speaking honestly with a recruiter about who you are and what kind of “culture” will be a fit will help the recruiter weed out opportunities that simply don’t make sense.
When working with a recruiter, it’s best to expose the recruiter to as much information as possible. This is true for candidates who are using a recruiter to find a job and firms/in-house legal departments who are using a recruiter to find an attorney. Too often candidates shield blemishes on their resume from a recruiter and answer questions about those problems inaccurately or incompletely. For example, if you aren’t interested in working at a firm that expects high billable hours, be up-front with the recruiter so you aren’t wasting time or effort on positions that are a poor fit. On the client side, sometimes firms aren’t honest with the recruiter (or themselves) when they describe the type of work environment they offer. Not every firm is excellent at cross-marketing their practices, but nearly every firm markets themselves as having excellent ability to build someone’s practice. An honest self-evaluation of the firm prior to talking to a recruiter will help them find candidates who will be the best fit and stay after being placed.