If you’ve never worked with a recruiter, it can be intimidating. But if the job you seek is connected to a search firm, you want to know your stuff. Recruiters are typically hired by the company to find outstanding potential employees and narrow them down based on a profile from the company. The recruiter then hands over a best-of-the-best list to the client.

Generally speaking, there are two types of search firms: Retained and Contingency. Retained search firms are hired and paid by a company to identify and recruit employees with a specific skill set. A contingency firm does the same thing, but is paid only when a company hires a candidate it found. In both cases, there will never be a fee charged to the candidate. Any and all fees associated with the recruiting process are paid for by the client.

When working with a recruiter, there are a number of things you should always keep in mind:

Establish an Understanding about Communication

Communication is key to any business relationship, and the recruiting process is no different. Tell the recruiter when and how you prefer to stay in touch. Be honest and open about your career goals, relocation options, and salary requirements.

Respect the search

If you are indeed searching for a new position, be serious about it. Keep the lines of communication open by checking and responding to voice mail, email and text messages.

Pretend the recruiter is the employer

When you are dealing with the search firm, act no differently than you would if your dream company were calling. Remember, however, that in hiring a search firm, a company has basically outsourced the search. Harassing and/or threatening behavior will not get you that dream job, and it never a good strategy for the candidate to call the company directly.

Know the expectations and timeline

Each recruiter is different, and a candidate must find out how the process is going to work at the beginning. Be realistic about the timeline, and discuss these issues with the recruiter.