When you’re feeling desperate for a new job, a recruiter can seem like a demigod, holding your future in his or her hands.
But don’t let desperation lead you to become an annoyance—or allow a recruiter to annoy you. Working with a recruiter is two-way street. These strategies can help you have a successful relationship with results that both of you can appreciate: a new job.
All recruiters are not created equal. And they’re not always measured by the number of openings they’ve posted. Some of the best have a huge network and don’t need to list many positions. Instead, ask your connections with whom they’ve worked, or look at industry websites and events to see who’s active in your career field.
Seek out a good match. When you have a list, make a call to introduce yourself. Spend a bit of time getting to know several recruiters before deciding with whom to work. You may realize you’d rather work with a new recruiter who has more time for you, or you may want to choose a pro who doesn’t do much handholding but gets you out there quickly. Ask them about current openings in your field or positions they’ve filled in the past six months; if the answer is none, you may want to keep moving. Your time is just as valuable as the recruiter’s.
Establish a working relationship. Must the recruiter keep your information confidential? Be sure that’s clear. Discuss how often you expect to hear from the recruiter—you don’t want to be a nag, but you don’t want to be forgotten. Create expectations at the outset.
Help them help you. When you’re working with a recruiter, keep in mind things that will help them demonstrate your worth to an employer. They get paid on commission, so they appreciate details that help them seal the deal; if you have a new skill, receive an award, etc., be sure to let them know. And if they call you, be available. If you’re difficult to track down, a recruiter will move on to the next person on the list.
Help them help others. Even if you’re not currently interested in working with a recruiter, try to serve as a helpful resource when one calls. If they can see that you’re professional, responsive, respected and well-connected, they could in turn be a great resource for you, should you need it one day.
Working with a recruiter should be a partnership based on mutual consideration and a shared goal: to get you hired into a great role. They’re not at your service, nor are you at theirs. A little time on the front end can lead to a successful professional relationship.
Cropped from an image by tirezoo.com on flickr