How To Find a Good Recruiter

Finding a recruiter that best matches your personality, professional needs, and profile can be difficult under the best of circumstances. The best time to find one is while you are employed. Locating one at this time allows you to be more particular. Building a relationship with your recruiter will take time and effort so it’s important to find the right person from the beginning. You might need to contact several recruiters before you find a good match. It is important to be discreet at this point. You don’t want the word to get out that you are “looking” or to be contacted by recruiters on the prowl for new clients.

It’s never too early to cultivate a recruiter relationship. Keep in mind that this process can be challenging when you are a new professional, and do not have a career track record. The younger/less experienced you are, the harder it will be to have a recruiter work for you.

How To Find a Good Recruiter

Note: Recruiters, with the exception of “retained” search professionals, make a percentage of the offered salary. The higher the salary, the more money they make. Consequently, it pays them to place the “High Ticket” people first.

Here are six tips to get you started:

1) Find a recruiter BEFORE you need one.

Your initial contact should serve to the recruiter get to know you and you know them. Make sure that you both understand that this is a preliminary meeting so you won’t be bombarded with unwanted calls or jobs until you are actually seeking a position. If the ideal position comes along, make it clear that that it would be appropriate to contact you, but that you will notify them when you are actually looking to make a change. If the recruiter calls you constantly with “positions” that are not suitable, you need to move on. In your consultation with your recruiter you should share your talents, career plans and goals. Cover conditions such as being unable to relocate.

TIP: Don’t conduct these discussions at your present place of employment. Find a time and place where you can concentrate and give the recruiter your undivided attention. Never look for a new job on your employer’s time.

TIP: Some companies have “alert” notices installed in the computer network. If you access job board or job related sites they will know it.

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2) Find a recruiter that specializes in your field or industry.

Today, recruiters are very specialized. You want one that knows your business, preferably one that has some longevity in the field. If you are active in your industry eventually you will either meet a recruiter or one will contact you. Be sure and do your homework. Check out your recruiter’s credentials. Ask colleagues if they have heard of this person (careful and discreet. You don’t want the word to get out that you are looking). When you check out your recruiter’s references, ask how long it took to be placed and what the recruiter relationship was like. Ask the recruiter to provide you with articles and information they have written or prepared. Check out the recruiter’s website. Ask for references of people they have placed.

Note: Be wary of recruiters just starting. As a temporary measure, many unemployed people hang up a recruiter shingle when they themselves become unemployed.
TIP: Here are a couple of websites to get you started http://www.findarecruiter.com or [http://www.findrecruiter.com].

3) As you uncover potential “matches” send out a cover letter of introduction.

Keep your cover letter simple and to the point. Your cover letter should make the recruiter want to know more about you. Explain why they should invest time in getting to know you better. Ask to set up a telephone appointment. It’s up to you to sell the recruiter your skill set. You might include facts in your letter that are specific to your situation and may not be included in your resume.

4) Find a recruiter that you feel comfortable with and you trust.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Your recruiter must be able to work in absolute confidentiality. You MUST like working with and feel comfortable with your recruiter. If there is a “personality” conflict, move on to someone else. You are establishing a bond with your recruiter and you want them to work for you, not just submit your resume to any job opening.

Be careful about sending your resume out to recruiters while you are still employed. Your goal is to build a relationship. Be cautious. Many recruiters work on a numbers theory. If they send out so many candidate resumes eventually
one will be qualified. Most recruiters are true professionals with very high ethics. They will gladly keep you in mind for new positions that are “right up your alley” as they are uncovered. Make sure you cover your resume in depth with your recruiter. They may opt to have you rewrite it with a professional service. You may need several different versions of your resume.

TIP: Under no circumstances should a recruiter “enhance” your qualifications to fit an opening or a position they are trying to fill.

5) Cover current salary information and expectations. Make sure you set clear and concise parameters. You don’t want to waste time going on interviews that are not in line with your expectations. Remember to discuss that you expect your new job to pay more than your old one. It’s perfectly acceptable to have your recruiter seek out a better job or a promotion rather than a lateral move.

6) Find out what is the most acceptable way for the recruiter to receive your resume. They are working for you so you need to provide them your essential details in the shortest and easiest possible method. The more complicated you make it for them to receive your information the less enthusiastic they will be to read your material.

TIP: This is especially true to day were it’s a recruiters market. There are many more qualified candidates than there are recruiters to place them.

TIP: Remember to follow up once you have sent your credentials. Investigate if the transmission was clear, are there any questions, etc.

Some Cautions About Using Recruiter:

1) Recruiters will not help you change your career. They operate in the world that is familiar to them.

2) Recruiters will not accept you as a client if you are not in their area of specialization. It’s nothing personal.

3) Recruiters may not tell you it’s not a fit. Some just won’t ever call. If that’s the case, find another recruiter.

4) Executive recruiters recruit! Time is money. They are not there to entertain or listen to your life story. Don’t abuse the relationship by monopolize a recruiters time.

5) Recruiters are NOT your new best fiend. They will make money by placing you. Keep this in mind as you build your relationship.
A solid relationship with a good recruiter can be a boon to your career. It used to be considered a negative career factor if you changed jobs too frequently. Now, it’s the opposite. If you haven’t changed jobs people want to know why. (They think you are unmotivated.) Your recruiter can be one of your career barometers letting you know when the market is ripe for a career change and when its not.

TIP: A good rule of thumb is to stay three years in the same position. After that, it’s time for a promotion or a new assignment. Your recruiter should be on top of industry trends too.

Caution: Don’t just make a move because three years is up. Manage your career move as part of a solid personal business plan. When the market is soft, as it is right now, consider long and hard any potential career changes. Not just the short term/immediate gain but evaluate how this move will position you for future career growth.

No matter how good the fit, time is money. The recruiter will always push those people that are marketable and profitable. Keep your skill set current and your name in the limelight. This will make you more valuable and worth the recruiter’s time.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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