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Choosing the right recruiter leads to job search success

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The phone rings and you answer. It's a recruiter. She's found your resume online and wants to talk to you about an opportunity that has just landed on her desk. You're on your way home from the dentist, but you listen. You really need a job. She describes the position and then tells you that if you have any interest in the role you have to act right now. You recognize her hard sell tactics, but you're hungry and so you bite.

Welcome to Recuiting, version 2012.1. Today's job market is filled with recruiters who don't get paid until they sell their client, usually a large consulting firm, on you as a candidate. To many, it is simply a numbers game. The more jobs they work and the resumes they present, the greater the liklihood that they will get a hire and get paid.

Most candidates play along. They've been conditioned to wait for the phone to ring, and so instead of seeking out the best recruiters, they simply work with the whomever happens to be on the other end of the line.

There's a better way. Instead of waiting for recruiters to call you, why not call them first? Most recruiting firms have access to the same jobs, so why not choose the one that best aligns with your career objectives and requirements? Here's how to do it:

  1. Send your resume to ten recruiting firms. Don't simply apply through their web site. Email your resume to them in Microsoft Word format. Reference a specific job you're interested in. Use the email message as your cover letter. Be sure to include a phone number and ask them to call you.
  2. Some will call you while others won't. Immediately eliminate the ones that don't call. If they're not interested enough to call you now, when you're money on the table, they will never call you. They aren't worth the trouble.
  3. Interview the ones who call you back. Ask them how they work with clients. It is appropriate for you to know the rate or range of pay for a position as well as the name of the client they are representing. Eliminate any recruiters who won't share this information with you.
  4. Ask additional questions relating to other matters that are important to you. Maybe you want to know how frequently they will stay in touch with you. If you ask straightforward questions and get unsatisfactory answers, move on.
  5. Ask friends, relatives and colleagues for personal referrals. Most people have had a bad experience with a recruiter. Most have also had a good experience. Contact the best recruiters and tell them that they were referred to you. Be sure to tell them the name of the referring party. Chances are that they will bend over backward to help you.

A good recruiter can be a valuable ally who tips the job search scale in your favor. As with most things in life, you'll get out of the relationship only as much as you put in. Go on the offensive, find yourself a great recruiter and let him or her help you achieve job search success.

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