Working with recruiters can be a great way to give your job search a boost, but there are a few important points to consider when seeking out the help of a recruiting firm. All headhunters are not created equal, so you will need to research the one(s) that can best help you in your job search. Don’t rest on your laurels just because you have someone working on your behalf – it will still be up to you to stay motivated and be on the lookout for employment opportunities. Make sure that you give your recruiter as much information as possible so that they will have a clear picture of the jobs you want, and the ones you don’t. Follow up with your recruiter on a regular basis to keep them informed of any interviews you’ve had or positions that you might be interested in. Finally, if you work with more than one recruiter you will maximize your opportunities.
- Research Recruiters: Most recruiters specialize in certain industries, so it is important to do a little research to identify the firms that will be able to help you most. I doubt that you would ask a brain surgeon to fix your car, so why seek help from a firm that specializes in healthcare if you are looking for jobs in accounting? By doing a little extra research about the firm, you will eliminate the risk of wasting your time with a recruiter that can’t actually help you secure a new position in your chosen field.
- Connect with Recruiters: Once you have found a recruiter that knows your industry (or multiple firms, as you will see in #7), talk to them about your aspirations and ask them questions about the ways that they can help you. Not only will this get some of the preliminary information out of the way, it will also give you a better idea of the people you will be working with and their level of experience, ability, and dedication.
- Attract Internal Recruiters: You can also utilize social media to draw recruiters to you. Contract recruiters and hiring agents from specific companies both routinely use career websites such as LinkedIn to source qualified candidates, so update your profile and get involved in online groups to expand your list of contacts. They also scour niche job boards, so upload the most recent version of your resume to industry-specific sites to increase your chances of being found. Be sure to continually monitor your online presence to confirm that it stays in line with the achievements and career highlights you would like recruiters and potential employers to see. Not a tech savvy person? Meet recruiters the old fashioned way by attending career fairs, association meetings, alumni association events, open houses, and other gatherings to get your name out there and connect with professionals that can help in your job search by referring you to an in-house recruiter.
- Networking: Just because you have a recruiter searching job leads for you doesn’t mean that your work is done. Don’t forget that, although recruiters don’t receive payment until you have been placed in a position, their primary clients are employers not job seekers. In addition to working with the recruiting firm, you need to continue networking and looking for opportunities on your own to ensure a successful job search. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking.
- Information is Power (Honesty is the Best Policy): Just as it is important to get a lot of information about your recruiter before signing up with them, it’s just as vital to give them as much information as possible to help in your job search. Be open and honest with your recruiter about your goals, qualifications, accomplishments, strengths, AND weaknesses. If they don’t know that you would prefer to work for a small company rather than a huge multinational corporation, then they won’t know the most effective way to find open positions for you.
- Keep in Touch: Follow up with your recruiter on a regular basis and let them know how your job search is going. By staying in contact you can gain valuable insight into your performance during interviews and possibly get advice on ways to improve your interviewing skills. Staying in touch is completely up to you. As mentioned above, recruiters work for employers, not job seekers, so it’s not their primary responsibility to follow up with candidates on a regular basis. With this in mind, make sure that you don’t follow up too much and become a pest. Follow up once or twice a week – any more than that and you can seem desperate, which is never good for a job seeker. When you speak to your recruiter make sure to keep the conversation professional and let them know about the interviews they’ve set up and the job leads they have uncovered for you. It’s just as important to let them know the positions that you are not interested in as it is for them to be informed about jobs you want.
- Maximize your Options by Working with Multiple Recruiters: Enlist 2–3 recruiting firms at most to assist you in your job search. Otherwise you could have more than one recruiter sending your information to the same employer. This also goes back to the point mentioned earlier – keep your recruiters up to date about the places you have applied to on your own (or other recruiters have forwarded your information to) so that you don’t have multiple applications for the same position.
Utilizing the extensive networks of professional recruiting firms can help job seekers get back to work a lot sooner, but signing up with a recruiter is never a guarantee of employment. The job search process takes time and effort and there is no magic button to create jobs for everyone that wants them. By combining the work of 2–3 recruiting firms in addition to your own personal search, you will significantly increase your chances of being hired, but at the end of the day recruiters can only supply you with job leads. The rest is up to you.
Robert Half International, Inc. – 5 Secrets to Working With a Recruiter
Andrea Santiago – Dos and Don’ts for Working With a Professional Recruiter
Endeavor Staffing – 7 Keys to Working With Recruiters
Donna Fuscaldo – How to Network Online to Attract Recruiters