Using A Recruiter For Your Next Job Search.

While not exactly on the topic of resumes, I think that many will find it useful to know a couple of tips on how to effectively use a recruiter for your next job search.

  1. Recruiters can’t help everyone.  Recruiters have niches and specific clients.  Learn what those are and you can better understand if this recruiter is right for you.  If your recruiter doesn’t do temporary or contract placements, it’s futile to ask for those.  If your recruiter doesn’t work with personal injury or insurance defense firms, no amount of following up with him/her will help.
  2. Understand that recruiters using an executive search model are looking for the best candidates for any given position.  Recruiters in a law registry are looking for anyone.  Executive search-based recruiters get paid to find an exact match to the job description.  They also get paid to make judgment calls.  It’s okay to question a recruiter and point out where your experience lies on the experience spectrum, but even great recruiters can’t force a square peg in a round hole.
  3. Recruiters work best when exposed to the “real” you.  Be honest and forthright with your recruiter about your skills and what you like and don’t like about a firm/job.  Think of recruiters as a financial advisor or doctor – the more you keep them in the dark about who you are and what you really need, the less effective they will be. Exaggerating credentials or accomplishments wont’ get better results; it just skews the data used to find a good fit for you.
  4. Be responsive.  When you have engaged a recruiter and a recruiter calls or emails because they need information, they usually need it RIGHT NOW.  Make a point to call them back.  Your delay might reflect poorly on your candidacy.
  5. Think about what you need to accept a position BEFORE you see the offer letter.  Waiting to decide if you are willing to take a job until they offer it is a bad strategy.  Most recruiters will push you to know what you would need to accept a job long before you ever receive a job offer.  Do the mental gymnastics to determine what would make you accept a new job BEFORE you interview and use the interview process to see if the job meets your needs.  Keeping the recruiter informed as to your needs removes the need for unnecessary interviews.
  6. Recruiters are not resume-writing services.  Nor are they spellcheckers.  Do this work on your own.
  7. Guard your resume and who represents you.  Don’t work with a recruiter who asks for any sort of exclusivity in representing you (two caveats to this:  first, tell your recruiter about other opportunities that you are pursuing; next, know that once you have given a recruiter permission to submit your resume for a position, that specific company/firm should be the recruiter’s exclusive opportunity).  Importantly, be sure that a recruiter seeks your permission each and every time personal information is released.

While not exhaustive, we hope that this list is a starting point for how to use a recruiter most effectively.  We try to help as many people as we can, but the truth is that we can’t help everyone.  We do hope that everyone feels that they were treated fairly and with respect – ever recruiter should strive for that.  Regardless, when used properly and for the right candidates, recruiters are a great way to find your new position and advance your career.


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