In my 20 years as a computer consultant, I have worked with numerous recruiters. My experiences have been mostly positive but I have heard horror stories from other consultants who have less than stellar things to say about recruiters. I want to give you some tips that I find very helpful when dealing with recruiters.
1. Work with multiple recruiters
It is rare that I have stayed with one recruiting firm beyond the first consulting assignment that they obtained for me. Usually when my current assignment ends, I will look for a new contract using a different recruiting firm. That is why it is very important to work with a few recruiters. You can’t rely on one recruiter to constantly get you a new assignment.
2. Be persistent
Recruiters are bombarded by resumes. They get tons of emails and phone calls from candidates. Sometimes it seems like when you send your resume to a recruiter, it goes into a black hole. Your phone calls are never returned. You might feel like they are ignoring you. This happens to everyone. Even if you have been referred to a recruiter it might take a while to actually speak to them in person. My advice is to call often until you get through to the recruiter. At the same time you don’t want to turn into a stalker. So it comes down to judgment. How badly do you want to connect to this recruiter?
3. Be professional and polite
Your every interaction with a recruiter should be professional. This is critical if you want to make a good impression with them. Recruiters are human beings too and they like to work with people that they like. If you are professional and nice, they are more likely to tell you about job opportunities that have not been posted on any of the job boards. They will go out of their way to help you land a job. If you are working with recruiters you like, never ignore their phone calls or emails.
4. Be honest
Do not misrepresent yourself by lying on your resume or when speaking to them. This is the quickest way to end your relationship with a recruiter. If they find out that you are less than honest, they will be reluctant to help you. Recruiters are no angels either so if you sense that they are not being honest with you, stop doing business with them.
5. Be organize
When working with multiple recruiters, it is important to keep everything organized. You can use a spreadsheet to keep track of all the pertinent information like when you sent your resume, what you spoke about, etc. Being organized will enabled you to work more effectively with multiple recruiters simultaneously.
6. Follow up
Most job seekers just send their resume and hope for a phone call from the recruiter. Sometimes it will happen. But more often, you will need to follow-up. Be persistent when following up. Even if they don’t have an immediate job for you, you should stay in touch with your recruiters through email, phone, LinkedIn, Tweeter, etc. so that they remember you. When a new job requirement comes up, they will think of you first.
7. Be clear
When you finally get to speak to a recruiter, they will ask you some basic questions like what kind of work do you want to do, cities you want to work in, and salary range. Don’t be wishy washy when telling them what you want. In order for them to help you get a job, you need to clearly tell them what you want. Tell them what you are looking for and the job you expect to find.
8. Negotiate well
Most job seekers do a poor job of negotiating the salary or benefits. First, you need to know the market rate for the jobs you are applying for so that you have a range you can work with. Second, always demand as much money as you can without being too unrealistic. A useful piece of advice is never take what they are offering, recruiters will always low ball you. Recruiters are in the business of maximizing their profits. Always remember that.