A good recruiter is your friend, really!  A great relationship with a trusted recruiter can bring opportunities to job seekers through all phases of their careers.  You may think we’re crazy (and we are for other reasons) for some of the things we say or do, but the list below might help you to feel more in control of the process:

1.  Communication is key.  There is no need to check in on a weekly basis, but definitely check in once a month via email even if you haven’t heard from your recruiter in a while.  As you update your resume, send in the latest/greatest version.  If there is a company you have an interest in, but you have no contacts there, feel free to ask your recruiter if they can get you in somehow.  Try to avoid blindly applying on job boards.  We get calls from employers saying “I have over 1,500 applicants to this ad I ran. I don’t have time for this. Just send me your top three people and recommend your favorite and why”.  If a recruiter can’t help, use your network of contacts.  If you still come up dry, then apply through the job board or website, etc.

2.   Be selective.  It’s okay to be registered with multiple recruiters, but it is often difficult to manage relationships with too many for reasons listed above, which ultimately hurts the candidate.

3.   Be honest with your recruiters.  The more we know, the more we are able to help you!  This includes where your resume has been sent your salary information, vacation plans, other offers pending, etc.  If you’re concerned that you are underpaid now, a good recruiter should be able to brainstorm with you on a strategy to bump your salary.  Recruiters are experienced negotiators and they know what makes their clients tick.  There are so many details that surface so please share as much as possible up front.

4.   Let your recruiters know that they do not have permission to send your resume or name anywhere without getting your okay first.  On a few of occasions we’ve had clients tell us that they don’t want to bring a candidate in for an interview because the resume has been presented by three recruiters.  Why?  Because the employer doesn’t want to get caught in a disagreement as to who represents this candidate.  Additionally, it illustrates the fact that the candidate is not managing this process well…how would this person manage process should s/he be hired here? Yikes!  It is really sad when we have to go back to the candidate to deliver this news.  What’s really unfair is when the candidate didn’t even know who presented the resume.

5.  Be careful with emails to/from recruiters.  Yes, we use email all of the time to communicate with our candidates.  It’s a wonderful thing!  The concern is if the email is used irresponsibly by your recruiter.  What do you do once a recruiter emails you with an opportunity you’re interested in pursuing?  Make sure your reply includes this:  “I am interested in learning more about this opportunity.  Do not send my resume quite yet.  I need to know the name of the company and get more information on the job before I can agree to let you send it”.  There are a few recruiters out there who are notorious for claiming that just getting a response equals an agreement from a candidate to proceed.  Often a resume is sent without the candidate’s knowledge or consent. If the candidate is aware of the presentation, they never get any feedback or closure, which brings us to #3.

6.  Run away, fast, from recruiters who do not return your calls or get back to you on an opportunity.  There are recruiters who are only out for themselves and see their candidates as just numbers.  They try to blanket the market with your resume (often without telling you), which can actually block you from getting interviews due to your attachment to that recruiter.  You will get more out of a recruiter who sees your long-term relationship as more important than making a quick placement.  This is the type of recruiter employers want to work with as well.  If they can’t even return your phone call or email, what does that tell you?

7.  Understand the process.  Recruiters have legal and binding contracts with employers to protect both parties.  An important part of the contract to be aware of is the window of time that a candidate is tied to the recruiter.   That window (usually twelve months) starts from the date a resume is sent to the employer. That means that the employer has to go through the recruiter, even if it is for a different position than what the candidate was presented to, for 12 months after the candidate is originally presented.  This applies even if the open position is not what the recruiter presented you to in the past.  This is how the standard recruiter/employer contract works.

8.  No, our fee does not come out of your salary.  Candidates sometimes miss out on opportunities by trying to go in through a friend, thinking that will get them a higher salary.  What they don’t know is that employers usually have to honor certain salary parameters regardless of the cost of outside resources.  Recruiters often have confidential opportunities and long-standing relationships that can often give them that extra push to get an interview.  Use your recruiter to get you in the door!

9.  Do not use recruiters to pursue a counteroffer from your current company.  Counteroffers do happen and we understand that, but pursuing another offer to get a better deal at your current company is dangerous for a candidate’s reputation.  This applies with or without a recruiter’s involvement.  When using a recruiter, however, the recruiter could lose their client.  Employers rely on recruiters to protect them (and all of the time/resources put into the offer) from losing a candidate to a counteroffer.

10.  Don’t break ties once you’ve landed in a job.  Keep sending recruiters your updated resume even if you’re not looking.  You may just get a call about a position that is a once in a lifetime opportunity when you least expect it.  Sometimes the best opportunities surface when you’re not even looking!

We were once candidates too!  We remember all of the feelings associated with a job search, etc.  This is why we strive for great long-term relationships with our candidates.  Our goal is to provide value to you for your entire career and to have a little fun together on that journey.