Working with a Recruiter

This question has come up a couple of times during the past few weeks.  Clients often ask me whether it’s a good career move to work with a recruiter.  Several of them have been approached by a recruiter directly, which I predict will be a growing trend as the talent shortage increases (I’ll write more about this later).

Let’s take it from the top, and start with the basics.  If you’re approached by a recruiter, what should you do? The method of contact is actually a clue for you about the quality of the recruiter.  Was it by email only (this really isn’t the sign of a quality recruiter), or did they call you and have a conversation with you?  I’m not saying that legitimate recruiters always call, but it can be a sign of the quality of the recruiter.  First point.

Second point to consider:  Is it a big firm or a smaller, more “boutique” firm?  If it’s a smaller, specialized firm, you’ll have more personal contact with the recruiter – who, hopefully, will have more personal contact with the hiring manager.  This is a good thing.  The more time the recruiter spends screening candidates, the better experience it will be for you, and whatever company you end up working with.

Third point: How did they get your information?  Was it through a personal contact, or were they simply trolling through a professional directory looking for people?  Find out how they found you.

Fourth point:  If you’re looking to work with a recruiter, ask around to find someone who specializes in your industry or field.   Choosing a recruiter can be like choosing a doctor… you have to shop around sometimes.