The selection of a recruiter, or a few, is a very important decision to be made in your career. The recruiting profession, like any other, is compiled of many different skill levels and work methods, and it is very important to select a professional recruiter based on their ability, quality of judgment, depth of resources, ingenuity and integrity. While some recruiters are generalists, others are specialized.
There are two types of recruiters: those who work as independent recruiters and those that are either employed directly by a company or on contract. One of the key differences between the internal and external recruiters is obvious. The internal recruiters’ main focus is on recruiting you to their company either now or in the future.
Unfortunately, you can’t select the recruiter you want to work with if that person is working inside a company. Typically, the person assigned the requisition will be the one to deal with you.
The external recruiter generally represents multiple companies and is engaged with several different opportunities at any given time. The more seasoned recruiter may also have access to a better selection of opportunities: They are generally identified and called based on their reputation and experience. This allows the seasoned recruiter to work on the best and most unique positions, instead of just any opening that comes along.
The selection criteria for an independent recruiter can be summed up below. You should ask questions in these specific areas to get a better understanding of your recruiter’s capabilities:
1) What is their level, or years of experience as a recruiter?
2) What is their expertise in your functional area: Do they seem to understand your industry, its trends, compensation, key companies and players?
3) Do they have knowledge of the opportunity and company they are representing?
4) What is their level of relationships: Are they working with HR or the Executives/decision makers?
5) Do they seem interested in fostering a long term relationship with you or are they simply trying to fill a specific position?
6) How might they help you in preparing for an interview and will they help negotiate an acceptable package for both their client and you, the candidate?
7) Do they seem knowledgeable of helping you with your resume?
8) How do they work? Will they send your resume without your knowledge , populating the databases of companies in hope of a fee upon hire? Or will they only present you for a given position in which that you are both qualified and interested?
9) Do they have the high level contacts to confidentially tap the unadvertised or non-requisitioned positions?
10) Do they debrief both yourself and their client after your interviews and provide you with truthful feedback?
Here are some helpful “Do’s & Don’ts” for effectively working with your chosen professional recruiter:
1) Be honest and open on your career hot buttons, motivations, limitations and strengths, weaknesses and personal issues.
2) Don’t use a recruiter to apply to a company a second time. If you’ve already applied, don’t call your recruiter of choice and ask them to present you again, just because you have not received a reply from your initial inquiry, or those of another recruiter. Most reputable companies will simply dismiss you as a candidate.
3) Let your recruiter know where you have sent your resume. Also, make sure you keep a record of where you have sent it, and where your recruiter will send it.
4) Don’t use two, or more, recruiters to present you to any one company. Again, you stand to lose out as a candidate.
5) Stay in touch with your recruiter and keep them informed of any unique opportunities you hear about.
Finally, consider this: The best time to make a job change will often seem like an inopportune time for you! Consider making a change when your current position is attractive and things are going well. This puts you in the best position to potentially move to a better opportunity. If you wait until you need a position, you run the risk of timing working against you. The best opportunity is not usually available when you are ready, or need, to find something.
Also, don’t just consider the companies where you have friends or colleagues. This can limit the quality of positions you could get and impact your career upside potential. Don’t settle for the less attractive position because of a known entity. Evaluate them all based on their merits and your ability to get an offer.
Remember without that offer you have no decision to make!
Gary Fowler, Executive Technology Recruiter, Analog Solutions,
Semiconductor and Analog Industry Recruiter