A few weeks ago I was at lunch with a friend and colleague that I had placed with a client. His phone rang four times in the hour we were together. Every call was followed by a 30 second message from a monotone recruiter about a “position in the Atlanta area.” Looking at his face and seeing his annoyance, I knew what was coming out of his mouth next—“I think that IT Recruiters are ____.”
Unfortunately, many people would fill in the blank with some negative words (like my friend did) and rightly so. There are many instances where recruiters can be compared to the characters in the movie The Boiler Room; utilizing high pressure methods and appearing more concerned with money than with you, the candidate.
How can you benefit from a positive relationship with a recruiter and take advantage of their resources to further your career? Simple—find a good recruiter and start building a relationship.
Here are a few traits of the “right” recruiter:
- Your recruiter should be personable, should set expectations regarding feedback and interviews, and should follow-up appropriately.
- Your recruiter should understand what you are looking for—not only where your next 6 month contract will be, but where you want to be in 3, 5, or even 10 years.
- Your recruiter should be actively involved in the IT community and attend networking events related to your background.
- Your recruiter should be truly knowledgeable on a functional level about what you do as well as the interworkings of the organizations your recruiter represents.
If your recruiter has these traits, then you most likely have a trusted partner. Once such relationship is established, you should maintain contact and touch base occasionally even if you’re not currently looking. Talk about your current role, what you enjoy and dislike, and then dig into what openings are on the market that might be a fit for you. It is important to know what the market is bearing to help with many aspects of your career growth. Remember, a great relationship with someone who is connected to companies in your market is a great asset. Cultivate your relationship with the “right” recruiter and reap the rewards.