Interview Your Recruiter
One of the best resources you can utilize during your job search is a professional recruiter. There are many great articles about how to work effectively with a recruiter, including a recent post on the Technical Connections blog (How to Successfully Work with a Recruiter). But how do you go about finding the right recruiter for you in the first place?
The best recruiter for you depends on many factors including industry, skill set and experience, type of job you are looking for and even the company your recruiter works for. A recruiter, like a lawyer, doctor, or even auto mechanic, is a specialist in his or her field. But much like you would carefully select one of those other specialists to represent or care for you, you should do the same with recruiters.
Once you post your resume on any job board, you are certain to start receiving calls and emails from recruiters, almost immediately. You are in demand and if you have particularly marketable skills and experience, you are a precious commodity and represent dollar signs in some recruiters’ eyes so there will be no shortage of interest in you. Therefore, by understanding what to look for in a good recruiter, you can help maximize your chances of finding the right job.
During your initial conversation with a recruiter, allow them to ask questions to get a good understanding of your skills and experience, and what you are looking for in a role. Then, before talking about a specific job (or showing your interest in the job they are telling you about), go ahead and ask them a few question of your own. If they seem bothered by you asking, or they don’t take the time to answer sincerely, that is your first clue that you don’t want them representing you.
Start your interview of the recruiter by finding out how long they have been recruiting, and how long they have been with their current company. There is nothing wrong with working with a less-experienced recruiter (in fact, they are often more driven to find you a job than some experienced, established recruiters).
Senior recruiters, and especially those that have been with their current employer for at least a year or two, will typically be recruiters you need to help least. They will know what questions to ask to better understand your skill level, and provided you are honest and forthcoming with them, they will be able to quickly determine which of their jobs best match your requirements and expertise. Less experienced recruiters will need you to be more patient with them, and to have a willingness to more thoroughly explain your technical skills (remember, they are learning). By doing so, they will see you as a partner in your job search (which is exactly what you want) and they will be more motivated to work hard on your behalf.
Here are some questions and topics you should explore with any recruiter who wants to represent you:
- First and foremost, ask about the company’s privacy, confidentiality and submission policies. They should require your permission before sending your resume anywhere! Also, ask if they revise and edit your resume. Do they share a copy of the version they send to their client company with you? Do they provide highlights or a summary to their clients pointing out your specific qualifications for a job?
- How long has the recruiter’s company been in business? The longer the company has been in business, the more established their client base is.
- How many offices does the company have? Sometimes you want more offices for wider geographic coverage; other times you want the laser focus of a smaller firm that targets the area or region you want to be working in.
- Does the company specialize in any particular skill or industry vertical? The more focused on skill set, the more focused the entire company is on the jobs you want. However, if they are too narrow, they will not be able to be creative in thinking outside the box.
- For the jobs the recruiter is considering you for, ask if they are working with the hiring manager or HR at their client. The preference should always be those recruiters working closest to the actual decision makers and hiring managers.
- You may be interested to know how many professionals with skills sets and experience similar to your own they have placed in the last few months. The more candidates they have placed, the larger footprint that company typically has for clients needing your skills, which in turn means more opportunities.
- If you are considering a contract role and will be employed by the recruiter’s company, you should also ask about things like company benefits.
Choosing the right professional recruiter to represent you is a critically important decision in your job search. To learn more about how my team and I at Technical Connections answer all of these questions, please feel free to call me at (310) 479-8830. I would be more than happy to share with you our model of almost 30 years of success and to explore how we can help you find your next job.
Russell Wolf is Director of Strategic Development at Technical Connections and has over 16 years of experience in delivering effective staffing and software development solutions for the Information Technology industry throughout California.Back to the Blog