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Working with Recruiters

When’s the last time you responded to, or actively courted, the attention of a recruiter? When happily employed people get a call, they usually terminate it fairly quickly – because they’re happily employed. Those who are unhappily employed respond if contacted but don’t generally initiate it. On the other hand, for unemployed people, a recruiting firm is usually the very first step in the process of locating a new job.

So why do so many wait until they’re in a bind to turn to a person who can – free of charge – significantly broaden their options? It’s because, aside from horror stories and the varying skill levels of recruiters, people just don’t realize how many openings are handled by search firms.

A study by Coopers & Lybrand found that recruiters fill 64% of all vacant positions. That means only 36% are filled through advertisings and other sources.

Here are a few reasons why companies use a search firm, and why you shouldn’t wait until you’re unemployed – and at a disadvantage – to be in contact with a recruiter.

If you aren't in control of your career, then your company is. Corporate restructuring, layoffs and downsizing are taking place with alarming frequency as companies tighten their belts and look hard at who is contributing and who isn't.

Sometimes it isn't even a matter of contribution. In those plushy carpeted, window offices, the top executives and board members comfortably decide whose heads will roll and for what reason. Sometimes it's simply eliminating an entire department - and it has nothing to do with you, individually, at all. For instance, it's not uncommon for a new manager or president to come in and bring his own people with him.

A friend of mine began work in the corporate offices of a statewide corporation right after we graduated. Over the years, she obtained her MBA and continued to rise through the ranks. For twenty-five years she was with this company.....until she was laid off a few months ago. She hadn't seen it coming. And she freaked out. It can happen that quickly, and it can happen to you.

If you want to stay in control of your career, develop a relationship with a few skilled and thorough recruiters in your industry. And when they call you, even though you’re not actively looking, listen to what they have to say - because one day, they may be calling with your perfect job.

- Judi Perkins