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Finding a Recruiter

Part 1 of 2

Whenever I write about the advantages of hooking up with a proficient recruiter, inevitably I receive emails asking me how to find a one. Googling for one is the easiest, but not the most efficient or reliable. There are hundreds of recruiter websites and it’s obviously ineffective to submit your resume to each one. Reading everything to learn which industries they handle, what levels of positions, if they’re retained or contingency, and what their targeted geographical area is will have you giving up your search in short order. Even phoning each firm is too tedious.

Fortunately there are several options, each of which is much more expedient, and in three of the examples, more reliable as well.

Just as it’s important to know what you’re looking for before you send your resume to companies, it’s equally important to know this before you contact a recruiter. If you don’t know what you are looking for and why, how can a recruiter help you find it, much less contact you when he comes across it?

A good recruiter’s questions will assist you in discovering this or perhaps fine tuning it, but as I’ve pointed out so many times, many recruiters don’t take the time to learn who you are. And if you don’t tell them, you’re at risk for anything to be thrown at you.

Knowing what you want in advance helps you to separate the discerning ones from the less professional ones. When you know what you’re looking for and have conveyed that, you’ll know when you hear something worth pursuing. You’ll also know when a recruiter is just throwing openings at you, and you’re less likely to be swayed into what will ultimately be wasting your time.

For instance, if you’re unhappy with your current company, do you know why? Has the company philosophy changed? Are you more of a hands-on person and now you’re doing only management functions? Is your boss looking over your shoulder and telling you how to do your job? Would you prefer to work 45 hours each week instead of 65? Do you want to travel more? Or less?

Some of those examples may sound obvious, but an amazing amount of people, halfway through their career, have never considered the answer to the questions: What motivates you? What do you need in your job, besides money, to be happy?

The time to contact a recruiter is at the beginning of your search, not after you’ve sent your resume to every company in the industry or geographical area that you’re willing to entertain. Your resume is already on every company’s desk, and a recruiter can’t open a door that you’ve already tried to open yourself–and failed.

One of the most reliable ways in which to find a reputable recruiter is through your associates —certainly ones who have left the company, and especially if they left through a recruiter. Word of mouth is usually a credible way to find a service provider who will perform in a manner agreeable to you. But asking current associates can sometimes compromise your confidentiality unless you absolutely know that you can trust the person.

Try making some cold calls for referrals. Large companies use recruiters with frequency, though they may go through the HR department, so start with asking to speak to one of the executive secretaries. Introduce yourself and see if her boss, or any of the other executives, regularly use a particular firm or individual. You may not get anywhere right off the bat - and you may get sent to HR - but keep trying. You won’t always get warm, fuzzy responses, but as I said, keep phoning. You’re looking for information, not a new best friend.

You can ask HR, although recruiters should work with the hiring authority. That’s not always possible, however, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ineffective.

Stay tuned next week for an additional 4 options!

Read Part 2

- Judi Perkins

Judi was a very successful recruiter for 22 years (15 contingency, 4 agency, 3 retained) and has now been a career coach for 3. The recruiter background, especially having been all three types, gives her deep insight into both sides of the hiring process. Now she teaches job seekers both the skill and psychological aspects of job hunting.

Sign up for her upcoming instructional webinar "Interview Techniques That Can Lead to Job Offers". Learn how to sell yourself, ask questions, create dialogue and get to the essence with a few simple techniques that are applicable at all levels.

Judi has been interviewed as an expert for books at each author's request; has her own book, "How to Find Your Perfect Job;:and has been quoted in numerous on and offline articles. She's also done radio interviews and speaking gigs. Her clients find jobs quickly, ending their months of frustration!