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recruiter handshake
July 28, 2014
By Melissa McFall


Building and maintaining great relationships with recruiters in the IT industry can be a huge factor in the success of not only your job search, but your career. Not many people realize the tremendous amount of impact and influence recruiters, and their agencies, have in the job-matching game.

The bottom line is, if you are an IT professional or consultant and looking to find a new project, position or resource for your network, an IT recruiter is uniquely positioned to fulfill that need. So how do you get your recruiter to invest in you as a top-priority candidate?

1. Meet your recruiter. It’s always important to meet people face to face when possible. It’s one of the first steps to building a great relationship. Treat this initial meeting with your recruiter as you would treat any IT job interview. In fact, think of it like a mock job interview, not only because you want to impress your new business partner, but because your recruiter will have the chance to see how you handle an actual job interview. Once a recruiter gets the idea of your professional brand and reaction to basic interview questions, he or she will be able to provide you constructive criticism that will increase your chances for success

2. Be honest about your intentions. Be sure to truly understand, at minimum, your non-negotiables for a full-time or contract opportunity prior to reaching out to a recruiter. Your recruiter will be able to coach you on “luxury” areas (job traits that are nice to have but not critical) and adjust your expectations, but in most cases, your non-negotiables won’t change. A recruiter needs a solid understanding of what facets of a job are most important to you, or you’ll both waste time pursuing the wrong path. 

Have an honest conversation about your goals, interests and needs with a potential recruiter, and in return, ask what value he or she can provide to you. It’s important that you find a recruiter who has the capabilities to be an appropriate resource to you. If you need a permanent job and the recruiter you are talking to sees 80-90 percent contract opportunities, they may not be the best fit for a long-term working relationship with you. It also helps to choose a recruiter who specializes in your specific interests, such as a dedicated Microsoft support recruiter.

3. Treat your recruiter as a valued colleague. Having a basic level of respect for the work your recruiter does behind the scenes will encourage them to invest more in your career. While it’s up to your recruiter to match you up with the right position, provide visibility of your resume to the client, prepare you for your interview, and provide you with ongoing support and career coaching, it’s still up to you to get the job.

4. Ask your recruiter to shoot straight with you. Do you cost too much? Do you talk too much during interviews? Are you heading down a career path that will keep you from reaching your goals? If I were to exhibit any of these behaviors, I would want someone to let me know. That’s how I conducted my business as a recruiter. If there was an area where someone needed improvement, I let them know. These types of conversations can be difficult; however, hearing about areas where you can improve will help you lock up and keep the next job will lead you down the path of success. Make sure your recruiter knows you’re open to constructive feedback. Good recruiters are both career coaches and talent agents. Find someone who can help you prosper!

5. Find a good recruiter. Easier said than done, right? Wrong … it is easy! Finding the right recruiter to meet your needs can best be accomplished via referrals or company brand recognition. When you are evaluating if a recruiter is the right partner for you, ask if they are someone you can relate to and who can create a compelling sales strategy for marketing you to their customers. 

Your recruiter should feel comfortable working as a true employment agent for you. As the “keeper of the jobs,” a good recruiter has intel on companies that are hiring, such as their unadvertised positions, particular hiring styles or soft skills and attitudes they prefer. 

A recruiter’s job is literally to help you achieve your goals! Building a great relationship is a true investment in your career. It will pay off if you put in the time and effort to help it grow!

Interested in learning more? Read about our consultant placement process or call us at 888.835.7978 to speak with a recruiter who can help you meet your goals. 

Melissa McFall has spent over nine years in the IT staffing and services industry, including six years as an IT recruiter. She is an expert in recruiter/client relations and service delivery.

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