Working in the career transition industry I often get asked to refer job seekers to the best recruiter. Because of this reoccurring question I thought it would be useful to give some pointers regarding this topic. There are many recruiting agencies out there, each employing many many recruiters. How do you narrow down on the best one?
1. Choose someone in your industry – In my opinion it is always best to choose an agency/recruiter based on your industry, not someone who works with all levels and functions. The specialists will have their fingers on the pulse of their market. It is true; Jack of All Trades, Master of None. If you are in finance, work closely with someone in finance. If you are an executive, work with someone with a focus on placing people at your level.
2. Choose someone you get along with – You need to be able to get along with your recruiter, skill-set aside. You need to have frank conversations, be able to voice your opinion and to feel comfortable reaching out with questions. In turn, they should be working with you and assisting you where they can. It’s always great to discuss terms beforehand (like how often is it ok to follow up and best means of communication-email or phone call). Job seeker personalities are always different and you may like one style of recruiter, while another person may prefer a different style. Find the one most suited to you!
3. Choose someone you can trust – This ties into the last point but I thought necessary to be listed separately. You need to trust that they are putting you forward for the roles you want, that they will negotiate the salary and terms of employment that are important to you. Without that trust it is easy to question their actions and get into frustrating conversations about whether they are on “the employer’s side”. Remember, recruiters are working to come to an agreement on terms of employment between you and their client. Find one that you trust to have the right type of conversations .
4. Ask for referrals – As with anything in this world, referrals work best. People won’t refer you to someone that they know won’t provide you with good service (their own reputation is loosely tied to it). Ask your network and past colleagues about who they have used in the past and what type of service they had received. The best recruiters are often found through word of mouth!
Remember, recruiters work with many people at the same time – daily contact is not always possible. However, if a month or two go by without a response to your last email – it may be time to go fishing.