Pick the right recruiter
You wouldn’t willingly trust your health, taxes or house sale to someone who you hadn’t checked out thoroughly. It’s the same with your career and asking the right questions of a recruiter before you sign up can save you time and frustration. It’s a highly personal decision but here are some tips and thoughts that will help.
Remember that in the early stages you are the one doing the interviewing. Ask about their track record, service standards and ask for references. It’s worth asking them how and why they got into the recruitment business. You should also understand their terms of business and how they balance risk and reward in working with candidates and clients.
Take time to understand the recruiter’s background and how that might influence their approach to you and your career. Some candidates find it helpful to work with someone who has worked in the sector because they have insights and shared experiences in recruiting staff being interviewed themselves.
Decide whether you are going to work with a wide variety of recruiters or build a relationship with a smaller number. The temptation is to go for quantity but if you are looking for good quality engagement and efficient use of your time it’s worth considering a more focused approach.
Consider whether the interviewer is genuinely engaging with you during the conversation or just asking formulaic questions. Do they see you as a route to a commission payment or as an individual with needs and wants? Ask the recruiter to capture in their own words and feed-back what they believe your aspirations and desired career trajectory are.
You want them to be able to give you advice and an honest assessment. Recruiters are always trying to build their pool of candidates and should be skilled at making you feel comfortable with them. The real question to ponder is whether they are candid about your current potential and sufficiently challenging about your track record and abilities.
Give thought to whether the recruiter is knowledgeable about the market. Do they seem up to date with trends and news? Your career may have decades to go so are they able to distinguish between short-term opportunities and what is likely to happen in the longer term? Are they able to give advice on your development needs?
Your objective is, of course, to find the right job and you want the recruiter to be able to maximize your chances. It’s always worth asking them how they will go about matching your skills, experiences and expectations to a role. What is their process, how broad is their reach, and do they specialize in certain roles or geographical locations are questions worth asking. It’s also worth understanding how the recruiter will work with you when you are unsuccessful.