Working with a recruiter may be the ticket to landing the perfect job. But you must do it right. Both you and the recruiter have your own priorities. They want to fill the position and get their commission. You need a job. The agendas work together well. It's important to know how to work with a recruiter in a way that will create a win-win situation.
1. Understand your professional goals
A recruiter is not a mind reader. They can't help you get a job unless you know what type of position you want. What are your technical skills? What are your soft skills? What type of culture do you want to work in? What type of career path are you interested in? Do you work better on a team or by yourself? Knowing these answers helps a technical recruiter place you in a position to succeed.
2. Keep an updated, comprehensive resume
Technical Recruiters need to know ALL of your skills. Provide them with a comprehensive resume and then let them decide what needs to be emphasized when submitting to their client. They may actually want to delete some things if those items are not required for the role. But giving them the full picture allows them to customize and tweak your resume as needed.
3. Develop a professional relationship with more than one Technical Recruiter
Technical Recruiters have access to many jobs and often know about jobs that will be coming in from clients. Develop a professional relationship with recruiters that fill positions in your field. This is key to learning about jobs that may be a fit for your skill set. You want Recruiters to think of you first when a great position becomes available.
4. Be professional and respectful
Yes, working with a Recruiter is a two-way street. You are looking for a job and they want their commission for filling the position. But they are busy juggling multiple job requisitions and multiple candidates in varying points of the hiring process. Be respectful of their time.
Touch base every two weeks or so to let them know you are still looking. And definitely reach out to them if you see a job come available that you are interested in. Do NOT email them several times a day about a position. You want the recruiter on your side. Don't burn bridges.
5. Be reliable and put your best foot forward
If the Recruiter sets up an interview you need to attend. They will discuss it beforehand with you. You will both confirm a good time. The worst thing you can do is not show up. It makes you and the recruiter look bad. They will be hesitant to help you out in the future if you do this.
(Read: The Anatomy of an IT Job Search)
6. Don't be shy about interviewing recruiters
You want to work with a recruiter that you mesh well with so it makes sense to spend some time talking to multiple recruiters. Make sure they fully understand what you do and how it applies to the job market. It's your career. You don't want someone who doesn't understand your goals and capabilities.
7. Let the recruiters help you
Are there some blemishes on your resume that you feel the need to hide? Have you held several positions in a short time? Were you terminated from your last job? Don't hide this information from any recruiter. They can help you navigate through any challenges. It's their job to market you. But they can't if they don't have all the information.
8. Let them know if you're working with other recruiters
Your gut instinct may be to keep that information to yourself. What you do on your own time is your business. But there is an upside to doing this. If two recruiters submit your resume to the same employer for the same position it can cause problems and possibly jeopardize your chances at landing the job. Not to mention both recruiters will not be happy about the situation since it makes them look bad.
Recruiters will not be offended if you work with more than one of them, but they will be upset if you don't tell them and something happens that makes them look bad to their client.
9. Accept constructive criticism
It is never easy to accept criticism. But constructive criticism helps you grow professionally. Remember that a good recruiter has your best interests at heart. It isn't easy to offer someone constructive criticize. But they are doing it so that they can help you find a job. Accept it and grow from it.
10. Lose graciously
You may not get the job you were hoping for. It's disappointing. But it means it often means that it wasn't the job for you. It's important to remain cordial and professional with your recruiter. Your dream job may be around the corner. Don't ruin it by being a sore loser.
Working with a Technical Recruiter can be the next step to land your dream job. Their help is often invaluable. Understanding how to work with them will benefit you both.