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How To Find a Good Recruiter

HOW TO FIND A GOOD RECRUITER: Six Useful Questions To Ask

by Kahlil John Somera, Technical Recruiter

questions to ask a recruiterAre you currently working with a recruiter to help you find a job?  If so, does the recruiter meet, exceed or fail your expectations?  How do you know that you are working with a good recruiter?  The titles: Recruiter, Headhunter, Staffing Specialist etc. are used interchangeably within the staffing industry. Whatever title a recruiter holds, the expectation remains the same – to help you find a job!  Understand one thing;  a recruiter can never promise work — They are there as a resource for you in your job search.  They become just another option for finding job opportunities.

It is worth emphasizing that it is important for you to find a recruiter that specializes in your industry (i.e. medical, IT, or finance). One way to go about finding an established, qualified staffing company is through the American Staffing Association (www.americanstaffing.net).  Most legitimate recruiting agencies are members of this group.  Another effective way to find a credible recruiter is by asking friends, family, or colleagues.  Networking and referrals are frequently a tried and true method for finding reliable resources and building positive working relationships.

Once you do find a recruiter, you still need to make sure that they have your best interest in mind and that you can trust him or her to be a positive resource in your job search.  Meeting a recruiter in-person is an ideal first step.  Then, you are able to place a face with a voice and genuinely engage in a discussion regarding your background and job search.  This is all part of the relationship-building process.
Here are some questions to consider that may help you assess the recruiter and your comfort level in working with him or her:

  1. How long have you been recruiting?  While  you should not use time as a measure of a recruiter’s skills and abilities; if can often tell you a lot about the recruiter’s business approach, confidence, interest in helping you, and level of humility. Are they sincere?  Do they describe how they can help you, as opposed to bragging about the great things he or she may have accomplished?   With regard to length of experience,  I have seen junior recruiters come into a job and hit the ground running. There are many inexperienced recruiters who naturally have an ability to build relationships and assess people’s backgrounds effectively.  At the same time, there are senior recruiters who still don’t know how to work with people in a sincere  or competent manner.  Experience is always nice to have, but that does not determine the recruiter’s ability to effectively help you No matter, how much experience a recruiter has, be it two years or twenty years, you can learn a lot by asking this question.
  2. What do you feel are my marketable skills?  A good recruiter will build relationships by listening and and understanding what kind of opportunity you are looking for and what your strengths are.  The recruiter should be able to assess your hard skills and soft skills in an effective and almost immediate manner.  They should know what kind of candidates their clients are seeking and what skill sets are in demand in your professional market.
  3. How many candidates have you placed in the last year?  Success rate is important.  A recruiter’s ability to help professionals find work is demonstrative of his or her skills in recruiting, assessing, and delivering to companies and professionals.  Bottom line, that’s the reason you want to work with a recruiter in the first place.
  4. Do you think you can help me find a job or place me soon?  This is a legitimate question to ask any recruiter.  Of course, they cannot promise you work, but this question will let you know how effective this recruiter will be for you.  Sometimes there will be qualified jobs available for you to assess; sometimes there may be none at that time.
  5. How should I communicate to you?  Communication is a key component to building a positive working relationship with a recruiter.  A recruiter will expect you to call them when they leave a message or reply when they email you.  They should have the professional etiquette to return your calls and emails as well.
  6. If they haven’t done so already, ask the recruiter what expectations they have of you?  Listen to what he or she has to say and collaborate to form a plan that will work for both of you.  That way, you can limit the potential for surprises in the recruiting process.

Keep in mind that, ultimately, the responsibility for finding your next job falls on your shoulders.  Recruiters, staffing agencies, and networking can help widen and improve your job search,  but only you can control the direction of your search and results through your efforts and attitude.  You must maintain an activity level that keeps you moving forward.  There is a job out there for everyone — so remain persistent, stay positive, and take action!

EdgeLink is in business to positively impact the lives of the people and the companies we touch. We are a Technology Staffing Firm based in Portland, OR and Denver, CO. If we may be able to assist you in your job search, don’t hesitate to contact us.