Everything You Need to Know About Attracting, Choosing, and Working With Recruiters (with lots of valuable information even if you’re not


It's not necessary for you to tell a recruiter how many firms you are working with, although the recruiter might ask you that question. It's your job search, and it's not always a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, especially if you are unemployed or your employer knows you are looking.

A recruiter in any industry - contingency or retained - isn't going to have a relationship or a contact at every firm, even in the same geographical market. Limiting yourself to one recruiter is limiting your options, and most recruiters are okay with that, within reason.

If your recruiter asks, do tell him if you are working with another firm. The relationship with your recruiter needs to begin with mutual trust and honesty. If you withhold information, you start off on the wrong foot, because chances are, eventually your recruiter will find out anyway.
How many firms you work with depends on the confidentiality of your job search, your chosen geographical market, and the broadness of your industry. If you are actively seeking something new and confidentiality isn't an issue, it's to your advantage to have your resume and background in the database of more than a few firms.

This is especially true if you are fairly open geographically and your industry is broad-based, such as commercial construction, architecture, marketing, sales, or certain aspects of IT.

But if discretion is a priority, sending your information to multiple firms might make you more active on the job market than you planned to be. Most industries are close-knit, and more than one candidate's resume has ended up on his boss’s desk, or the person has been called into their office because his boss got word from a connection in another firm that the person was looking.

This is also why I've included chapter 5 in this book: how to tell if you have a good recruiter. Your job search and your career are your business, and you need to control it. Working with a recruiter you trust and have faith in is to your advantage. Flooding search firms indiscriminately with your resume is not.

In this instance, I recommend limiting yourself to two firms, especially if you don't want to relocate and your geographical target area is fairly small. Using the contact techniques in chapter 4, make phone calls to perhaps seven or eight firms, and select the firms based on the answers to the questions in chapter 5.

An unethical or untrained recruiter can't do much without your resume. It's your resume that is in danger of being sent out without your permission by those who don't know any better. If you don't like your conversation with a particular firm, simply don't email it to them.

Without it, all they'll have is the barest details of a brief interview, and that's not enough to endanger you. If they use telephone interview forms, you'll simply be put into their database and contacted only if something comes up, and then you can make the decision to send them a resume based on what they present to you.

If you are getting signals that more than one firm is extremely interested in your background and might be able to do something for you fairly soon, using too many firms can also work against you.

No recruiter wants to work with a candidate who is working with every other recruiter in the market. They're liable to call a few of their client companies and then dump your paperwork into the database, especially if they find they're frequently following another firm's tracks.

Don't always buy that you should be working with only one recruiter. Some firms will tell you this, because it’s to their advantage. And in truth, in exception to the recommendation in the above paragraph, there are times that working with only one firm is to your advantage.

If your industry is very small and you are clearly working with a lead firm or recruiter in that industry, then give them a week or three to see what they produce for you before you expand your options. But many times, it can simply be a line from the firm in order to give them greater control until they've learned if they can do anything with you or not.

The mark of a good recruiter who is a leader in his industry is that he will tell you up front that you are a strong candidate (if indeed you are), give you an example of what they have done for others and what they can do for you. You'll know by their conversation that they know your industry and the contacts.

They won't need to feed you a specific convincing argument to stick with them, and aside from any education on that point that they may provide, their words will leave you feeling that perhaps that's the wisest option for you. As an alternative, they may simply ask you directly for an exclusive.

And what if they do ask you for an exclusive? If you're a hot candidate with a solid track record of employment and accomplishments and your skills are in demand, this might happen. What the recruiter wants to know is if he can represent you for a specific period of time, with the understanding that you won't work with any other recruiters.
This can work significantly to your advantage, especially if your job search is confidential, because you'll be his top priority. A two- to three-week exclusive is enough. You'll know within that time frame what their style is and how well they can produce for you. If they haven't been able to pull something up for you in that time, decide if you want to broaden your horizons.

As I mention in more detail in chapter 5, keep track of where your resume has gone and on what date, whether your job search is confidential or not. Make sure a recruiter never sends your resume anywhere without your permission. First, you can't keep track of where it has gone if you don't know. Second, if your search is confidential, your resume, as I mentioned above, could easily land in the wrong hands.

More importantly, if a company receives your resume from two different recruiters, knowing when you sent it to each recruiter might save you from being disqualified. Companies occasionally receive the same resume from two different recruiters, and if it isn't clear where it came from first, the company will simply remove you from consideration to avoid a legal battle with the two firms.

If you are working with more than one recruiter, you need to set the ground rules for confidentiality and protocol.

Author's Bio: 

Judi Perkins is known as the How-To Career Coach, and was a recruiter for 22 years when she worked with hundreds of hiring authorities helping them hire entry level through CEO, set up/followed up on over 15,000 interviews, consistently broke sales records by building relationships, and has seen over half million resumes (and climbing).

Now, many of her clients are employed within 8 – 12 weeks. She brings sequence, structure, and focus to the job search, including skills, psychology, and sales components, showing why the typical strategies so often fail. Please see her website media page for her extensive media credentials.

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