1. Despite how perfect you think you are for a position, don't oversell yourself in the subject line out of fear that a normal application will forever remain in a bottomless inbox never to pair you with the position.

Many job seekers want to display their importance in the subject line upon emailing my firm and it has the complete opposite effect. If you are great for the job and the position is still active within the company (i.e. it hasn't been filled by a competing staffing firm), the recruiters will dig through and, upon finding you, they will jump and you will receive significant leverage.

2. Contingency recruiters are about bulk; don't take it personally, it's how they make money. Regardless, if you have the right background (contingency or retained), the employer is going to jump at seeing you.

The majority of the time, contingency recruiters will throw you in the mix if:

a) Sending you in will not make them look bad in front of their client in any way.

Recruiters must have some form of risk management if they are doing mass submissions, but they don't have as much as retained search firms. Hiring companies know that contingency recruiters are working on commission only and thus the companies are less likely to chew them out.

b) The position is actively being worked on.

Sometimes staffing agencies will put placements on hold because the hiring manager of that firm may be too picky, may be offering too low of salary, or one of the other many reasons recruiting companies who are commission only pull away from a client. Just because it's on the site, does not mean it's on the top of the "to-do" list. Unfortunately, unless you are a fly on the wall, you will never know.

3. Headhunters don't have time to answer calls because they get so many.

To effectively work with a staffing agency, you must know how they operate or else you will drive yourself nuts wondering why you're not getting the desired results. If you call a recruiter, know that you are not the first that day and the phone was probably picked up by accident. I never allow my recruiters to be rude to applicants, but you're not going to feel great when you run across a staffing firm who does not care about this.

To give you an idea, my firm's phones don't stop ringing for about 15 hours a day. The opportunity cost of picking up a call that may not be a client could be big, especially if the job seeker begins asking questions that could easily be answered via our 450-page website. Go through email. It's your resume and background a recruiter needs in order to help you anyway, and you'll start on the right foot by making your first introduction the most practical.

Author's Bio: 

Ken Sundheim runs KAS Placement, an executive staffing firm that Ken started in 2005.

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Ken's articles have appeared in, among many others Forbes, NYTimes, USA Today and more.

KAS Placement is an executive recruitment agency.