Job seeking, whether at a higher career-progression level or the more common job hunt, is an old (and often tedious) hat for most of us. What used to entail sitting in appointment waiting rooms, going door-to-door from one business to the next, hand-delivering resumes and perusing the “Hiring” sections of local newspapers has evolved into scouring craigslist, Linkedin, Simplyhired, Monster and a half-dozen other mass-mill job-hunting websites. Face-to-face networking is still a powerful tool, but success typically calls for already knowing how to go about the process of attending local business networking meetings and presenting yourself both professionally and approachably.
There is, however, another route one can pursue in addition to your own personal efforts. That is, of course, where job recruiters and agencies come into play. And there are several things that you should be aware of before considering working with them, many of which fall into either a pro side or a con side, although we will say right off there is an odd flow between the two. In other words, one can sometimes lead to the other.
Recruiting companies have one goal: to find and fill positions for their client. Their primary client, however, is in most all cases not you (the job seeker) but the companies seeking talent to fill positions in their employee chain. The flip-side of this – the one that you can utilize to your advantage – is the fact that recruiters deal with the companies (specifically the hiring departmental personnel) which you most want to be noticed by. This is the key point to remember in dealing with recruiters and why they are worth engaging in the first place: They possess the connections and relationships vital to getting noticed. It is with this fact firmly in mind that we go into the following section of Do’s, Don’ts, and contextual Maybe’s.
Forest for the Leaves
As with the cultivation of any relationship, especially a professional one, there are certain fundamental ground rules that, if crossed, can sour what may have been rewarding soil. Some of these are essentially boiled down to very common sense ways of interacting decently with other human beings, while others are highly specific to evolving business cultures, which can vary widely between industries and individual companies. Nonetheless, we can deliver some general, yet solid actions of which to steer clear when dealing with job recruiters:
- Being Indirect. Don’t play games. This seems fairly simple, but too often in the business world people play odd, subversive games. For instance, using the agency to get in touch with a company that has caught your interest, and then going around your recruiter to apply directly.
- Being Dishonest. If you’re not willing to consider a position below a certain income threshold, don’t tell your recruiter that you’re open to lower-paying positions. This just wastes time on both sides, as well as making your recruiter look bad with their contacts, potentially damaging their relationships with companies. If you’re not willing to relocate, don’t say that you’re open to position beyond a reasonable commute.
- Being Unprofessional. Again, one that may seem beyond obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people will dissemble, get overly personal, be rude or aggressive with and even outright lie to the very person they’re engaging to find them a job.
Again, simple and concise: Be upfront and professional every bit as much in your job hunt as you would be on-the-job and advancing your career. Remember, you’re dealing with a professional who is as serious about their career as you are; treat the relationship accordingly.
Further Reading: Behind the Scenes of Corporate Recruiting
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