When you’ve uploaded your resume to a job site, you’re undoubtedly bombarded with a wave of recruiters and agencies reaching out. We often take recruiters for granted and lump them all into the same box, but there are several factors that can go into picking the recruiter that best fits your needs.
And the best recruiters often require you finding them and starting that conversation.
A recruiter is an advocate that has the ability to get your resume in front of the right people. Experienced legal recruiters have spent years developing relationships with law firms and corporate legal departments for the benefit of their candidates. A recruiter also provides additional information to a hiring manager by gaining more details that a cover letter can’t adequately explain.
Where to start
There are two types of recruiters. A generalist that will work across several industry platforms with often a large range of candidates – entry level to directors. This can be a good choice for someone with a broad job history and diverse experience.
A 2nd option is a specialty recruiter that focus on one professional industry (i.e. legal, technology or sales). With legal recruiters, a sector of the market is typically carved-out — that could mean attorneys only or partner-level only. While other legal recruiters focus on staff.
Ask for Recommendations
One of the best ways to find a qualified recruiter is to ask former and present colleagues for recommendations. Reach out discretely to fellow members of professional associations, LinkedIn contacts, college alumni, friends, neighbors and family members to inquire about their personal experience with recruiters.
Check Professional Association Resources
Review the job listings in professional publications and notice which agencies are advertising to members of your group. Some professional organizations allow recruiters to present at conferences or staff vendor tables which will provide an opportunity for you to connect with them on a personal level.
How Does this Relationship Work?
Ask questions to understand the process. Make sure the recruiter understands the type of work you do and how this aligns with the type of job you’re seeking. Do they work with candidates with a similar skill set to yours? Do they work with employers that are looking to hire someone with your background and experience?
Market Data and Advice
A good recruiter should be knowledgeable about their market and be able to share that information with you, like what the going rate (aka compensation) is for a job and for someone with your skillset and experience, advice regarding your resume, and interview preparation.
Meet in Person
Whenever possible, meet a recruiter in person. It’s highly beneficial for both parties. The recruiter will have a better idea of your personality and other intangibles that figure into this process. We regularly have clients ask, “have you met this candidate in person”? Really can make a difference and will help the recruiter.
Moving forward, how will the two of you communicate? You’re anxious to know if there are any new job opportunities, receive feedback after an interview, etc. The recruiter will contact you as soon as they have any information.
Any changes to your situation should be conveyed immediately to the recruiter. This includes changes to your current employment status, any job searching you’re doing independently (resumes and applications sent, interviews scheduled, etc.).
Things to remember
- A recruiter should not send a resume to a prospective employer without the job seeker’s knowledge.
- Although “hired” by the employer, a recruiter should also be an advocate for the job seeker and their job search.
- Clear and candid communication from both parties is beneficial to a successful partnership.
- Understand the limitations of a job market. A recruiter can be a great resource to your job search but does not guaranty you a job.