Despite a low unemployment rate across California and a high demand for quality candidates, it can still be difficult to get the best results from your job search and maximize your opportunities if you’re trying to find a job on your own. One way to find the best jobs with top companies, land highly coveted interviews, and negotiate a lucrative salary is to take advantage of job recruiting services.
Some people overlook working with a recruiter in favor of searching online or focusing on their own networking efforts. While these strategies can lead to valuable opportunities, adding a recruiter to your job search can provide many advantages.
Many job seekers don’t take advantage of the benefits of working with a recruiter because of a few common misconceptions. To clear up some of the myths and allow you to better understand how a recruiter can help you launch or elevate your career, here are ten tips to keep in mind when working with professional recruiting companies to find a new job.
Understand who recruiters work for – and how they define success.
Professional recruiters work for the hiring company. When employers use staffing services, they pay recruiters to find the perfect person for their open job. Staffing companies charge hiring companies a flat fee or a percentage of the new hire’s hourly rate or first-year base salary. While some recruiters may have fees for additional job seeker services such as resume review or coaching, many do not require any payment from you, the candidate. For instance, when you work with a Nelson recruiter as a job seeker, there is never a fee.
Many people think that recruiters only care about getting job seekers placed in roles and receiving their placement commissions instead of caring about whether each role is a good long-term fit. The best recruiters, like those at Nelson, understand that good long-term relationships with their client companies are only possible if they make good matches. This requires each role and company to be a good fit for each job seeker as much as it requires each job seeker to be the right fit for the role. When these skilled recruiters make a placement, that placement lasts – and both you as the job seeker and the recruiter’s client company end up satisfied with their service.
Make sure the recruiter you select is a good fit for your career needs.
It’s easy to find names of recruiters who work in your location or field with a quick online search. However, not all recruiters are the same. It’s important to find a recruiter that specializes in the type of role you’re seeking.
If you are a mechanical engineer, for example, look for an industry-specific engineering recruiter who has placed candidates in your industry. If you work in accounting and finance, look for recruiters with expertise in that field.
In fact, if you’re in either of those fields and are reading this, you’ve already found a great recruiting company for your industry – Nelson! Many of Nelson’s professional recruiters have hands-on experience in their respective fields, allowing them to thoroughly understand your skills and role as well as the talent needs of their client companies.
Recruiting specialists may also focus on filling positions in your local area. Although we at Nelson work with clients across the country to offer opportunities to job seekers nationwide, we specialize in helping job seekers in California. We are consistently one of the top recruiting companies helping job seekers find jobs in San Francisco, San Jose, and the Bay Area. Our local offices and teams also work with job seekers across the state – in Sacramento, Modesto, the Central Coast, Southern California (including Los Angeles), and beyond.
In addition, ask your friends and colleagues for referrals and contact several recruiters before you decide who is right for you. A good recruiter should not only try to understand your skills and background; they should listen to what you’re looking for in your next role, and what type of company you’d like to work for. You should always go through your own interview process before selecting the right recruiter for your job search.
Be prepared to answer interview questions for the recruiter.
Recruitment agencies are hired to save employers time and money by finding the best candidates for available positions. To accomplish this task, recruiters examine resumes and schedule interviews just as hiring managers do.
Think of an interview with a recruiter in the same way as you would a regular job interview. Be ready to share your resume and your experience and demonstrate why you are a good fit in the meeting with your recruiter.
Recruiters may ask you tough questions because it’s their job to qualify candidates for employers. Do your research beforehand and take all the steps to prepare for an interview and show that you are knowledgeable about the hiring firm and your industry. A good preparation step is to write down responses to common interview questions and practice delivering your answers with confidence before your meeting. Also, dress professionally and go easy on the cologne or perfume.
Stay personable and get to know your recruiter.
In order to perform their jobs well, many recruiters maintain important connections with top hiring managers. It is definitely in your best interest to establish a friendly working relationship with recruiters in your field.
By creating and maintaining this relationship, you can learn important information such as an employer’s company culture or work environment.
Recruiters may even know about available jobs before they are advertised. If you’ve made a good impression with a recruiter, you could rise to the top of their candidate list and be one of the first they call when a new job opens. In all cases, developing this strong relationship starts with congeniality and respect.
Treat recruiters with respect.
Now that you know a little more about the value of what a recruiter does, you can see how getting on their good side can accelerate your job search.
Treat your recruiter the same as you would treat any hiring manager at a company you’d like to work for. Thank the recruiter for their time and send a follow-up thank-you note in the form of an email or a written letter following your meeting. Demonstrate the level of professionalism that you would show in the boardroom or on the job.
Avoid badgering the recruiter with phone calls and emails for status updates. Instead ask for an expected timeline and respond accordingly. Respect your recruiter and their time and it can pay off in your job search.
Accept constructive criticism.
In an effort to find the best candidates, recruiters will often provide job seekers with advice on how to make themselves or their resumes more attractive to the hiring company. They may help you avoid some of the mistakes made in these bad resume examples and help you to refine your pitch. However, it is important to take their criticism positively and use the advice that they provide. After all, they see firsthand what is effective in getting candidates hired.
Remember, a professional recruiter knows what the employer wants, so it is a good idea to listen to these suggestions carefully and use this information to your best advantage.
If a recruiter reaches out to you with a job that isn’t a good fit for you, you can build your relationship with that person or company by passing along names of qualified colleagues.
Time is money for recruiters, just as it is for all busy professionals. By providing names of qualified candidates, you save the recruiter time. This gesture may put you at the top of the list when an opportunity comes along that is a better fit for your skills.
Be straightforward and honest.
We all know that honesty is the best policy. This is no different when working with a recruiter. Tell your recruiter as much as you can about the types of job you’re most interested in, as well as what types of jobs and companies you’re not interested in. Describe the location, workplace environment, industry, and travel requirements. Make sure your recruiter understands your salary and benefits expectations. Tell your recruiter which details are negotiable and non-negotiable (for example, are you willing to consider another location or industry if the salary rises to compensate for the switch?). Misleading answers will waste your recruiter’s time and can work against you in the future.
Is there anything in your work history – such as a termination, unrelated work on your resume, or gaps in employment – that may reflect poorly on you as a candidate? Share these details with the recruiter now and they may help to prepare any needed explanations to the employer ahead of time.
Update your LinkedIn profile.
Recruiters use LinkedIn all the time. Be sure that your profile is up to date and showcases your skills in the best way possible. Use your profile to highlight any special abilities or skills you have; be sure to include assets such as language skills, software training, and industry certifications. Feel free to brag about successes, ask your colleagues for skills votes, and connect with as many people in your immediate field as possible. There is a perceived difference in the candidate that has 25 connections and one with a network of 500+ connections.
In addition, many recruiters will want to contact you via LinkedIn. Make sure that your privacy settings allow recruiters to access your profile and message you. Brush up on modern job search strategies if you haven’t conducted a job search in the past few years.
Be open to possibilities.
Keep in mind that recruiters often look for people to fill short-term staffing projects. You may find that contract or project-based work is a good way for you to get experience as you continue to search for a permanent position. If you land a part-time role, freelance position, or contract job, your recruiter may suggest that you use your extra time to obtain additional training or certification. This new training and experience will make you more attractive to hiring managers. A Temporary staffing role can also result in a permanent job opportunity, allowing you to get your foot in the door at a specific company and showcase your skills directly to people who make hiring decisions.
If you are currently looking for a career change, working with a recruiter can help put you in a more select pool of job candidates. Recruiters want to find the best person for the job; their reputations depend on it. Why not use a recruiter’s knowledge and experience to propel your professional career to the next level?
You can keep searching for positions or sign up for job search alerts on Nelson’s job board or reach out to us directly to see how we can turbo charge your career with additional recruitment services from our job recruiters in California and beyond.