Recruiters, sometimes called search professionals or headhunters, find qualified candidates for employers. Some recruiters work for search firms, while others work directly for corporations, seeking to fill open roles at the company.
Benefits of Working With a Recruiter
But even though recruiters work for employers, they can give your job search a big boost. Connecting with a recruiter can help you find open jobs and secure an interview with a prospective employer. The trick is to find the recruiter who best matches your needs.
Not sure how to go about finding the best recruiter for you? Here’s what you need to know.
How to Find Recruiters and Search Firms
Use a Directory
There are several online directories that enable you to identify search firms by geographic area, functional specialty and/or industry. Recruiterly.com, Online Recruiters Directory, i-Recruit, and Searchfirm.com are all free services to help you to target recruiters relevant to your needs.
Search on Google
Conducting a Google search with the name of your location and with keywords like "search firms," "executive recruiters," and "employment agencies" will provide you with a list of the websites of agencies in your area. For example, try "search firms in Atlanta." If you get too many listings, try a more targeted search like "Executive search firms for sales professionals in Atlanta."
Ask for Recommendations
One of the best ways to identify firms is to ask your contacts for recommendations based on their personal experience.
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. An added benefit of this strategy is that your contacts might speak to their recruiter and recommend that he or she work with you.
You can search LinkedIn by keywords like "recruiter" or "search firms" to generate an extensive list of firms. You can follow them and see their job listings.
Looking for a recruiter at a specific company? Narrow your search by starting with the employer. Find the employer’s LinkedIn page by typing the company name into the search bar at the top left. Then, hit the “people” tab and type in your search term, e.g., “recruiter.” This will show you a list of employees with that job title. From there, you can connect with internal 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.
Help Recruiters Find You
One of the best ways to find recruiters is to develop a LinkedIn profile that demonstrates your skills and experience. To make your profile stand out, include endorsements, recommendations, work samples and a well-written summary of your skills and accomplishments.
Recruiters also search databases of candidates on job boards. Placing a solid resume on sites like Indeed, Monster and niche sites in your field can make it more likely that you will be engaged by a recruiter.
Maintaining a high profile in professional organizations will get you noticed by recruiters.
Presenting at conferences, holding office, and publishing can all increase your visibility.
How to Secure Your Ideal Recruiter for You
Don't Submit Your Resume to Every Recruiter
It's best to identify one or two recruiters that specialize in your field and start to build relationships with them.
Job seekers make the mistake of submitting their resume to every recruiter, thinking it will maximize their chances. But recruiting agencies are typically working within the same client pool.
If you have multiple agencies submitting your resume for a job, it puts the hiring company in a difficult situation of determining which agency to work with. In many cases, the hiring company may choose to pass over a candidate completely, rather than get into a debacle with competing agencies over who deserves the referral fee.
Dress to Impress
When meeting with your recruiter, you should dress appropriately, as you would for a job interview. Recruiters want to know that they are being represented in a professional way. Choosing the right interview outfit shows them that you understand how to make a good impression and how to conduct yourself in a corporate setting.
Ask the Right Questions
Recruiter screenings are a two-way street, just like job interviews. Come to the conversation prepared with questions to help you determine whether this is a partnership worth pursuing. For example, you might ask:
- How long have you have been recruiting?
- What is your recruiting specialty? (Make sure this aligns with the type of job you are seeking.)
- Do you have client companies that are looking to hire someone with my experience and skill set?
- How many people with my background have you helped place in the last six months?
- Can I speak with some of your clients to ask them about their experience?
Send Thank-You Notes
Sending a thank-you note to your recruiter is polite, but beyond that, it shows that you understand business etiquette. Most recruiters will remind candidates to send a note post-interview, but sending one to the recruiter shows that you don’t need prompting.
Treat your recruiter as you would like to be treated. Tell them if you cannot make an appointment, if your long-term goals change, or if you’re waiting for a job offer from an interview you went on last week.
This will help you build a rapport with the recruiter, as well as showing them that you have the integrity and professionalism that their clients seek.