To Work or Not to Work … With a Recruiter – That is the Question

Conducting a job search can easily become a full-time job. Online job posting boards and LinkedIn have made opportunities more visible and accessible; however, it means more time spent evaluating, coordinating and meeting potential new employers. With so little time in our lives, anyone or anything that can help us make the search more efficient and effective – such as a recruiter – can be valuable. Having worked with recruiters as a candidate previously, and now as a recruiter for accounting and finance professionals, I realize that even this relationship requires commitment. So, how can you make the most of your recruiting relationship?

Work With a Recruiter You (Like and) Trust
Career decisions are very personal and often difficult. Many times, we consult with friends and family to weigh in on our options, but sometimes you really need an objective opinion – that’s when engaging a recruiter you trust can be quite helpful!

It is crucial to find a recruiter that you can be open and transparent with about your search and career goals. Whether you’re interviewing at other companies, working with more than one recruiter or have any concerns about a particular position, it’s important to let your recruiter know. This honest dialogue reduces duplication of effort, clears up miscommunication and allows you to address potential issues right away.

I have had my share of experiences with unreliable or untrustworthy recruiters and have heard similar stories from my candidates and clients. Surprisingly, even after these experiences, some may continue to work with the same recruiter. In some cases, it’s a means to an end, but in many cases, working with someone you don’t connect with or trust is not the best way to spend your time.

Meet Your Recruiter Face to Face
Taking time out of your workday, especially when it’s busy season or month-end may seem inconvenient, but meeting your recruiter face to face can be worthwhile – it’s difficult to establish trust by email or phone. First, you can get a better sense of whom you’re working with: are they professional, timely, discrete and upfront? All good indicators of how they’ll work with you moving forward and usually a reflection of the caliber of companies they work with. Having a face-to-face meeting also encourages you to take time to think about your career goals without any distractions. Spending the time now could potentially reduce the number of unsuitable positions that are sent your way. Lastly, an in person meeting is more impactful and provides a longer-term impression for both the recruiter and the candidate. I have found that the most effective working relationships have been with candidates I’ve met.

Certainly, you don’t need to meet with every recruiter that reaches out. Start with a phone conversation. If you feel comfortable speaking to them, go ahead and have coffee – it’s likely a great investment of your time!

Make It a Long-Term Relationship
When you spend time with a recruiter discussing your long-term career goals, your horizon should be longer than one transaction. For some, recruiters are only the go-to resource when they’re actively looking, but what about when you’re not on the market? Having a recruiter in your network can be an enormous resource at various career stages whether you’re “happy where you are,” “just seeing what’s out there” or “can’t take another busy season.” When you maintain your relationship, the next time you consider a change, it’ll just be a matter of a quick update for your recruiter to hit the ground running for your search.

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