You don’t normally have to go looking for recruiters. They usually find you. Just place your resume at some of the most popular job boards and it’s “open season” on recruiters seeking you out to fill their contract jobs. When you are unemployed, that can certainly be a good thing. I’ve found, however, that not all recruiters are created equally. Some are not worth your time and are just not a good match to help you.
There seem to be about three kinds of recruiters. There are the local ones that have a solid reputation and have great connections to the major employers in town. There are the out-of-towners that send you opportunities for all over the country. Then there are the ones that aren’t even based in the U.S., that never take the time to get to know what you are interested in, and that just want to make a quick connection with you and only hope to make a match to an employer. I’ve certainly seen and talked to all three types. Let me give you some examples for better illustration. I want to help you be able to identify which type you are working with so that you know how much effort you should put into with them.
The best recruiters are of the first variety, with a strong reputation for placing many candidates with the employers that they are talking with you about. When they represent you, you can be reasonably assured that you have a decent chance of making it to the interview stage.
In situations that I’ve had in this current job search, the good recruiters take the time to get to know you, sit down with you over coffee, or invite you into their office to meet you and understand you as a person and as a candidate. Second tier recruiters aren’t local, but may still have some contacts in your region, but often they are doing a national search. For example, I’m located in Indiana, and I have received contract requests for New York, Connecticut, Texas, California, Wisconsin, and even neighboring Ohio. None are close enough to commute. None are going to pay my travel and lodging expenses. All just have a flat, “all inclusive” rate. The rate by itself is what I’d expect to make for a local gig. Certainly paying all of my expenses and to be away from my family for weeks and months at a time is not ideal, but I could do it if it came to dire straits. If you are up for travel or don’t mind relocating, this option is worth considering. In my case I’m happy right where I’m at.
The last category of recruiters, those that are foreign based, are becoming comical to me. They call me or just email me and tell me about a great job where I can interview with them this week and have a new job next week. I actually laughed out loud at the last person that said that. She asked what was funny and I had to tell her that no employer makes a split decision to make a hiring decision that quickly, no matter how good the interview goes. There is always a process of comparison. They need to talk to at least two more candidates, sometimes more. Almost always there is a second interview and maybe a third, then time to draft the offer, time for consideration and acceptance. I never heard back from that recruiter. In fact, I’ve allowed a half dozen of those types of recruiters to present me to their “client” and I’ve yet to receive an interview offer from any of them. I haven’t heard back from any of them. I also didn’t spend much time or effort with them. I think you get out of it what you put into it.
Your time is precious. Even when unemployed where you are perceived to have all of the free time you want, those of us who are, or who have been, in this situation, know that this time off is NO vacation. There is no time to relax. It’s stressful! Every day we are trying to network, interview and have meaningful conversations to find a job.
My advice this time is to spend your time with the first classification of recruiters. Those that are local, get to know you as a person, and have legitimate contacts and a track record of placing candidates with the employers you are interested in. Best of luck to you!
Your comments at the bottom of the page are always welcome. You can also write to me at my email address below and I’ll get back to you. Best of luck to you on your search!