Working with a Recruiting Firm 101
You’re an emerging professional with a slew of internships, an expensive degree (and the debt to show it), and little direction in establishing your professional life.
When searching the job market many people weigh the pros and cons of interviewing at a recruiting firm. There are several different types of agencies; some do permanent placement, others that do temp-to-hire, and others that operate on a temporary basis only. As with any industry there are very reputable companies and others that you may not want to invest your time and personal information in.
Temporary positions can be a great way to gain some experience, but they can also be a black hole. While you need to pay your bills, you won’t continue to develop your skillset if you’re starting from square one every three months; and you definitely don’t want your resume to give off the impression that you’re a job hopper to more serious long-term employers. It is essential to strategize your career moves so that you are constantly developing new skills, doing work that you can find happiness in, as well as getting fair compensation.
What a Recruiter can do to assist you in your search:
- Help organize your skills and experience to help you put your best foot forward in the job hunt.
- Offer resume and interview advice. They’re the experts, this is their livelihood. Someone that has gone through hundreds of resumes per week for years will have great insight on how to best market you, and how to discern “fluff” from fact.
- They can set up interviews for you and coach you on how to best appeal to different employers.
What a recruiter can’t do:
- Give you experience that you don’t have. If you want to be an architect- you have to have the foundation (pun intended) and your bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising doesn’t count.
- “Get you a job” a recruiter will send you on interviews and connect you with potential employers- but ultimately you have to sell yourself well. Even if your recruiter sets you up for foolproof success, they can’t fix a bombed interview or a failed drug test.
What to Look for in Recruiters
- Go to a recruiter that specializes in placements in your industry. They’ll have great insight for how the companies in your field operate.
- Go to established recruiters. Recruiters that have some time under their belt will have a nuanced understanding of the market trends.
- More specifically, use a recruiter that knows your geographic location and is willing to meet face-to-face. If you’re looking to work in the Seattle market a recruiter based in Chicago won’t be able to assess your valuable inter-personal skills or truly evaluate a personality fit.
- Someone that you can be open with about your work history and career objectives are. You want to have open communication with your recruiter- and let them know exactly what you’re looking for.
- Their online presence. Any recruiting firm should have a social media presence to put a face to a name.
- Be selective! Make sure that you want this person representing you.