Posted by Michael T. Robinson
Many people ask how they should go about selecting a professional recruiter (otherwise known as a headhunter). They frequently ask if we can recommend a few good recruiters that specialize in a particular field.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Recruiters select you. You don’t select them. Understanding this will allow you to get the most out of recruiters.
The process you will want to apply when utilizing recruiters is opposite the process a company uses when they use recruiters. A company may use one or two trusted recruiters when they do a search. On the other hand you will have to use a large number of recruiters (>500) that you probably know very little about.
That’s probably not what you wanted to hear.
Before you contact recruiters, you must know what type of work it is that you are looking for.
When you look for a recruiter, unless you are paying him or her out of your own pocket, or unless you are an extremely hot property, no single recruiter can afford to focus on you. The best you can hope for is to get into their database, their filing system, or better yet into their minds.
Since you don’t know which positions a recruiter might be trying to fill, and which companies a recruiter is working for, you need to contact a large volume of recruiters in hopes of finding one that has an interesting position, in your area of expertise, and at an interesting company.
You should select recruiting firms based on the fields they specialize in. When you do your research a recruiter, you will get a feel for whether they might cover your type of work. When in doubt put them on your mailing list. Worst case they will reply stating they don’t cover your field.
Remember your goal is to make yourself known to as many recruiters as possible. When you receive a call from a Recruiter you will have to make a good impression within the first minute or two. If you do a good job in the first few minutes they may want to conduct a longer phone interview. If you get past that stage they will either want to meet you in person, or they will line up an interview with the employer. Worst case they will make a few notes and put you in their database.
You should take the initiative to stay in touch with the few recruiters that do call you. Market yourself by positioning your name and your career plan in their minds.