Rick Sanders has studied the IT staffing and services industry from every angle. As former head of marketing at MATRIX, he understands the (sometimes conflicting) motivations of hiring managers, consultants, and IT job seekers. Along the way, Rick has participated in the evolution of marketing from the print, to digital interactive, social and beyond. Working now as a contractor, Rick offers acute insight into the contracting world based on his own experience.
Employed? Here’s Why You Still Need a Career Agent
Not looking for a job? Great. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your eyes open. It's a job candidate's market right now, so you never know if a better opportunity is waiting around the corner.
Tech pros who are already employed are highly marketable, in demand, and able to dictate what they’re looking for in their next role.
There’s a lot you can do while already employed to set the stage for your next great job opportunity. One of the best strategies is to build a two-way relationship with a trusted recruiter, from whom you will get individualized treatment.
Using a recruiter is like using Waze
Using a recruiter is like using a traffic app like Waze that gives you alerts about what’s going on ahead of you (or around you) to help make more informed decisions about your commute/career.
Microsoft front-end developer Abbey Gwayambadde said that finding a great recruiter is like “finding a very powerful tool”, especially in the consulting world. “My recruiter Liz knows my personality really well,” he said. “She knows what I care about and what kind of companies would catch my interest. She sends me email alerts when she sees one. It builds a lot of trust between us, even when I am not looking.”
According to stress.org, work-related changes account for three of the top 20 most stressful life events that a person will have to deal with. So why not develop peace of mind that comes with having a “career agent” in your corner, if something suddenly does go awry with your current job. It’s a great hedge against layoffs that costs you nothing, except some time and effort to build a relationship. “In the back of my mind, I always know that Liz is looking for me,” Gwayambadde said.
A good recruiter can help gauge the pulse of what is going on in the industry. One MATRIX Recruiter says she freely offers consultants insight into the hiring market. “What skills are hottest? What do pay rates look like for my skill set? What is trending for growth? Are you looking to modify your skill set or get your hands into a new technology? Ask us how often we see those skills in our market. It may be what you want to hear or be the advice that saves you valuable time on a skill that isn’t worthwhile,” she said.
Networking is another area where a recruiter can help. Recruiters have excellent networks, often familiar with hundreds of companies and thousands of contacts within them. Do you have a dream company you are targeting? Your recruiter may be able to provide an introduction to someone who works there who you can talk to. Curious about specialized local groups, but don’t know where to start? Chances are, your recruiter can introduce you to the groups or members involved.
Ask not what your recruiter can do for you
There is a “quid pro quo” that goes along with all this information sharing. And your recruiter may ask you to tap into your knowledge or your contacts to help her do her job better. For example, referrals or questions about the company you are working with. “If my company needs other services or individuals, I will let her know about it so she can get a jump on the competition,” said Gwayambadde, who added that since he knows the company well he can provide informed advice about what they are looking for. Most staffing companies provide handsome referral fees if somebody you refer ends up getting hired.
A recruiter can also benefit from a passive candidate’s knowledge base when considering other candidates for placement. “She knows my skill set so well,” said Gwayambadde, “so she can use me as a sounding board when determining how successful they will be, other technologies they can learn, how easily they will fit in, etc.”
All in all, it’s a win-win for everyone. Have you worked with a recruiter who has acted as your own personal career agent? Let us know in the comments.
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