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An IT Contractor’s View Relating to Recruiters

“Thank you for reading my resume and for the opportunity of this position.” That is often the phrase, or one similar to it, that I say when talking with a recruiter for the first time regarding a position sent to me in an email. Life as a contractor is a road full of chance, luck, and discovering ways to increase the odds of success in getting the next work assignment. One of the ways to increase success is to be noticed by recruiters and to form a quick relationship of value to stay in their minds as they work to pair jobs with your resume and career path.

I am twelve years into my career and, to be honest, I am not where I “expected to be in 10 years”, as all the great books say when you first begin planning your new career. My twelve years of experience with recruiters has given me insight to know how to best relate to them for the benefit of the job search.

One experience comes from a period of time in an Instructional Design position where the Recruiting Department moved in with the Training and Learning Department. I was able to listen over the wall to some of their conversations and develop working friendships. I talked with the lead recruiter about the new candidates and he explained that it takes time to develop recruiting skills and become efficient. I do not envy the tasks of a recruiter; however, I do find the skills that bring them success interesting. If you understand their perspective, you will likely be able to position yourself for greater success.

The most common experience I have had with recruiters has been in the interview stage. After I post my resume across the web, I eventually get an email listing a position and some tag line such as: “Our records show that you have experience relevant to one of my current openings.” How many of you have received this kind of letter?

The next step in this process is replying to the email, followed by setting up a phone call, an in-person interview, or both.  The most positive recruitment experiences I’ve had have been the ones where I believe the following values or skills exist within the recruiter:

1. The recruiter asks questions to get to know you, your value, and your related skills.

To help their efficiency, providing the recruiter with a “cheat sheet” about yourself may reduce search time to match you with the jobs where you fit best.

2. Follow up with your recruiters and keep them interested in your career. Be sure to document and track any communication you have with your recruiter.

I am beginning to see that recruiters face the trap of becoming “quick sales” agents. I am sure that recruiters, individually, have a delicate balance in a company’s budget sheet between being seen as a cost center or revenue stream. I can only hope that a balance of relationship soft skills mixed with performance efficiency is being encouraged to maintain the symbiotic relationship between contractors and recruiters. Both parties rely on one another. Do your best to maintain a positive, “win-win” mindset when working with recruiters.

3. Integrity and genuineness are still skills that build success in any career path.

This is a foundational business relationship skill that can ultimately lead you to landing the job. I believe there are basic skills that prove worthy and successful every time: genuine integrity, positive attitude, clear communication, and a partnership for success.

Best of luck to all of those working with a recruiter and hopefully these ideas will increase your professional growth in the coming months.

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