Working with an executive recruiter to find work is a lot like life – the more you put into, the more you get out of it. It also works the other way around. If you throw your hands in the air and expect your job recruiter to do all the work, you’re probably going to stay unemployed for a long time. For the record, headhunters aren’t miracle workers, and believing that they are puts you in a pretty bad position. If you want to make the most of the opportunity, you’re going to have to learn to work with them. Which means accepting some facts and following a few hard and fast rules.
· The relationship between you and an executive recruiter may not be what you think it is. The fact is, they partner with you to help you find employment opportunities – but they don’t work for you. Their top priority is to the companies that contract them to find job candidates. Keep this in mind and behave like a partner, not like a demanding customer.
· Learn to keep your commitments and to act on the recruiter’s requests. For example, if a recruiter asks you to update your resume or take a typing test to determine your skill level, don’t flake out on them. If they feel you’re not capable of coming through with small tasks, they’re a lot less likely to consider you capable of coming through with larger ones – like showing up to work on your first day of a job they’ve lined up for you.
· Be honest. If you’re looking for work in the IT industry but have no experience, don’t fake it or make false claims. This kind of move will only backfire on you. Once that happens and the relationship begins to erode, your chances of finding work grow increasingly slim.
· Keep yourself on their radar. Don’t expect a job recruiter to chase you, especially since you’re the one who stands to gain the most out of the relationship. Stay in constant contact to keep yourself at the forefront of your recruiter’s mind.
· Understand that you’re not unique. Although this may fly in the face of what your mother told you when you were growing up, bringing ego into the relationship between you and your recruiter is only a recipe for disaster. It’s one thing to have self-confidence and another thing entirely to expect a headhunter to work miracles. Listen to their feedback and take action on it. If an executive recruiter suggests that you work on certain skills to make yourself more appealing to potential employers, don’t take offense. Instead, heed their advice.
Ultimately, your odds of finding work depend greatly on your ability to maintain the utmost level of professionalism with your recruiter. If you can’t do that, don’t expect to find employment any time soon.