There may not be many vacancies in your field these days, but that doesn’t mean you should cut ties with your recruiter. In fact, now is a good time to start building the relationship – don’t wait until the market recovers and everyone else is competing for their attention.
Don’t assume you already know it all. Good recruiters keep in close contact with employers and they understand the long-term needs of the industry. Kevin Jarvis, director, Robert Half International, says consultants should pass on this information to you, offering insights into which new skills will aid your career. “We often work with the key decision makers in a company to develop specific job descriptions that speak directly to the overall business strategy and changes in the marketplace.”
Recruiters can help you stay ahead of the competition and prepare for the next opportunity. Graeme Bradley, director, Marks Sattin, says having an extended relationship means the recruiter may be more enthusiastic about introducing you to employers.
“You will also be front of mind for any opportunities that do come onto the consultant’s radar,” he says. “These advantages are magnified in temporary markets and at junior levels, where timing is essential and the broad level of skills may be secondary to team fit or even availability.”
Suitable candidates who are already in a recruiter’s network will typically be considered first before the search is broadened, says Bradley. “The quicker we can help our clients find the right person to join their team, the better – but not at the expense of quality and correct fit.”
Making contact on a regular basis, even during the current market, is important – just don’t overdo it. “There is no hard-and-fast rule in relation to how often a professional should contact their recruitment partner, as it really depends on their personal stage in the job search process,” says Jarvis. “As a general guide though, once a month is sufficient.”
Bradley adds: “An experienced consultant will also indicate throughout the process how the frequency of communications will change … But if your consultant is looking to catch up for coffee every five minutes, I would be concerned.”
A good recruiter should also be discreet, says Jarvis. “The job search process can be, and often is, kept confidential. Being clear that you would like to keep your search confidential at the beginning of your relationship with a recruiter is recommended.”