This is the time of year when visions of a new job are rekindled. Having a great recruiter in your corner can be a huge advantage in this marketplace. With the myriad of recruiting firms out there, how do you know which one or ones are right for you?

Would you work with any attorney who called you? What about any mortgage lender who sends you an email? A recruiter may be the key to helping you land the position that launches your career in the right direction, yet many candidates work with any and all recruiters who reach out to them.

With a little work on the front end, you can wade through all of the confusion and find a great recruiter who will not only save you a great deal of stress, but may also help you land that dream job. Use these tips to help find the recruiter who is right for you:

  1. Ask for referrals – Talk to trusted colleagues or people within your professional network who have recently changed jobs
  2. Keep your resume off the job boards – Unless you don’t care who sees it, your resume is going to attract a lot of calls from recruiters, but most for positions that aren’t for you.
  3. Do your research and select a recruiter
    1. Make sure that they do work within your target market
    2. Ask about how they are paid – most recruiters are paid by the potential employer, so shy away from those that require you to pay
    3. Inquire about their client base. Most recruiters cannot tell you specifically which employers are their clients, but they should be able to tell you about the types of companies they work for.
    4. Ask about the background of the recruiter. A recruiter new to the industry isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as they work at a reputable firm and are driven.
    5. Understand their process. Ask questions and understand the expectations
  4. Approach it as you would any other business relationship.
  5. Meet the recruiter if possible. Just as it is valuable for the recruiter to understand who they are representing, it is as equally valuable to know who is representing you to the potential employer.
  6. Communication is key. Stay in contact throughout your search process. Be honest about your wants and needs. Make your recruiter aware of any changes in your status.
  7. Have realistic expectations. Most job searches take time, especially finding the right position.

A great recruiter can open doors to exiting opportunities, and help you navigate the search process effectively to land that dream job.