A lot or people ask me, “Ken, exactly how do I work with a professional recruiting firm” Glad you asked. Here are twelve tips that when followed will go a long way to help you develop a long term relationship with a good staffing agency.
Twelve Tips on Working with a Staffing Agency – Ken Lazar
1. Do your Homework – Go online and perform a Google search for recruiting firms that place employees in your field. Go on the recruiting firm’s website and determine if you feel that your occupation is in their core recruiting competency.
2. Contact your Target Companies – Contact the human resources department at your target companies (if you can get through) and ask them which recruiting firms place candidates in your field with them. Is there a particular recruiter they feel is very professional and like to work with?
3. Look at Job Postings – Once you have established your list of potential recruiting firms, review their job postings on their internal website and on the internet job boards. Are they currently looking for candidates in your field?
4. Find Your Recruiter – Do an extensive search on LinkedIn and find the names of the recruiters who work at your target recruiting firms. Recruiters are open networkers and very easy to find.
5. Make Contact – Call the recruiting firm and ask to speak with a recruiter in your field, or ask for one by name from your online and LinkedIn research. If the recruiter is not available, get the email address. Leave a message and call back. I suggest calling recruiters early in the day or last thing at night. Contact them after hours if you have their direct line.
6. Build Rapport – Have your elevator speech prepared when you make first contact. Understand that a professional staffing recruiter has a goal to meet each day for the number of candidates and hiring managers that she needs to contact. It’s a big number, so be brief, to the point and focused. A recruiter is always looking for a pipeline of good candidates in the positions that she recruits for. If a position is not available now, it may be tomorrow. Be pleasant…be positive…be brief. If the recruiter has an immediate need, she will engage you in additional conversation.
7. Be Available – New job orders come in every day. Usually, recruiters are required to submit initial candidates within 48 hours. If they can’t reach you, they go to the next available candidate. The client sets the schedule for interviews. Be available. Don’t ask to reschedule interviews once they are set or your competition will get the job.
8. Follow-up – There is a fine line between following up and being pushy…try not to cross it. Touch base with your recruiter via email each week. Do not expect a face-to-face interview with a recruiter unless they anticipate that you will be submitted for an open position.
9. Making Application – Recruiting firms all have various ways to enter you into their applicant tracking system. Follow their instructions, but I recommend that you always email your resume (in Microsoft Word format) to your recruiter.
10. Multiple Agencies – It’s OK to work with two or three firms, but never with the same client or for the same position. Never play this game. You will lose and get a bad reputation.
11. Become a Resource – You are in job transition and meet people every day that could be valuable candidates to your recruiter. Make candidate referrals. You may even get a referral fee. Inform the recruiter about companies that you have found that are hiring.
12. Be Memorable in a Positive Way – Recruiters never get personally written thank you notes. They never get donuts or bagels. No candidates ever take them out to lunch. Do you get my message?
Follow this advice and you will significantly increase your chances of finding a good, long-term contract position.
Ken Lazar, Founder