What Everybody Ought to Know About Working with Agencies and Recruiters

By George Slaughter

Agencies and recruiters can help you find work more quickly and easily—provided you work closely with these firms for mutual advantage. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make things easier for everyone.

Be clear about the work you’re seeking.

In what kind of environment do you wish to work? For example, would you prefer to be in a team environment or do you work better alone? Would you prefer to be part of a large, publicly-held firm, or a smaller, privately-held firm?

What kind of duties do you want to perform? Is there a particular industry (aerospace, energy, medical, or something else) where you’d like to be? Are you seeking contract or permanent employment?

Finally, what kind of salary and benefits are you seeking? These questions come last. They come up only after the prospective employer has confidence that you have what it takes to do the work.

Do your homework on the agency or recruiter.

Focus on agencies and recruiters that work with your particular profession and industry. Not all do.

Do your homework by asking colleagues for referrals, and then investigate the names given to you by visiting their web sites. Is this agency or recruiter active with candidates in your profession and industry?

Treat the agency or recruiter as you would your prospective employer.

You must impress the agency or recruiter before it refers you to one of its clients. Accordingly, keep your communications professional. Make sure your resume, references, and portfolio are up to date and are at their best.

Think about the questions you could be asked during the interview, and how you might answer them. Also, think about how your work can help:

  • Increase revenues.
  • Cut costs.
  • Expand the customer base.
  • Increase profits.

Don’t expect the agency or recruiter to know all the details of your profession.

Agencies and recruiters work to fill positions with companies across many industries. The keywords “technical communicator,” for example, might mean something different to a large company with a technical communications team than a small company that simply needs someone to write a procedure.

When visiting with an agency or recruiter, make sure everyone is clear about precisely what is expected versus what your experience and talents can provide.

Expect no breaks just because your resume is on file with an agency or recruiter.

Applicants sometimes mistakenly think that the agency or recruiter works for them. Not so.

Agencies and recruiters work for the companies that pay them to find suitable candidates for work that must be done. If you’re that candidate, great.

The agency or recruiter is looking first for the best fit. Do all you can to make yourself that best fit.

Remember your bosses.

Finally, remember that when an agency or recruiter places you, and you begin your work, you answer to three bosses:

  • The agency or recruiter that placed you.
  • The client where you’ve been placed.
  • Your conscience.

Take charge and do right by your bosses, and you can move forward successfully.

About the Author

George Slaughter is a writer, editor, and content strategist. His web site is georgeslaughter.com.