Even people with healthy self-esteem and plenty of mojo can be thrown for a loop when they’re on a job hunt. When you’re working with a third-party recruiter (sometimes called a search professional or ‘headhunter’) or an employment agency, you might feel powerless. When the agency calls, you feel you have to jump. Here are questions and answers to help you get through your job search and your search firm or employment agency process without going crazy or giving up on the process altogether!
When a search person asks for my resume, do I have to hand it over?
Heck no! Your resume is your property. Before you hand over your resume, ask the search person or agency staff member what your resume will be used for. Don’t give anyone permission to send out your resume to any hiring employer until you’ve had a chance to ask questions about the search firm or employment agency’s history and credentials. You can find lots more advice on working with search firms in our When the Headhunter Calls Toolkit, here.
How many search firms or employment agencies should I work with at one time?
It is tempting to start calling agencies and recruiters and trying to sign up with all of them. The more the better, right? Your time is valuable though, and you’ve got to reserve time in your job-search schedule for your own job-search efforts, independent of your relationship with one or more temp firms, employment agencies or recruiters. Sign up with one agency first, wait a week, sign up with another one, and take it slowly. Each new relationship means time out of your day. If one firm is more responsive and has more suitable opportunities for you than other firms do, spend your time and energy on the people who are doing the most for you.
How do I find an agency or recruiter to represent me?
Start with your own friends and your business colleagues. Ask them if they can recommend a search professional, employment agency or recruiting firm for you to work with. Talk to several firms. Not every firm has suitable openings at any given time. Some of them may have plenty of job openings but perhaps not jobs that would be a good fit for you. Other firms might not want to work with you because your background doesn’t fit their area of specialization. That’s okay. Don’t be discouraged! Just as there is a perfect job for everyone, you’ll find an agency or recruiter to work with if you keep networking and keep your mojo high!
If your friends don’t know of a search professional or agency for you to talk with, use LinkedIn to search for search firms and employment agencies in your city.
Do recruiters or employment agencies provide career counseling or resume assistance?
Some recruiters and some agencies may give you tips on your resume or talk with you about interviewing Dos and Don’ts, but employment agencies and recruiters are paid by employers to find new hires. They are not career coaching firms. Don’t be disappointed if a recruiter or employment agency doesn’t have a lot of time to coach you on your career strategy. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a fantastic firm or tremendous recruiter. Their job is to find candidates for employers who are paying them. They don’t have time to give job-seekers free career coaching and advice.
Does it cost anything to work with a headhunter, recruiter or employment agency?
It doesn’t cost anything to work with third-party recruiters, headhunters or employment agencies. Employers pay their fees. Career coaching firms like Human Workplace (that’s us) get paid by job-seekers rather than by employers. That’s why we are able to spend lots of time and energy helping job-seekers get ready for their jobs searches and then get the materials, tools, muscles and mojo they need for a 21st-century job search and career!
Want more advice on working with recruiters or employment agencies?
We have two special offers on Human Workplace career tools!
Our When the Headhunter Calls Collection eBook contains ten of Human Workplace CEO and Founder Liz Ryan’s articles on job search techniques and working with recruiters. This 43-page eBook normally sells for $45 and is on sale for just $5.95 now!