Let’s address the elephant in the room before it sits on someone. Well…let’s re-address it…
Many people have not had excellent experiences with recruiters. For instance, you may have had a recruiter take your resume and even interview you, but promptly vanish into thin air. That, or spend a lot of your time initially, then want to discuss and send your resume to companies that really aren’t what you’re looking for. Perhaps they even have the compensation incorrect, suggested a job that was effectively a demotion, or just didn’t take the time to listen to you in the first place. They may have even sent your resume to a company without consulting you first…I mean, really? Who does that?
Obviously, working with a recruiter can be a frustrating experience if you don’t choose the right one. That’s why we compiled three tips to help you identify a recruiter you can trust…because at the end of the day, everyone’s time is valuable and no one should be wasting yours.
Choose a recruiter with a specialty
Some companies (ahem, Greythorn) have specific industries they focus on. They’re able to delve deep into an industry, build long-term relationships with companies that might be hiring, gather the latest industry intel, and in short truly understand what your resume is actually saying about you and your experience.
“Part of the value in working with a respected recruiter is the direct relationship they have developed with hiring managers,” explained Erin Herda, the National Recruiting Manager for Greythorn’s Healthcare IT Practice. “Your resume is presented to the decision maker and doesn’t go into an electronic black hole.”
An experienced recruiter will need to protect their relationship with the decision maker. That’s great for you, since it means your recruiter will be careful about how you are presented, and will only share roles with you that may initially be an awesome fit—instead of shooting it out blindly in hopes that someone will eventually bite.
A great recruiter also comes armed with information about what other people with similar backgrounds are commanding in salary/pay rates and benefits—within your industry and sometimes even within the company that’s hiring—and will negotiate with and for you to ensure you’re paid competitively. They will often secure continuing education, mid-year merit increases, and other performance or career advancement opportunities, that will be built into your offer.
Choose a recruiter who pushes back
According to Susan Romine, a Greythorn recruiter in the Healthcare IT space, her job isn’t always high fives and happy news—sometimes it entails having to say ‘no’ and pushing back, effectively having to educate candidates on the reality of the market.
“A recruiter should serve as a barometer for the candidate, helping him or her set realistic expectations for the marketplace. In one instance, I’ve had a candidate who thought I was asking him to settle for less. I was able to provide cost of living comparisons and growth opportunities within the company, as well as a better understanding of what the long term benefits of this career move meant. Sometimes, even with a lower base salary, a position can offer a higher quality of life and better trajectory for the candidate’s professional aspirations.”
You need a great recruiter who is willing to not only push back, but one who will also explain why. They should be obliged to provide you the right information and tools to help you make the right choice for your career. They’ll accomplish this by leveraging their industry connections and experience, and passing this intel on to you. In the end, it’s about truly being connected, and a nine-to-five recruiter just flat out isn’t.
Choose a recruiter who is upfront with you
If your recruiter hasn’t shared a salary range for a specific position, that yellow flag is waving to get your attention. Your recruiter should already know the current market rates and the particulars surrounding what the company is able to provide—not only in terms of salary, but also regarding bonuses, incentives, work options, and other perks that might not end up in the final offer letter. That’s information you need and your recruiter should be providing. Let’s face it, you don’t need someone who just submits your resume to hiring managers—you’re entirely capable of doing that yourself. Your recruiter is valuable when he or she gets the scoop on a company and position, shares it with you, and matches your education, background, and work style to the right company, right position, and right compensation package. No one has time to waste.
Getting those aspects correct is the challenge, and it’s why great recruiters are compensated well for their efforts.
As a candidate, it may be difficult to manage well a targeted salary conversation with a prospective employer. Ask for too much and you may potentially find yourself priced out of the running; on the other hand, requesting a salary package that’s too low could leave money on the table. Great recruiters recognize and address this apprehension with logic, facts, and best practices. They will manage this entire process directly and in close collaboration with you and for you.
Greythorn HIT recruiter Renata Brophy says this approach is appreciated. “I have candidates tell me all the time they feel relief knowing salary ranges upfront,” she said. “Knowing upfront allows both the client and the candidate to focus their interview time on the most important components: skills, experience, and culture fit.”
In closing, like with sports agents, financial analysts, or even dance moms (yeah, crazy…), there’s often a clear delineation between those that are great and the rest who are just average or even bad. So when you find a trustworthy recruiter, he or she is worth sticking with.
We’d love the chance to prove ourselves if you’re in the market for a new position—check out the jobs we have open, and reach out if they sound like a good fit.
We do research every year on the salaries, benefits, rates and total compensation packages people can expect in healthcare IT and in the open source, big data markets. Request a copy of the latest report; it just hit the streets last month.