When you’re looking for a new job, a great recruiter can help you maximize your options and ensure that you get paid what you deserve.
According to Forbes, only about 39% of people negotiate their salary when they last changed jobs, which means that most of them left money on the table. A recruiter who understands your industry will know the market price for your skills and help you pull every penny off the table when it comes time to determine your compensation package.
Of course, an intimate knowledge of your industry is just one of many qualities that make a remarkable recruiter. That said, it is one of the four most important attributes that lift a recruiter above the rest. In addition to this in-depth knowledge, you’ll want your recruiter to have good listening skills, be readily available when you need them, and be willing to provide constructive criticism.
In-depth, intimate knowledge of your industry
If you need to dive into the minutia of the work you do to explain what your job is to your recruiter, that’s a surefire sign that you’re better off working with a different recruiter. Though your job title and duties might cause family members’ and friends’ eyes to glaze over, a great recruiter will intuitively understand your role in a company due to their familiarity with the industry.
After talking with you, a good recruiter will be able to use their insider knowledge of the industry to put you in touch with the right people. Additionally, they’ll be able to steer you away from companies and managers with dubious reputations — such pitfalls often look shiny and attractive at first blush.
A recruiter with an in-depth understanding of your industry will not only understand what types of job positions your skills make you most competitive for — they will also know where your experience and those skills put you in the job market. With this information, they can help you secure the best possible compensation package. Failure to negotiate your salary doesn’t just financially hurt you once: it continues to hurt you every time you collect a paycheck for as long as you are with the company.
Good Listening Skills
An exceptional recruiter doesn’t start spouting out advice before they get a feel for who you are and what you want. Any recruiter worth their salt is going to start by just listening to you. Despite this sounding like the most obvious thing in the world, far too many recruiters are so caught up in either placing large volumes of people that they don’t care about you enough to listen or they’re so egotistical that they can’t believe you have anything helpful to contribute to the conversation. You don’t want to be working with those kinds of recruiters.
What you need is a recruiter who does more than pretend to listen to you. You need a recruiter who will ask what you are looking for in your new job and what your long-term goals are. And, most importantly, you need a recruiter who will listen to your answers — adjusting their expectations and dialing in on the right job for you based on what you say.
At the end of that first talk with your recruiter, you want to hang up the phone feeling like your recruiter “gets you”. You want to feel that they really know who you are and where you see yourself on your career trajectory.
They’re Available to You
You don’t want to have a recruiter who keeps giving you the runaround. When you’re looking to advance your career with a position at another company, that leap is your number one priority, which means you want to work with a recruiter who is willing to make it their top priority, as well.
Working with a mediocre recruiter far too often means that you’ll find yourself calling them only to speak with a receptionist who doesn’t remember who you are, doesn’t care who you are, and is paid to run interference — preventing you from talking to your recruiter. Not only are interactions with such receptionist infuriating, but they do nothing to help you advance your career.
On the flip side, if you’re working with a top recruiter, they will personally answer your calls. Or, if they are with another client or are genuinely busy, they will promptly return your call.
It’s impossible to underestimate how important it is to have a recruiter who respects you and your time, by being available when you need them.
More Than a ‘Yes’ Man
If you wanted someone to blindly encourage you and agree with everything you say when preparing for an interview or when applying for jobs, save your money and dog-sit for someone: dogs are well-known for their eternal optimism and supportive nature. Of course, if you’re serious about working with a recruiter when seeking the best job, you want someone who is able to provide constructive criticism and help you grow.
Too often, job-seekers are blind to some of their own shortcomings. This can come in the form of undervaluing yourself, having poor interview skills, or being unprepared for the level of competition in the job market. A great recruiter will politely identify what your weakest link is so that you can focus on it and move into the job market with more confidence—and success.
Final Thoughts: What Makes an Outstanding Recruiter?
A remarkable recruiter is going to do a whole lot more than just get you a job. They are going to listen to you and use their intimate understanding of your industry to place you in the best possible positions. Because a top recruiter listens to you when you explain your short-term and long-term career goals, they will know what the best possible job is for you, rather than attempt to force a square peg in a round hole.
Lastly, and most importantly, an outstanding recruiter will know your market value and ensure that you get the best possible compensation package when you sign on with a new company
Tell us about your recruiter success stories—and horror stories—in the comment section below!