|Ask all the right questions
So you take a recruiter's call. All clear on the cubicle front; your neighbors are in a meeting. And you're itchy. So you decide to talk. Here are some questions experts suggest you ask to determine how solid the recruiter (and his or her organization) are: Are you salaried, or do you work on commission? Experts say there are plenty of outstanding recruiters who work on commission. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that if a headhunter doesn't get paid until you get placed, he or she faces additional pressure--and may be more inclined to guide you toward a job that doesn't suit you. Will you tell me about every position you send my resume for?"Watch out for resume blasters," Hines advises. Some recruiting firms actually refuse to divulge where your resume is going. It's fair to wonder whose best interests they have in mind. What client organizations have you worked with recently?This is simple: You can judge a recruitment firm by the company it keeps. Do you specialize in IT placement?There are plenty of top recruiters that don't. However, some experts think specialization is a must. "They can't be a one-stop shop today unless they're huge," says John Putzier, president of HR consultancy FirStep. May I speak to some recent IT pros you've placed?"If you're reputable, you shouldn't have any trouble finding someone to vouch for you," Hines says.
|"One overlooked benefit of recruiter call is the reality check. Find out where you stand in the marketplace. Are your peers at other companies getting bonuses, sabbaticals, stock? Ask the headhunter. "|
Tricks of the tradeSay you get a cold call from a headhunter. Maybe you're in a great mood. Maybe you're feeling itchy. For whatever reason, you're willing to listen. Moreover, you're flattered. Admit it: It's nice to be recruited. But that good feeling doesn't last long. The recruiter describes a juicy opening and then crushes your ego by saying, "I wonder if you have any co-workers who might be interested in this position?" Co-workers? What are you, chopped liver? Well, puff your ego back up: It's really you the recruiter wants. "They're waiting for you to say, 'Hey, I might be interested in that job myself,'" says John Putzier, president of FirStep Inc., a human resources consultancy in Prospect, Pa. The misdirection play is part of the delicate, often silly, negotiation dance. Here's the thing to remember: If you express interest in the position, your value may drop. You're no longer a "passive job-seeker," in the recruiter's lingo. So if a recruiter describes a job and you're interested, you can maximize your value by playing hard to get. "Don't say, 'Thank God you called! I hate my job!'" Putzier says. Tell the recruiter you may know somebody; you'll ask around and call back. Be sure to get a salary range. If you do call back, tell the headhunter you'd like to hear more about the position yourself--but you're only interested in the very high end of that salary range, of course. What's in it for you So how do you squeeze the most horsepower out of your first contact with a recruiter? First, if you're looking--or thinking about looking--you should know what you're looking for, says Dan Hines, a technical search manager at recruiting firm Pencom Systems Inc. in Reston, Va. Do you want more money? A chance to work with a specific technology, or in a certain geographic area? More responsibility? "If you can convey that to a recruiter, it'll help," Hines says. "Have a solid understanding of what it would take for [you] to move on."