Looking for work is rarely a task that IT professionals relish, especially in this economy, but it can be made easier with the help of a specialized staffing firm. These organizations often have extensive networks in the business community and can help open doors to consulting projects or full-time jobs that you might not otherwise hear about. They also can match your unique skills to assignments that suit your work preferences.
Professional recruiters have deep networks of business contacts within a wide range of companies and industries. While you are diligently scouring Internet and newspaper ads, they can uncover leads and vacancies that have not been advertised or even announced, giving you an advantage over job seekers who rely solely on information that is posted in the public domain. Recruiters also can serve as career advisers. In addition to working with you to refine your application materials, a skilled recruiting professional can offer guidance on everything from answering tough interview questions to how to dress for your first day of work.
To get the most out of working with a staffing firm, you need to know how to build an effective partnership with your recruiter. Here is some helpful advice:
Choose wisely. When choosing a recruiter, it’s important that you find someone who is an expert in the IT field, who will be able to understand your specific needs and the expectations of potential employers. Ask friends and colleagues for referrals. Also consider contacting a few recruiting professionals in your area to gauge the level of rapport you have with each. Above all, you must be comfortable with the person with whom you have partnered and confident that he or she has your best interests at heart. Also remember that you should receive a recruiter’s assistance free of charge. These individuals are paid a fee by companies to locate job candidates, so view with suspicion any recruiter who asks you to pay for job-search services.
Speak freely. When meeting with a recruiter for the first time, be open and honest about your background, experience and career aspirations. He or she needs to know as much about your professional life as possible to help find the right position for you. What are your salary requirements? Do you prefer working for a large or small firm? How are you keeping your skills up-to-date if you are in between jobs? The information you provide may prompt the recruiting professional to suggest other positions or career paths that you had not previously considered.
Loop back. If your recruiter arranges an employment interview for you, call to let him or her know how the meeting went. Your feedback can provide information that can be leveraged in follow-up communication with the prospective employer. This could pave the way to a second or final interview. By following up, you also may receive valuable insight into your interview skills and learn about any concerns expressed by the hiring manager. Throughout the relationship, be forthright in communicating any changes in your career needs or availability. If you’re participating in employment interviews that you’ve set up on your own, let your recruiting manager know. He or she may have contacts at the company and be able to help you secure the position.
Be patient. Although using the services of a skilled recruiter can improve your odds of landing a job, even the most successful recruiting professionals need time to find the appropriate position for the talent they represent. While IT hiring activity has slowed in some areas, don’t get discouraged. Recruiters continually mine their sources for job leads and may suddenly discover an opportunity that is right for you.
Dave Willmer is executive director of Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. Robert Half Technology has more than 100 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.rht.com.