Question: I'm preparing to launch my job search and know I need to work with recruiters. But what's the best way to find one if I don't already know any?
Answer: There are several ways to source possible recruiters to work with, but here are the ones I recommend the most:
- Ask everyone in your network to recommend any recruiters they know and/or have worked with successfully in the past.
- Attend a meeting or two of one or more professional associations and ask for recommendations from everyone in attendance. Or, if your professional association has an email list, listserv, blog, or discussion board, post your query.
- Talk to the colleagues and HR professionals in your current workplace. If the former don't know of anyone, the latter will. And if you don't want them to know you're job hunting, tell them you're sourcing leads for a family member or friend.
- Attend networking events - particularly those hosted by HR professional associations - in your community and ask attendees for their recommendations. You may find many recruiters at the meeting, and you are sure to hear recommendations from HR professionals.
- Ask a Career Coach. We often serve as intermediaries between candidates and recruiters and help bring the two sides together.
- Most job seekers are surprised to discover that many recruiter directories are available via the web for free. The wise job seeker will make strategic use of these directories to source a wealth of recruiters to contact. For my recommendations of directories to use, see the links included on the right side of this blog.
- When you find jobs of interest to you on job boards such as CareerBuilder or Monster, notice which recruiters are being used to source candidates. Even if you don't want to apply for a particular position, you should consider sending your resume to recruiters who fill the kinds of positions you are seeking.
- On some job boards you can search for recruiter-listed positions. This is another handy way to discover which recruiting firms are recruiting for what positions.
- Read employment, recruiting, and HR-related blogs. Recruiters often stop by, comment, and contribute to posts or articles. Watch for their posts and seek them out. Let them know where you learned about them and begin the process of building a relationship with them.
- Consider posting your request for recruiter recommendations on discussion boards and blogs you routinely visit. Keep your post simple, and be willing to invite offline communication if that offers more opportunity for sharing and protects the interests of the blog itself.
Anybody else have any other ideas? Share them so we can all benefit!