Working with IT Recruiters

Sooner or later you're going to get a call from a recruiter -- or call one yourself. You're an Oracle pro? A Java genius? More than likely, you're already inundated with calls. All that attention can be daunting. Do you even want to work with a recruiter? What should you expect when working with one? Before you decide you want a recruiter on your side, check out these answers to common questions about working with recruiters.

Can a recruiter help me sort through my options?

Look to a recruiter for advice on your career, but remember, it's your career, not the recruiter's, and the ultimate decision about what jobs you seek is yours. Recruiters can help you determine where your skills fit into the marketplace or whether you need additional training. They have their pulse on the market and on what's hot and what's not, and that's a valuable asset to you.

Do I need a certain amount of experience to work with a recruiter?

IT recruiters typically work with people with several years of experience, but that varies, depending on an individual's expertise and education, the field and the recruiter's own areas of specialization. As you would expect, the more experience you've got -- and the greater demand for it -- the better off you'll be finding a recruiter. If you're just getting into the industry, you may have a rough time getting a recruiter to talk to you; companies don't want to pay a recruiter to fill an entry-level job when they've got stacks of resumes available to them. Still, just because one recruiter tells you he doesn't want to work with you, that doesn't mean another one won't be interested. Just like finding a job takes time, so does finding the right recruiter.

What if a recruiter asks for an "exclusive"?

If you're a hot candidate with skills in serious demand, a recruiter may ask for an "exclusive." That means the recruiter would represent you for a period of time -- a week, let's say -- with the understanding that you wouldn't be working with other recruiters during that period. If you want to be a recruiter's top priority, give them an exclusive.

What qualities should I look for in a recruiter?

Look for a recruiter who's honest. Meet with the recruiter. You want someone who's a good listener and will respond to your phone calls or emails. Consider whether they know your particular industry segment, too. Be open and be honest about what you want.

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