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Today’s post is written by Clay Johnson of Technical Engineering Consultants

So you’re in the market for a new job, either looking for greener pastures or because you’re out of work.  Reviewing the plethora available, you find that some positions are posted by the hiring company, while others are posted by staffing firms, AKA recruiters.  Alternately, if you posted your resume online, you may have been called.  We recruiters are, of course, working to find suitable candidates for our clients and in some cases, for the same companies as those you found yourself.

First, let’s dispel some rumors and misconceptions:

  1. There is no secret, unpublished job market where only the elite get to play. However, thanks to the internet and job boards, there are a large number of extremely selective employers out there who are willing to wait for their ideal candidate. What recruiters DO know are those companies and hiring managers who are hot to hire immediately vs. simply trolling for the perfect candidate should one come along.
  2. No recruiter in their right mind will ever stand in your way or manipulate a situation to interfere with you getting a job you’re qualified for.
  3. Recruiting is a very competitive business, and while cases of customer abuse via predatory pricing practices do occur, it’s the customer who gets gouged.  Over time the market usually weeds out those bad actors and they lose their accounts.  In summary –  If you’re underpaid, you accepted too little.
  4. With respect to #3, above, the hiring company pays the costs of recruiting, in addition to your pay.  The employment market prevents taking it out of the employee’s hide.  Think about it in terms of supply and demand.

Most of us in the recruiting business are honest, hard-working individuals with families to feed and lights to keep on, just like you.  Recruiting is hard work, entails long hours and lots of creative thinking.  That said, I often find myself apologizing for my industry.

Here are a few ground rules that can help you build an effective and positive relationship with a recruiter.

Know what you want

–       Target Jobs: Decide for yourself what you are truly qualified to do for a living, and can demonstrate in writing on your resume.  You must lay out the value proposition AT THE TOP of your resume.  For that reason we’re very opinionated about the proper form and format of a resume.  As you are likely aware there are about as may opinions out there as cowboy hats.  So I’ll leave that subject for another rant.

–       Acceptable pay rate: We all want $200,000 salaries, helicopter commuting to and from work, and a personal masseuse on call.  It’s important that you determine what you really need in realistic terms and can communicate hard and firm limits to your recruiter.  You’ll avoid wasting everyone’s time and set manageable expectations.  Draw realistic lines for me, and trust my opinion as to whether I can find you work at the price you set.  If we’re in agreement, then I’ll work hard to find you a match.  Remember, that’s how I make money.  I need to make this happen for you, it’s how I pay the rent.

–       Acceptable commute:  How far are you really willing to drive to and from work?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve identified a match made in heaven where suddenly a candidate who was willing to commute 50 miles, suddenly becomes a little shy and reserved when presented with the reality of an hour long commute.  Know, in both travel times and mileage radius, how far you’re really willing to go and then make it clear to your recruiter.

–       Benefits requirements: Like it or not, health, dental, disability, vacation time, sick time, 401K, and other benefits cost real money.  If you need insurance, make sure you tell your recruiter specifically what you need.   Likewise, if you have coverage elsewhere, be sure to let me know.

Overall be realistic in your goals, and you won’t be disappointed.

I’ll be back soon to discuss how to maintain the relationship that you’ve built and what you should disclose to your recruiter.