ALC Consulting

April 15, 2009

Dear Abby

Filed under: Contracting,Networking,Recruiters — Anne Cloward @ 1:24 pm
Tags: , ,

Dear Abby,
I am a reasonably attractive single woman with a degree and a good job. My friends all say I am reasonably well adjusted. My problem is why can’t I find a guy? You know, “the one?” Where do I begin to find him? Can you suggest some places to look for him?

Lonely in the Northwest

For years I have read variations on this post and Abby’s advice is to get busy, start hanging out with people who share your common interests, and even go to church. She suggests avoiding bars.

The same problem exists when you try to find the good recruiters. How do you find the good ones? Where do they hang out? How can you meet them?

They hang out in their offices, on the Internet, at professional meetings such a local special interest groups, and anywhere people are prone to gather to conduct business. I have a secret for you; they are just as anxious to meet up with you, if you are a well qualified candidate and work with you. Good recruiters are always willing to add new people to their list of candidates.

Over the past 11 years, I have worked with many recruiters and they have come into my life in various ways. Here are the most successful ones:

  1. Ask contractors you know for the names of their recruiters. Ask them if you can use their name and then contact the recruiter. Since many recruiting firms offer a referral bonus, contractors are willing to recommend you to their recruiters.
  2. Ask for recommendations on Linkedin from any of your contacts and groups. People are willing to share their experiences and help. If they are in Linkedin, that’s a sign they are open contacts with new people.
  3. When looking at job openings on the Internet, take note of companies and recruiter’s names. Contact them. Recruiting firms often have their niche, and you want to find the ones who place people who do what you do. Have a well-crafted résumé ready to send to them.
  4. Attend networking meetings, both general and specialized. Often recruiters are featured speakers. If a recruiter is speaking, get his or her card and contact them. Introduce yourself to the recruiter. Give your 30 second speech. Hand out your business card and produce a hard copy of your résumé if asked. Follow up with a brief email and electronic copy of your résumé.

Or, contractors may find you. If you have posted your résumé on any of the career boards (Monster, Dice or CareerBuilder), you will have contractors calling and seeking you out.

After initial introductions, a recruiter may want to pursue a relationship with you. The next step could be a phone screening interview. During this time, the recruiter tries to get to know you and may ask you more detailed questions about your work experience and history.

You may instead be asked to come into the contracting firm’s office for a face-to-face interview. Handle this as you would any formal business interview. Dress accordingly. Just because you won’t be working every day with this person, he or she is trying to decide if they want to present you to potential clients. Even if you meet off site somewhere, as in a restaurant or coffee shop, this is still a business meeting.

Avoid the temptation to badmouth past bosses or companies. No town is too big for them not to know someone who works there. Like ex-spouses or boyfriends, casting dirt on them will only get some spread on you. The boss who drove you nuts with his passive aggressive behavior or the one who never reviewed your work should not be mentioned.

It’s also fine for you to interview the recruiter. Ask about the company. How long has the recruiter been with the company? Who are their major clients? How many people have they placed in the past few months? What types of workers do they place? What is their general philosophy as a company?

After your meeting, follow up with an email or written thank you note. Trust me on this one It’s just good manners to do this.

A sign of a poor recruiter is the willingness to skip this step. Recruiters who call you from across the country and don’t take the time to screen you, but ask for your résumé and permission to submit in a first email or phone call, are usually not very good. Know these for the frogs they are, and hold out for the real thing, a prince or princess.

As with a dating relationship, maybe you may never hear from a recruiter again. But you may hit pay dirt and find some excellent ones who having met you, will go to bat for you and help you in your job search. I have met recruiters who had nothing specific for me at the time, but called back weeks, or even months later with an opportunity, remembering me from our first meeting. As one excellent recruiter once told me, “It’s not about the job; it’s about relationships.”

If you honestly don’t like the recruiter or just feel that you cannot work with him or her, then politely let them disappear back into the woodwork.

Following these suggestions should start you on building your network of recruiters, and eventually finding contract or full time work.

Next: Boutique Recruiting.



  1. I’ve also heard the question asked: “Who do the recruiters work for?” The answer is: “The Hiring Companies.” This means its going to be a challenge to get them to go much beyond ‘Standard Working Policies’ to help you out. It is a challenge, but not impossible. One way to get the recruiters on your side is to offer to help them out. Tell them that you are an active networker, then ask them if they have any jobs that they are having a hard time filling, then offer to ‘work’ your network to help find them some good candidates… Now you’ve got a requiter that will be much more responsive to helping you with your search!

    Comment by Scott — April 15, 2009 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Scott. I like your attitude.

    Comment by Anne Cloward — April 15, 2009 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

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