Working with a recruiter is like any other relationship, it requires effort from both parties. Here a few tips that I recommend:
- Return the recruiters call/answer their email. Never mind that it is simply rude to ignore a call made in good faith, it can also leave a bad impression with the recruiter, which may come back to haunt you if you ever need to look for a new job (see #3 below).
- Be honest. Don’t tell the recruiter you are ready to make a move if you are not just because you think they may work harder for you. If you’re happy in your current job, but willing to explore options, tell them that. If you have no interest in exploring a new opportunity then tell them that too. If you are honest about your situation you will begin to build trust and lay the foundation for a good professional relationship.
- Keep the line of communications open regardless of your current situation. Recruiters are typically very well-connected and great net-workers so having one or more in your professional network can only be a good thing.
- Treat the relationship like any other healthy relationship; be open to give and take. If a recruiter reaches out to you for networking or referrals be sure to respond, even if you don’t have anything. Let them know you’ll keep your eyes open. Refer them when talking with a colleague who mentions he/she is looking, or to a client who says they need a new recruiter. Paying it forward will always lead to good things.
- Be positive. Just like in an interview with a client be positive about your current and past employers. Remember, the recruiter is interviewing you as a potential candidate they want to work with and represent. If you bad mouth your current or past employers it may turn them off.
Obviously, you want to do some homework on the recruiter and/or his/her company before deciding you want to be associated, but once you are comfortable moving forward if you treat it like any other positive relationship I think you will find it healthy and beneficial.