Why Everyone Should Have a (Good) Recruiter
One of the biggest career-related misconceptions I've uncovered is that professionals are only in touch with recruiters when they are in the market for a new job. Sure, the job search is a natural time to connect, but the benefits of having a trusted career advisor in your network can have a profound positive effect over the course of your career. Here are three ways a recruiter can help you throughout your professional life.
1. The Career Coach
Recruiters come in all different shapes and sizes. Some act purely as brokers of job opportunities—so should the stars of timing and fit align then this transaction might benefit your career. But the recruiter who can provide consistent value over the course of your career, regardless of timing, becomes a true career advisor.
As a recruiter who services the Boston-based software product development community, I have a wealth of information to offer a Software Engineer in the process of building his or her career. I know which technologies startups are choosing for their core stack and which are becoming redundant and outdated. I know market salary information and can help candidates assess and value their own credentials.
Are you trying to position your technology skills to be as marketable as possible or want to keep your skills flexible outside of your employer's code base? Are you trying to find out how much of a salary increase you should ask for in your next annual review? The career coach recruiter can answer these questions and is eager to do so, even with the knowledge that you aren't in a position to consider a job change in the near-term. The career coach is the furthest thing from the transactional recruiter, and is always looking for ways to provide value to their candidates' careers, regardless of timing.
2. The Dream Job
I genuinely enjoy my work and the team I get to do it with. My employer checks all the boxes of what's important to me and there's no other company in the industry I'd rather be a part of. In short, I'm not on the market. Now, if Bill Belichick concocts a way he can use a software technology recruiter to bring home the next Super Bowl, I may be forced to reconsider. There exists for all of us that incredibly rare opportunity that makes us stop and listen to the possibilities, regardless of how happy we are with our current employment. We may not know what it looks like, and based on timing, we may not choose to pursue it. But it is fair to say that we would all like to know about it when something that unique comes along. The trouble is, the dream job is easy to miss if you're busy pressing ahead in your current role. The career advisor takes the time to understand what that dream job is and makes a mental note to alert you as soon as he or she sees it.
3. The rug just got pulled out. Who do you call?
When you are on the receiving end of a surprising conversation at work, you may realize you need to make a change. Whether you are informed that today is your last day or you realize the micromanagement style of your new boss is going to make life miserable, you need to act fast. But now isn't the time to develop a relationship with a recruiter; this is the time to leverage the relationships you have already established. Ideally, you have a trusted recruiter who knows what you're looking for and can mobilize quickly. In this scenario, the peace of mind of knowing you can immediately engage someone who can quickly fix the problem is worth all of the time spent developing and maintaining this relationship, and then some.
A good recruiter is one who acts as a career advisor and who can effectively provide the level of service professionals need throughout their career, whether seeking a new job or not. How do you know if someone is a good recruiter? The next time you're solicited for a relevant position, offer to have a chat while making it clear you're not looking to make a change. The recruiter who responds with an eagerness to connect and learn more about you and how he or she can provide value to your career over the long-term is someone with great potential.