Do you have a professional recruiter in your corner? If the answer is no, why not?

If you are an employee, chances are, at some point you’ll be looking for a new job. Having a proactive relationship with a recruiter who understands your motivations can make changing jobs relatively painless.

Let’s be honest. The best time to establish a relationship with a recruiter is when you don’t need one. You don’t want desperate times to force you to work with a recruiter you don’t particularly like. Since this relationship can support your long term career goals, I’d recommend connecting with someone you actually like talking to, and whose opinion you value, long before you are thinking of making a move.

Here are the top 10 reasons you need your own recruiter relationship:

  1. Honesty – A good recruiter tells you like it is. They won’t present you with a pipe dream of fame and fortune. They will, however, tell you what you’re actually worth in the marketplace, ways in which to optimize your employment package and represent you accordingly.
  1. Marketing & story telling – They’ll help you to define your unique value proposition and coach you on how to market and sell your skills. In my experience, most candidates are not comfortable with promoting their achievements in a way that resonates to a hiring authority. By understanding the features and benefits of your candidacy, your recruiter’s goal is to put you in front of the right people, at the right time.
  1. Trust – You might be surprised what a recruiter knows about their candidates. People will tell you an awful lot about their personal lives when they trust you. Candidates should feel assured that their recruiter will treat their discussions in confidence. It’s these discussions that determine where, and how, a candidate will be best presented.
  1. Word on the street – They get the gossip, the mystery, and the dirt. Whatever way you want to slice it, recruiters hear all kinds of things from their network that help paint a real picture of the culture and dynamics of a company, minus the PR buzz. They hear all about the micro-managers, the screamers, the great boss, and of course, what happens on “Beer Friday”. It’s not bad, nor good news. It can simply be helpful information you might not ordinarily have access to when considering your next move.
  1. Exclusivity & reputation – Remember that girl everybody dated in high school? You know, the easy one that got around? Don’t be her. Find a recruiter and go steady. Have someone you trust managing your reputation in the market place. If a client sees your information being shopped by a number of different recruiters and your info is on job boards, well, I’m sure you know how that works out. It’s simple, clients are looking for great candidates they don’t readily have access to.
  1. Relationship management – As a passive candidate, your recruiter knows you’re not ready to make a move right now. However, they’ll stay connected so that when you are ready, they’ll be able to present you with opportunities that meet your search criteria. Once the ball gets rolling, your recruiter is responsible for setting expectations and keeping everyone on track. Ultimately, you want your recruiter to care about your career and your personal goals as much as you do.
  1. There is no financial obligation for you – Recruiters have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and must always proceed in their clients’ best interests. This is why I think it makes perfect sense for you to have an established relationship with a recruiter. Given that recruiters are obliged to find the best talent for their client’s openings, you want to be top of mind when they’re looking. It costs you nothing to have this relationship. Think of your recruiter as your own personal inbound marketing machine. If they think you could be a fit for their client, they bring the leads to you.
  1. Convenience – It’s stressful, and can be outright difficult, to find a full-time job, especially if you are currently working. A recruiter relationship removes many of the tasks associated with finding opportunities from your to-do list and moves them onto their to-do list. The research, introductions, sending resumes and project lists, follow-up calls, setting up appointments, reference checks, compensation clarification, chasing offer letters, etc. are all part of the search process and your recruiter typically takes the lead on managing these takes.
  1. They speak your language – Good recruiters know a job description is just that – a description. We’ve all seen those job ads with 7 sections and 8 points per section of “must haves” (I have wrote plenty of them myself!). Your recruiter should know what parts are most important to the success of a particular role and how to best leverage your skills and experience for the position. While they won’t always know every nuance of your job, they shouldn’t present you with positions that are not in your desired wheelhouse.
  1. Access – And finally, one of the best reasons to have a recruiter in your corner is access. They have access to decision makers and unpublished openings that are often never made public and can set up interviews with companies that many candidates could not access because of their client relationships. On many occasions, informal “cups of coffee” have been set-up without even presenting a resume. Their word is good, so candidates and clients trust them to not waste their time. It’s simple, if they don’t think you’re a fit for a position, they’ll tell you why. If they do, they will fight for you to be seen by their clients.

Ultimately, the best reason to have a recruiter relationship is their desire to help you get you to your dream job. It might be via your first interview, or it might be 3 years down the track. But, having a professional recruiter in your corner can only improve your chances of being presented to companies you most admire.

Image Credit: Dennis Hill