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Find a job that fits

SOONER OR LATER, you’re going to get a call from a recruiter. You’re an Oracle pro. A Java genius. More than likely, you’re already inundated with calls. All that attention can be daunting. Do you even want to work with a recruiter? What should you expect when working with one? Before you decide whether you want a recruiter on your side, check out these answers to common questions about working with recruiters.

One or more

In general, it’s best to work with several recruiters as it will provide you access to the widest range of options. Be sure to keep tabs on where your résumé is being submitted. If your résumé reaches a company from two different recruiters, that may disqualify you straightaway.

The reason? The company isn’t going to get into a battle with the recruiters over who represents you, says Karoline Hough, assistant branch manager at the St Louis office of IT staffing firm Bradford & Galt.

Exclusive choice

If you’re a candidate with skills in serious demand, a recruiter may ask for an “exclusive”. That means the recruiter would represent you for a period of time — a week, let’s say — with the understanding that you wouldn’t be working with other recruiters during that period.

“If you want to be a recruiter’s top priority, give them an exclusive,” says Hough. “In this market, where the demand far outweighs the supply, a two-week exclusive is probably enough.”

Take your pick

Look to a recruiter for advice on your career but remember it’s your career, not the recruiter’s, and the ultimate decision about what jobs you seek is yours. Recruiters can help you determine whether your skills are appropriate for the market or you need additional training. They have their pulse on the market and on what’s hot and what’s not. But remember, recruiters earn their money by placing you; so don’t rush to take a position just because a recruiter says you’d be the right fit for the job.

Experience counts

IT recruiters typically work with people with several years of experience, but that varies depending on an individual’s expertise and education, the field and the recruiter’s own areas of specialisation. As you would expect, the more experience you’ve got — and the greater demand for it — the better off you’ll be finding a recruiter. If you’re just getting into the industry, you may face a tough time getting a recruiter to talk to you; companies don’t want to pay a recruiter to fill an entry-level job when they’ve got stacks of résumés available to them.

Watch out

Just because you have got a call from a recruiter, don’t assume he or she is the one for you. “There are shady dealers out there,” says Jason Berkowitz, chief operating officer at Hunter Recruitment Advisors, a recruitment outsourcing company. “It’s important that you find someone who’s on your side and who isn’t just going to fax your résumé all over town.” How should you guard against those shady dealers? Ask for references from two or three people the recruiter has placed and then quiz them on their experience with the recruiter.

Come true

“Look for a recruiter who’s honest,” says Hough. Meet with the recruiter, she advises. You want someone who’s a good listener and will respond to your phone calls or emails. Consider whether they know your particular industry segment, too. “Be open,” Berkowitz says. “And be honest about what you want.”

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