ask the readers: how can I work better with recruiters?

I’m going to throw this one out to the readers for advice. A reader writes:

I’m hoping you or your readers have some wisdom for me on this. I work in a creative field, at a senior level, mostly in the digital realm. Up until now, I have found jobs on my own—good jobs. But my last employer sold off the division I was working for as part of a financial restructuring, so I find myself in the position of looking for a job. For the last 6 months, I have been contracting at a previous employer, but that contract is about to run out.

By and large, creatives in my geographical area (San Francisco Bay Area) seem to get work through recruiting agencies, so, though I’ve never needed to before, I have started working with agencies. So far it has been an awful experience! They call frantically about openings, get miffed if I am not interested for a valid reason such as the commute, pay or my interest level in the company, then they forget about me for a few weeks until I remind them I exist, then the whole thing starts over again. Apparently no one in my field just hires a full time employee anymore, it appears to be all “contract with a “possibility” of going “perm.” The recruiters are flaky, don’t make appointments (say, for a phone screening) when they say they will, don’t return calls, and they get a lot of information wrong. I’ve been up-front, telling the recruiters that I am really looking for a good fit, what my areas of interest are, and what my starting pay needs to be. Today I was blown off by 2 potential employers for one month contract jobs, which might not directly be the recruiters’ fault, but all of my experiences have been with flaky, frantic recruiters so it’s hard to not somehow connect the two.

I want to know: How can I be a better client to recruiters? Is there a way to get them on my side, and to really care about what I want, and to treat me and my schedule with a bit more respect? And, also, is there such a thing as a recruiter who is really interested in helping you find a great fit, or are they just interested in cramming people into positions as fast as possible to make money? And, finally, I’m hoping some of your Bay Area readers might know of some great agencies that are not on my radar.

I should note that I am immaculate in my work and in my timeliness when dealing with the recruiters, and anyone they send me to. I have great experience, wonderful references, and a pretty great portfolio. I think I’d be a great employee!

Readers, what advice do you have? Have you ever cracked the code to working well with recruiters?

My overall sense is that if you get a good one, you don’t really need to crack any code … and if you get a bad one, no code will help. But feel free to refute that!

{ 47 comments… read them below }

  1. Josh S

    I’ve had really bad luck with recruiters as well — all the flakiness you describe. Submitting my resume for jobs I didn’t want, failing to contact me back with results of jobs I *did* want, being ‘excited’ about my potential to fit with their clients and then forgetting about me for weeks. It’s all frustrating.

    The best advice I can give is to ask your friends, colleagues, and (former) co-workers about the recruiters that they used to find their current position. Because if a recruiter did a decent job for them, it’s likely that she will do a decent job for you as well.

    But don’t just ask “what recruiter did you use” — be specific. Ask what your friend liked about the recruiter, the hiring experience, how much information the recruiter shared about the position(s) they applied for, the responsiveness and listening skills, etc. It’s one thing to hear, “Yeah, I used Recruiter X, and I got the job,” but quite another to hear, “Recruiter Y was awesome! She listened to my experience, helped me tailor my resume to highlight the relevant skills for my current position, and told me what to expect from the interview process so I was comfortable and confident going in.”

    Good luck. Finding a good recruiter seems to be a challenge these days!

  2. Victoria HR

    I have been a recruiter at the agency level. I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time.

    My best advice is to just not work with the flaky ones. Find a good, reliable, communicative one and stick with him/her. That doesn’t help you in the short term until you find him/her, though.

    Many agency recruiters these days are tasked with selling the agency’s services in addition to trying to recruit candidates to fill the open positions at the clients. Unfortunately, this means that the recruiter’s loyalty is to the client, not to the candidate. And clients often have unreasonable expectations in regards to what they want (a top-of-the-field candidate who can start tomorrow for $20k less than the industry standard, etc). This all makes it a stressful job (and one of the reasons that I am no longer doing said job!)

    I’d recommend that you reach out to your network, via LinkedIn or what have you, and find friends or contacts who have gone through a recruiter. Get recommendations. Interview the recruiter, not the other way around. If he/she seems flaky, say thanks but no thanks. Eventually you will find the right one. Good luck!

    1. Nyxalinth

      What’s the best way to handle a recruiter who has you in mind for a job then just vanishes? I’ve had this happen a few times to me: in almost every case I was told “I’ll email you the details for the interview/link to the testing for the client” then poof, nothing. Emails and calls produce no response. the last time this happened, I was told she was out for the thanksgiving holiday and no one there could help me. Is this recruiter flakiness, or is it more like “Something happened in the process/I’ve changed my mind about you being right for the role and I am too busy/too unwilling to confront you to be straight about it”?

      1. Victoria HR

        Sounds to me like she’s just too busy and overwhelmed. OR the client cancelled the job order or filled it already and she’s too chicken to tell you. A lot of recruiters do that, unfortunately – they see candidates as currency and once the currecy is devalued (i.e. not on the top of their list of high priorities), they’re no longer interested.

      2. Carissa

        It could any number of the things you said. As a recruiter, I can vouch that time is extremely limited, and the plate is extremely full. Only the most urgent situations are priorities. Another commenter mentioned that loyalty is to the client, and that is indeed true, as they are the ones paying for the services. That being said, a good recruiter will have the decency to treat ALL people with common courtesy and dignity, and sadly that is just not done. Fielding hundreds of phone calls a day from people demanding a job that’s a “perfect fit” can have a desensitizing effect. The best candidates that I love working with are the ones who understand a recruiter is pulled in many directions. Also, if you can furnish a perfect resume, that is a great help! I get bogged down daily by having to tidy up dozens of resumes so that these people actually have a chance of being considered. Hiring managers are soooo fickle and petty sometimes, and we recruiters advocate for our candidates as much as we possibly can, but sometimes it is to no avail. We never have the final say.

    2. Coleen

      Hi- I have been a recruiter with the same company for over 7 years (accounting and finance), and I pride myself on not being a “flaky recruiter”. There certainly are times that I am not able to respond to each and every person each and every day, but I always make sure to set expectations with people, so that they know how to best work with me. It’s not fair otherwise- to any party involved. At the end of the day, if I returned every phone call I received, I would not be finding anyone a job, or best servicing my candidates or my clients. It really upsets me that other people in my profession have set such a negative tone to this industry, and the people in it. Not all of us fit into this category!!!

      I agree with AM- if you don’t get a good feel from a recruiter, then don’t work with them. But I think in many markets and industries, we are a “necessary evil”- so try to find someone that you jive with. And simply look at working with a recruiter, as having an extra set of eyes out there during your job search, rather than looking too much into it. If we help find you something, then we do. If we don’t, then worst case scenario, you wasted the 30-60 minutes it took to interview with us.

      But please remember that we’re not all bad!
      (and for the record, temp-to-hire has blown up in my space over the past year. The number of companies that “bought out” a contract in 2012 actually tripled, and candidates were hired within the first 1-2 months as opposed to after 3-6 months. Just food for thought- I never reccomend anyone leave a perm job for a temp/tth one, but if you’re not working anyway, no harm/no foul)

  3. Just a Reader

    I gave up working with recruiters altogether during my job search. They couldn’t seem to grasp what I wanted and was qualified for, and working with them was wasting my already limited time, so I just conducted my job search myself.

    I actually ran into a horrible internal recruiter who jerked me around for months, but the other internal recruiters I worked with were fantastic.

    Unlike a lot of people, I actually found my job through an ad, and someone in my network helped to get me noticed. I would recommend that approach over trusting a recruiter.

    1. the gold digger

      My most recent job came from an ad. My previous three jobs came from ads placed at the University of Texas placement office. Ads can work. Alison’s cover letter advice definitely helped me get this job.

  4. Just a Reader

    Also–I left a creative agency for an in-house gig which was a way better fit for me. If I had been looking for an agency job I could have worked with recruiters a lot more easily, because that was almost all they had.

  5. Jamie

    Apparently no one in my field just hires a full time employee anymore, it appears to be all “contract with a “possibility” of going “perm.”

    This is becoming more and more common in a lot of industries, to help minimize the risk of a bad hire. Contract to perm (or what I call direct – I don’t consider anything outside the love I have for my children to be permanent in this life) or temp to “perm” is common in manufacturing for most positions and it’s becoming de rigueur for tech across the board.

    If they are willing to offer a firm time line for going direct I wouldn’t let that scare me off a good opportunity. If it’s open ended that would make me nervous – but I’m cautious by nature.

      1. Jamie

        I actually find that practice abhorrent – hence my caution to make sure there is a firm date.

        But when we tell someone temp for 2 weeks and if it works out it goes perm after that – we’ve never pushed back the schedule. And in fact in the 4+ years I’ve been here it’s always gone through. And both my jobs have started that way – temping through the agency for a short period of time and then on the books.

        So I’m with you on being wary of permatempting – I have seen it done legitimately as well.

      2. Nyxalinth

        I had a job in 2011 that turned out to be permatemping. We were led to believe by the agency that it was “temp to hire”. Once I got in there, I talked to several others in the same role as me, and found out that some of them had also gone through agencies. Three to five years later, they were STILL temps! No benefits, no nothing, except through the agency. They were great employees, the company just didn’t want to bring them on officially. That plus threats of outsourcing our jobs if we didn’t ‘step it up’put a sour taste in my mouth and I resumed my job hunt (unfortunately, the new job didn’t work out–outsourced.).

        I have the worst job karma when it comes to outsourcing/layoffs, I swear.

        1. Blinx

          I’ve had both experiences. Perma-temped at one company for 4 years. Pay was great, work was great, and I was managing to get benefits through my previous company. Would have liked more benefits and a sense of belonging to the company/team, but what could I do? This company had firm lines drawn between permanent employees and contractors. Other places, you have no idea who is perm and who isn’t — much more unified.

          My last job was temp to perm but with no firm date. At that place, it had to do with headcount approval, and once approved, formal ads had to be placed for internal/external applicants. Luckily I was hired (after 6 months). This same company at one time got rid of almost all contractors. Then years later, pretty much outsourced whoever they could. It’s all a numbers game – headcount was now much lower, but contractors WAY up.

    1. Blinx

      I also think this temp-to-perm trend really only benefits the unemployed (me) and those who are freelancers. Why would anyone leave a full-time position for a job that might not go perm? I wonder if hiring companies aren’t shooting themselves in the foot. It used to be they hired you but you were on 30-days probation — no harm/no foul if you quit OR if they let you go.

      1. the gold digger

        No kidding, Blinx. I was annoyed enough that I had to wait seven weeks to get on the insurance here. There is no way I would quit this job, even though it’s not the greatest as far as pay, to go to a temp job.

      2. Ann

        Well, in looking for a friend in the creative industry, almost all of the jobs are either temp or temp to perm. My friend has a full-time position, but desperately wants a new job. He’s been with his current job for 6 years, and despite being given ample new responsibilities and titles (including a managerial role) over the years, his pay has not increased in 4 years (promises of raises were made, but then when the time came, never materialized, many excuses have been made). My friend would of course prefer a full time position, but has come to realize that, esp in the creative industry, they just aren’t out there. So, do you stick with the current horrible job because it’s permanent or do you take a chance on a temp to perm?

  6. KC

    I actually got my current job through a KICK ASS recruiter. I think I lucked into the recruiter jackpot, though. He was an amazing guy, in the game for over 30 years, and really good at his job.

    He made the entire process seem like it was all about me (while I’m sure making my company–his paying clients–feel the same way). He started out by asking me what my requirements were, what sort of culture I was looking for, etc. My first in-person interview ended up being a job at a company that was a great fit (my current gig). He also managed most of the salary negotiations on my behalf and my offer was a full $10k over what I was expecting, so it was happiness all around.

    I’m a Project Manager working in software, and if I’m ever in need of looking for a job again, I’ll be reaching out to this same recruiter. I also refer people to him when they’re looking for tech jobs in my area.

    I guess my only advice to the OP is to be flexible with your time and try to find a recruiter who feels like a teammate. I was as available as I could be for phone interviews / in-person interviews, even if it meant having short notice (some phone interviews were “Hey, can you talk to X person in three hours?”). He was juggling a pool of candidates for each opening, and being responsive was key. I also checked in with him weekly to follow up on any “active” leads, to just keep myself on his radar.

  7. Kelly O

    I have had very similar results with recruiters, and it’s part of what has made me decide to not go too far down that road anymore.

    It actually makes me feel good to hear that this happens to others in different roles; I figured it was me being “just an admin” and I was getting the blow-off because they wouldn’t get much back from the placement.

    1. Carissa

      I can understand how people would feel like that. I’m a recruiter and I’m temp (for 1+ year)! Lol. It can happen to us, too, so I do know how it feels. I have no benefits, paid-time off, holiday pay, or the prospect of a raise. It freakin’ sucks.

      However, people think I blow them off all the time, and I do, essentially. But it’s not because I’m rude or greedy (I don’t work on commission, just hourly), or heartless. The jobto-candidate ratio is probably 100:1. We get hundreds of phone calls a day (us recruiters are the de facto receptionists, too), and it’s just impossible to stay on top of evertything. I could probably work 24 hours a day and still not return every phone call.

      I sincerly apologize, and I feel awful, but there is not much I can do. I always treat everyone I come into contact with – whether by phone, e-mail, or in person – with dignity and respect, and a smile. After reading these posts, I am resolving to make much more of a concerted effort to return calls, however. As for the frantic, flaky, urgency that recruiters geta bad rap for – it’s simply the nature of the beast. When our clients give us the go-ahead to interview, they are often demanding and impatient and want things to happen NOW! We are just relaying the message.

  8. William

    When I was laid off three years ago, I started looking at job postings for tech jobs in my local metro area, and found that most jobs on the job boards were all posted through a single recruiting agency. Unfortunately, despite dozens of calls to several branches of that agency, I was never able to get in touch with a recruiter.

    Finally, after about two months of getting nowhere in my search I decided to head into the city and try to meet with someone at the agency. I found their address and headed down. I found the building and talked my way past the security services at the entrance (who’s bright idea was it to put a recruiting agency in the same building as the Israeli embassy anyway?) and got my way to building security, and convinced them I had a meeting at the recruiters and they gave me a pass to get to the office. Once there, I just chatted with the receptionist until she passed my info to a recruiter and got me a meeting with someone on the spot.

    I was a lot more aggressive in this than I normally would have been, and more than most sensible people would probably advise, but in the end it worked out. The agency had me in a job two weeks later. Unfortunately, I was laid off again a few months ago, but with the new experience I had recruiters calling me within hours of posting my resume this time, and I was only out of work a couple weeks.

  9. Steve G

    Last one I used lied that a job was full time. On my first day I realized it was only 35 hours. I accepted the minimum hourly rate I needed to pay my bills assuming 40 hours a week. So I couldn’t afford to do the job for less than 40 hours. I had to leave during lunch, which was very embarressing. Of course, the recruiter (either adecco or robert half, don’t remember which since they were in the same building…) said I could never get a job through them again. Apparently I am now a bad candidate because I lack the gumption to “make it work.”

    1. Jamie

      This was one of the things that I learned here on AAM which surprised me – that full time isn’t 40 hours everywhere.

      I have never worked, nor known anyone personally, who has worked where FT where the benefits kick in etc was under 40 – but they are out there. I can see how this could happen as I would have assumed FT meant 40 as well.

      1. Anonymous

        I’m working 30 hours a week and it’s considered full-time. (It’s four days a week; we work 7.5 hour days.) It does hurt in the pocketbook, but I requested, since I’m also in grad school. I was happy to find out that it’s considered full for us, since I get exactly the same benefits I did when I worked 37.5 hours a week.

      2. Claire

        There really isn’t as much standardization as you’d hope for…at my current job (I’m part time, 20 hours), full time is 37 hours. But in my search for another part time job, I’ve seen everything from 8 to 36 hours/week classified as part time.

      3. CH

        Our FT workweek is 37 1/2 hours, with all benefits. I didn’t realize it until my first day (so I can understand how that happens) but since my offer letter stated annual salary (not hourly) even though I am non-exempt, it was actually a nice surprise.

      4. Blinx

        When Obamacare starts in 2014, it defines full time, for companies with 50 or more employees, as “with respect to any month, an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.”

        If the minimum health care coverage is not offered, the company pays a fine. I’m hoping the fine is many times the cost of insurance, or else that’s what some places may elect to do. Also, I’ve heard of companies (colleges) cutting hours down to 29 just to get around this new mandate. And for the millions of people who work at smaller than 50 employee companies, oh well, business as usual. Ugh!

      5. Laura L

        I’ve had two jobs were 37.5 hrs/week was considered full time for benefits, etc. So, there are probably many places out there that do this.

      1. Steve G

        I was in pretty intense rounds of training the whole morning so didn’t have time to decide what to do. It didn’t feel right to keep going with the training, wasting everyone’s time setting me up in different systems, etc. It was a LT temp job in the absolute pits of the recession so I had a feeling the agency wouldn’t budge or would just give me a pep talk. That is what happened. I got a pep talk about how there might be OT. If this had been a higher level job I might have stayed the rest of the week to see what happened, but given the agency’s response and the job being “below” my level, and a fill in between other jobs, I left.

        They defined FT to me as 32+ hours/week, which I quickly refuted and didn’t get a real answer as to why I wasn’t told this, given that I accepted an hourly rate based on 40 hours, and 8 hours less a week was a huge pay cut I couldn’t afford.

    2. Victoria HR

      Often that’s not the agency’s fault, though – the client misleads them. Agencies do tend to pass on all of the info that they possibly can to the candidates because if someone doesn’t stay for the full 30 days, they have to pay back any fee.

      1. me too

        I understand what you’re saying, but I feel like recruiters/staffing agencies have an obligation to obtain complete information to give the candidate…especially if the candidate is restricted or unable to contact the company directly to ask pertinent questions before making a decision. If pertinent information is withheld (either intentionally or not) I feel like it’s a bad-faith contract. How can a candidate make an informed, conscious choice (or, God forbid, actually try to negotiate!!!) without all the information? Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of the recruiter to pass that along? Otherwise, I feel the candidate should rightly feel like they’ve been hoodwinked.

  10. Kara

    I agree with the “just don’t work with bad recruiters” comment – and I would add that I wouldn’t work with them once you have a job and need to hire contractors and the like. I have a good full-time job now. When I was searching, I worked with two staffing agencies that got me temp/contract work and whose recruiters were pleasant to work with, and a few that had recruiters who were flatly dismissive and rude. Guess which ones will get my business when I need to use an agency in the future? Guess which ones I talk up when people ask me for agency recs? Guess which ones I tell people (at all levels) never to use?

    I don’t know that there’s anything you can do to make yourself more appealing; I’m sure you would be a great employee! Unfortunately, some recruiters are just inconsiderate because they can be, and I think you just have to keep it moving until you find one that treats you with respect.

  11. Elizabeth West

    I haven’t had much luck with this either. I don’t get any response, or they only seem interested in gathering resumes.

    A relative I’ll call Sue used to be a recruiter (now in marketing) and when I recently asked her for advice, she told me to fake my way into a writing position and then learn it on the job! She said this is how all her friends do it! This from the same person who a couple of years ago told me she had to fire a writer she’d hired at her old job because the writer misrepresented herself. I really do not know what agency Sue worked for but I’m guessing it wasn’t one of the better ones. :P

  12. NUM

    I am wondering how effective this temp to perm approach can be at the highest levels in an organization – whether senior creative, manager or executive. How can someone exercise leadership or supervisory experience in a contract role? Similarly, if the contract role doesn’t incorporate the leadership component, how can a person demonstrate those abilities and readiness to lead while in the contract role?

    Just asking whether anyone has seen this work or fail …

  13. AG

    I also live in the SF Bay Area and have had hit-or-miss experiences with recruiters. I think it depends entirely on the agency. I also have had more success when someone personally referred me to a recruiter. There are some agencies that feel like factories (like, um, the big one that’s a division of a big staffing agency that everyone has heard of), offer absolutely no personal service, and are purely concerned about filling spots. Then there are some smaller “boutique” firms that will actually get to know the applicant, give you some “inside info” before interviews, etc.

    There are, of course, some bad small agencies (like the one that basically told me that due to the recession, they’re just not getting many jobs, so I’m wondering why I wasted my time going to the interview), and some good big ones.

    As for the “contract” and “temp to perm” situation…I agree, it sucks.

    Since you asked for specific recommendations, I have had good experiences working with Sola Biu at Creative Circle and Andrea Glick at Betts Recruiting. I just met with CC but I really liked the recruiter and she has been responsive to my emails. Betts niche is that they only works with startups. They got me an interview and I was really impressed that the recruiter set up a “prep” call with me ahead of time to tell me more about the hiring manager and help ease my anxiety. The job ended up not being a good fit but the interview went well and it was nice to get a follow-up from the recruiter.

  14. Blinx

    I haven’t had much success with recruiters this round of job hunting. One recruiter does call me, but mostly about jobs I’ve already applied directly to, or had already seen the company’s ad before and rejected it. I seem to know more about the job market and what jobs have already been posted than she does — doesn’t give me much confidence in their agency!

    One recruiter completely changed the job description after I had applied and we had an email exchange. She was asking about all kinds of experience that wasn’t in the ad at all. The last bullet point I think was aimed at me “Professional, but not stuffy.”

    Another recruiter interviewed me over the phone and passed my info on to the creative director. Next day she got back to me with a rejection and reasons why. I thanked her and told her that I really appreciated her promptness and her feedback. Wish all recruiters were like this!

  15. Anonymous

    Recruiters are like any other profession: there are spectacular ones, there are horrible ones, and everything in between. I’ve worked with recruiters to try to find a job, I’ve worked with recruiters to hire for a previous company of mine, and I myself once worked at a recruitment agency, so I know what it’s like from the inside.

    You need to find THE recruiter that you totally click with: the person who thinks you’re amazing and who finds the perfect roles for you to interview for. Keep meeting new recruiters at different agencies until you find one that you have a connection with. Then ignore the rest, unless they contact you.

    Otherwise you’ll be running around chasing them until you’re exhausted. Good luck!!

  16. BossLady

    My husband’s industry relies heavily on recruiters, though his field is not on the creative side. Here is what I’ve observed works for him:

    1) Only work with good, responsive recruiters. Just don’t waste your time with bad ones. Vote with your feet. If they work for an agency, you might see if you can find a different recruiter in that agency who you connect with and trust more.

    2) Develop a relationship with the recruiter. Meet in person, let them see you as a person, not just a resume, get them to understand your career goals and become your partner in it to some degree.

    3) Follow up with them, “check in” every so often. Sometimes even the good ones lose track of it.

    4) All the above notwithstanding, remember they don’t work for you, they work for the employer. You are speaking to an agent for the employer, so be honest and generally open, but professional at all times.

    5) When your search is over, stay in touch and if they are good, refer top performing friends and colleagues to them. Pay it forward and keep up the relationship and it will likely come back to you over time.

  17. OP

    OP, here. I just want to say thanks and express my appreciation for all of the good thoughts and advice people here have shared. This blog is my new(ish) obsession and it was a thrill to have my question posted here! My takeaways: I’ll ask my contacts if anyone has had any really good recruiter experiences and get the names of said recruiters, I’ll keep looking for that amazing recruiter and not work with the lousy ones, and I’ll soldier on, knowing that I’m not alone in Bad Recruiter Land, and comforted by the knowledge that man of my fellow AAM peeps have experienced the same things. (and, obviously, continue to apply for jobs through ads and contacts) Thanks again.

  18. Anonymous

    I’ve been both an agency recruiter and am now on the corporate side, where I am the customer/employer working with agencies to identify talent. My recommendations echo what others have said, however, if you are at all interested in “temping” or “contracting” on your own, outside of an agency, you can also create a profile on elance.com and skillpages.com, and cut out the middle man. Many of the employers that contract with folks from these sites are also very often open to having contractors telecommute, which some consider a nice plus!

    For marketing/creative types, project based work is very common, and internal recruiters such as myself often search these sites for talent (in addition to LinkedIn and Craigslist), even for perm positions, before contacting outside agencies. The good thing about contract work is that the pay is typically hire to attempt to offset lack of benefits and such. The bad thing is that you have to keep track of your own taxes. But it works out well for getting your foot in the door.

  19. Nyxalinth

    I’ve griped about my major go-rounds with recruiters (bait and switch that starts out with awesome job and suddenly switches to crappy one once I’m at the interview) incompetence, disappearing acts, etc. I think the two occasions that ground my gears the most was one that started off immediate hire and suddenly became “We have to forward them your resume” when I got there (I’m pretty sure it was ageism/sizeism because I dressed very professionally but until they come out with immediate weight loss-youth products I can’t instantly fix both) and one that was immediate hire and report for work but when I did, it turned out it was actually working unpaid interviews. It didn’t smell right to me, so I left.

  20. Ann

    I’ve had flaky recruiters, recruiters who clearly didn’t pay attention to my experience or skills and would send me to interviews where the job was not at all a fit, and recruiters who would give me no prep or information so that I would go into interviews blind (and feeling very stupid). Then, I had one really great recruiter. She owns her own boutique firm, and seems to know everyone. If someone in her network had a job available that would fit my skills she would send me to them (even if it was another recruiter’s job, and they would get the finders fee). She has kept my resume on her books, and calls me up from time to time if something really interesting comes her way. I’ve referred my friends to her, and whenever a company I work with is hiring in her area I suggest contacting her. She didn’t get me my current position, but she has successfully filled several in our office and management is very grateful that I suggested her.

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