A colleague of mine says it best: You don’t want to wait until your taxes are due to find an accountant, you don’t want to wait until you’re sick to find a doctor, and you shouldn’t wait until you need a job to find a Recruiter. In truth, we’ve all found ourselves behind the eight ball and in need of a professional with little time to be discerning about fit or reliability. Things happen. But if you can help it, I’d strongly encourage you to proactively create a relationship with a Recruiter you trust before you decide you’re ready to make the leap to a new role or career.
And once you’ve found the right fit, your Recruiter can be a mentor, a coach and a friend through some of the most critical moments of your career. Here are some of the reasons to have a recruiter (or two) in your back pocket.
Give yourself a leg up—even if you plan to stay in your current role for now
It’s part of a Recruiter’s day-to-day responsibilities to be in the know about everything from the current hiring climate to the compensation ranges for a job, and with a Recruiter in your network that you can lean on, this market data becomes a resource in your arsenal too. Is your current compensation competitive? With your experience, are you a hard-to-find or hard-to-place candidate? Sure, there are some internet-based databases out there, but the data available on Salary.com or Glassdoor is often self-reported and therefore less reliable. A Recruiter can help you find specific, verified information on the market value and demand for your skillset.
The right Recruiter is also teeming with sage advice on how to grow in your career, when to stay where you are, how to switch industries if you’re ready, and what to make of current market trends. Does your five-year plan include a title level or an industry that’s just out of reach right now? You can connect with a Recruiter to talk through your resume and what skills you should be building up to land that dream job when the time comes.
Stay plugged into a valuable network
Even if you’re not on the hunt for a new role, you never know who you might be able to help. Recruiters could connect you with new hires for your team as well as up-and-coming talent that might just be looking for an informational interview. You never know how helping others could grow your network or improve your career in the long run.
And as your network and your relationship with a Recruiter grows, you can gain a lot of insight into other companies. Maybe you’re thinking of looking around, and you’ve always dreamed of working for a certain brand or company. If you have a relationship with a Recruiter, they can shoot you straight on a company and the experience their employees are having on the side. Are they having a talent exodus? Is it impossible to recruit people away from that place because everyone’s so happy? You can get a sneak peek into a place and understand their reputation whenever you need to.
Keep a stealth ear to the ground on new opportunities
Maybe you’re not looking for a new job today, but the average person will have around 12 jobs in their lifetime. So keeping a strong relationship with a Recruiter in between searches is certainly worth your while.
Often Recruiters work directly with the hiring manager to place roles, and they know of roles that haven’t been posted yet. In fact, sometimes Recruiters help hiring managers find people before a role is ever posted. Your Recruiter can get your information directly to a hiring manager. No more sending your resume through the filter system of a company’s hiring portal. You’re getting a warm handoff and a leg up.
While we’re on the subject of hiring portals, if you time your search right and with the right Recruiter, you can skip that process almost entirely. Just call on your Recruiter when you’re ready to move, and depending on the demand for talent in your industry, they can do the legwork for you. There are so many layers that go into making a move, and a Recruiter just might be able to knock down the door for you.
Best of all, your relationship with a Recruiter is completely confidential. Recruiters are always discreet. After all, posting your resume publicly or sending it into a blind hiring process can be nerve-wracking. You don’t know who sees your resume or if word will get back to your current employer that you’re looking. If you want to be under the radar with your current employer while you’re gathering information on what’s possible, working with a Recruiter is the way to go.
If any of this sounds appealing, know that it’s never too early to start building a relationship with a Recruiter. Sometimes a successful Recruiter-candidate relationship can span the entire length of a career, but like most relationships, a perfect pairing comes down to personality fit. So taking the time to find the right complement to your style and goals is worth the effort. You don’t want to trust your career with just anyone.