We talk a lot about the role of the staffing agency in the current job market and how you should include them in your job search strategy. I hope everyone has been thinking about that potential job search channel. But, how exactly do you work with a professional staffing agency? Glad you asked.
Here are a few tips that when followed will go a long way to help you develop a long term relationship with a good staffing agency.
- Do your Homework – Go online and perform a Google search for staffing companies that place temporary employees in your field. Go on the staffing agency’s website and determine if you feel that your occupation is in their core recruiting competency.
- Contact your Target Companies – Contact the human resources department at your target companies (if you can get through) and ask them which staffing companies place candidates in your field with them. Is there a particular staffing recruiter they feel is very professional and like to work with?
- Look at Job Postings – Once you have established your list of potential staffing firms, review their job postings on their internal website and on the internet job boards. Are they currently looking for candidates in your field?
- Find Your Recruiter – Do an extensive search on LinkedIn and find the names of the recruiters who work at your target staffing agencies. Recruiters are open networkers and very easy to find.
- Make Contact – Call the staffing agency and ask to speak with a recruiter in your field, or ask for one by name from your online and LinkedIn research. If the recruiter is not available, get the email address. Leave a message and call back. I suggest calling recruiters early in the day or last thing at night. Contact them after hours if you have their direct line.
- Build Rapport – Have your elevator speech prepared when you make first contact. Understand that a professional staffing recruiter has a goal to meet each day for the number of candidates and hiring managers that she needs to contact. It’s a big number, so be brief, to the point and focused. A recruiter is always looking for a pipeline of good candidates in the positions that she recruits for. If a position is not available now, it may be tomorrow. Be pleasant…be positive…be brief. If the recruiter has an immediate need, she will engage you in additional conversation.
- Be Available – New job orders come in every day. Usually, recruiters are required to submit initial candidates within 48 hours. If they can’t reach you, they go to the next available candidate. The client sets the schedule for interviews. Be available. Don’t ask to reschedule interviews once they are set or your competition will get the job.
- Follow-up – There is a fine line between following up and being pushy…don’t cross it. Touch base with your recruiter via email each week. Do not expect a face-to-face interview with a recruiter unless they anticipate that you will be submitted for an open position.
- Making Application – Staffing agencies all have various ways to enter you into their applicant tracking system. Follow their instructions, but I recommend that you always email your resume (in Microsoft Word format) to your recruiter.
- Multiple Agencies – It’s OK to work with two or three agencies, but never with the same client or for the same position. Never play this game. You will lose and get a bad reputation.
- Become a Resource – You are in job transition and meet people every day that could be valuable candidates to your recruiter. Make candidate referrals. You may even get a referral fee. Inform the recruiter about companies that you have found that are hiring.
- Be Memorable in a Positive Way – Recruiters never get personally written thank you notes. They never get donuts or candy. No candidates ever take them out to lunch. Do you get my message? Follow this advice and you will significantly increase your chances of finding a good, long-term contract position.
Next time, I will give you 12 tips on how to deal with your spouse…just kidding.
Ken Lazar, Principal
Ability Professional Network, LLC
Recruiting Sales and Business Development Professionals