By Jonna Howe
You’re putting in the hard work and gaining new skills — we see you! Now it’s time to literally launch your career in tech. While on the job search, you may come across recruiting agencies and wonder what they even do and, more importantly, if they could help you in your search. Agency recruiters have access to jobs at multiple companies, maintain excellent professional networks, and can get more eyeballs on your resume. Yes, please!
Partnering with recruiters can expose you to opportunities you might not have learned about otherwise. Companies choose not to advertise certain positions on their websites or online job boards. Instead, they hire recruitment agencies to help fill open roles. At the very least, an impressive resume and portfolio may catch a recruiter’s attention and even if they don’t make a connection, they can point you in the right direction.
Here’s how to successfully work with recruiters so you can land your dream job.
Find your niche. When working with a recruiting agency, we recommend connecting with recruiters who specialize in your area of expertise. If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in landing a tech job so you might partner with recruiters who specialize in UX Design or Software Engineering. You want a recruiter who knows and understands the tech industry because, obviously, they best understand what kinds of roles you’re interested in and the best places to look. Just do a quick internet search for tech recruiters in your area to get started.
Find your culture fit. Don’t overlook the importance of company culture, as it can play a huge role in job satisfaction. A good recruiter will help you find a company with a culture and values that align with your own. So be yourself. Tell recruiters about your ideal work environment, your work style, or traits you’re looking for in your dream company. You might also end up sharing what you want to avoid *cough* like not being able to work remote? *cough*
Need help discovering what type of company culture is right for you? Peep this blog post.
Find your strategy. It’s totally fine to work with multiple recruitment agencies. Just be upfront about it and ask recruiters to contact you for approval before they submit you for a role. This way you’ll avoid the awkwardness of more than one agency submitting you for the same position. It’s arguably more awkward than matching with the same person on more than one dating app. And we don’t want that for you.
You’ve landed an interview! Awesome, now what?
If you’re a potential match for an open position, it’s not uncommon for recruiters to conduct a phone or video interview with you first, before you speak to the hiring manager or someone else from the company. Think of this first chat as a pre-screen interview – because that’s what it is. These are usually brief, and it allows the recruiter to better determine if you’d be a good match for the role and company.
Pre-screen interviews are usually informal, but you still need to prepare! Be ready to discuss your experience and skills, don’t just restate your resume. You’ve gotta show you’re qualified and interested in the position.
You may feel like you’re in a “hot and cold” relationship. If you don’t hear back from the recruiter right away or even at all, don’t take it personally. Some recruiters only follow-up with you if you’ve been selected to advance in the interview process. Yeah, we know it sucks, but don’t get discouraged.
On the other hand, if a recruiter reaches out to you, get back in touch with them ASAP (it’s like a cruel soap opera – we know)! Timing is everything on hot job postings. Also, if you’re prompt and responsive, it helps to build goodwill with recruiters and stay top of mind for future opportunities.
Protect yourself from scam artists. If you’re working with a recruiter and they ask you for money, run. You should never have to pay a recruiter. An in-house recruiter is an employee of the company, and no legitimate company would ask you for money in return for a job.
You shouldn’t have to pay a recruitment agency either. Wondering how agency recruiters make money? Some companies supplement or fully outsource their recruiting process using recruitment agencies. Agencies get paid when a company hires one of their candidates. So if an agency recruiter is asking you to pay for their services, they’re like that designer bag you bought on the side of the road during your college Euro trip aka not legit.
Don’t forget: You still have to put in work. You’re in charge of your own career and job search. Remember, even though recruiters are a great resource, they don’t work for you. Whether it’s an in-house recruiter or a recruiter from an agency, their main goal is to find potential candidates for the hiring company. They don’t find jobs for people, they find people for jobs.
A great strategy to keep yourself honest involves keeping a list of all the applications you’ve submitted and interviews conducted on your own. At the end of the day, putting in your own work as if the recruiter doesn’t exist means your job search will hopefully be shorter and less taxing. Any leads from your recruiter will be like icing on the proverbial cake of your career. As a starting point, check out these step-by-step guides from Pathrise on how to land a software engineering or UX design job.
With that said, working with a recruiter can still be a great way to advance your job search. Many recruiters and agencies provide candidates with resources like resume advice and interview tips to help you level up. So while a recruiter is not your personal job concierge, they can still be a great asset in your search. So go forth and find your next awesome job!