How to Select a Recruiter that Works for You

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A recent posting of mine on LinkedIn has over 16,000 hits, 550 of them are from recruiters.  I am shocked to see there are even that many recruiters in the industry.  Imagine for a moment how competitive their world must be, and just think of all the calls/emails inquiring on your availability you might be getting.  Some are valid, some are fishing for information, and others are just a waste of time.  Let’s talk about some key areas that can help you decide what recruiters to work with.

First question that pops into all our minds is, what is the role or opportunity?  It can be so frustrating to get inquiries from recruiters for roles that don’t align with your skill set.  I see it every single day.  For example, your profile on LinkedIn clearly states you are a patient access and revenue cycle application builder.  Yet you get a call asking if you are interested in a clinical documentation training role.  Or for me, I’m listed as a member of leadership but I get emails asking if I’m interested in go-live support roles.  My philosophy is simple…if the recruiter can’t align my skill sets with opportunities, they are not worth talking to.

In an ideal world any recruiter will have full details of the client and opportunity, but in the real world that is rather rare these days.  Due to the competitive nature of recruiting, you likely won’t get the name of the client, just a region of the country.  I’ve often been asked, “Is this role being filled by your firm?”  The nature of the business is that many roles are being offered to multiple firms.  The client is looking for the best resource at the best rate.  I’ve written several articles on duplicate submittals, so be careful here.  Recruiters that are honest and forthcoming as possible are the ones you want to work with.

Many firms, especially this time of year, are building up there databases for upcoming potential projects.  We can’t assume a recruiters call means there is an actual immediate need, they may be doing proactive recruiting.  I personally like these conversations.  This is how you can hear about major implementations coming up and/or variations of potential engagements that you can align yourself with.  For example, we know a client in Illinois will be kicking off their Epic install in early 2019.  As a recruiter they’ve been asked to create a list of candidates who will be available and are interested.  Don’t write off a recruiter because they don’t have an immediate need. Get your name out there.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m not a fan of signing right to represent agreements.  This can be tricky, and may inadvertently block you from being submitted from the firm that actually won the business.  When working with a recruiter who is asking for this, I suggest expressing your concerns.  Knowing that there are going to be other firms and recruiters calling for the same role, locking yourself into one firm may not work out for you.  An example I’ve seen over and over is a firm calls who bid on a proposal and is proactively creating a candidate list.  You sign a right to represent only to find out later the firm was not selected.  You turned down those other recruiter inquiries and now are stuck.  My suggestion is don’t sign unless you have confirmation that the firm has been selected and will be directly submitting you.

You should look into the firm they are representing.  Have you heard of the firm or know people who work there?  I often will look up the firm on LinkedIn.  From there you can see a brief summary of the company, how big they are, but most importantly…who you are connected to that works there.  I often reach out to those connections to ask them about the firm.  Take some time to look at the firm you may be considering and not just the role or opportunity being presented. While I know those of you who are project based and/or 1099, this isn’t as important…I do think it helps determine the legitimacy of the recruiter calling.

Lastly I do have to talk about competency of recruiters.  Just like any job, there are newbies who are aloof, have little to know understanding of our industry, and don’t know the difference between Cupid and Radiant or Grand Central and Bones.  Working with a new recruiter can be frustrating.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with stating that you are interested in the role and the firm but would prefer to speak with someone who understands the requirements of the role better.  I’m not going to walk away from an opportunity just because the recruiter is new or doesn’t speak perfect English….just ask to talk to someone else.

We all have different experiences in working with recruiters.  There are so many recruiters who have been doing this for years and are very knowledgeable, personable, and professional.  Unfortunately we don’t know which we are going to get, but we do know we can choose who we work with.


Have other areas you consider when selecting a recruiter? Share your comments below…




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