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How Do I Find the Right Recruiter?

Dear J.T. & Dale: I have recently moved back to the states after two years in Italy. I’ve been living with friends while job-hunting, and I’m willing to relocate anywhere for the right job. I wish I had a recruiter/headhunter to assist me, and I’ve written to a few, but haven’t heard anything back. Are there any recruiters who would work with a middle manager like me? — Jimmy

Dale: I’m sure there are plenty of recruiters who would like to hear from you, but only the ones whose recruiting needs overlap with your skills. The problem is that there are thousands of recruiters, so how do you find some of the right ones?

J.T.: I’d start with the national firms, and although you are looking for a permanent position, some firms known for temporary staffing also offer permanent placement. My top two choices nationally are Randstad and Adecco. You also should look at local staffing firms, and boutique firms that specialize in your particular career specialty. I think you’re wise to pursue recruiting firms, because they often know about jobs and fill them before they get posted.

Dale: But do not confuse recruiters with career coaches — they are not sitting around hoping to take over your job search for you. In fact, finding recruiters becomes a natural outgrowth of your own job-search efforts. As you do your networking, you’ll talk with managers who could hire you if they had a job available. Ask those people which recruiters contact them. Then, you can call those recruiters and say that you heard about them from X at the Y Corporation. As you say that, listen for a creaking sound in the background — that’s the sound of a door opening.


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