Working with a Recruiter

More and more job seekers turn to recruiters to help them work. Often referred to as "headhunters," these professionals typically seek out new talent for large companies. Sometimes they represent their own recruitment agencies, but more often they find employment with big corporations and government organizations. They collect resumes, interview potential new hires, and send the most promising candidates forward to the hiring manager for review. In other words, these gatekeepers almost always earn their pay from the employer rather than the person looking for a job.

Many who work for recruiting agencies occupy their own niches, so you might start your search for a recruiter by looking for those with experience in law enforcement.

Recruiters today work in most fields, including criminal justice. Many who work for recruiting agencies occupy their own niches, so you might start your search for a recruiter by looking for those with experience in law enforcement. Expert at selection and talent identification, recruiters often prove just as valuable to jobseekers as to employers. They can help find exactly the right new position for your interests and skills.

Finding Criminal Justice Recruiters

How do you find a recruiter once you make the decision to work with one? First, make sure that they can find you. When you begin your job search, build a complete, well-written profile on sites like LinkedIn. You should also post your resume widely on career-oriented sites like Indeed and Monster. Oftentimes, recruiters build relationships with job seekers while combing through internet sites like these.

Once you establish your web presence, begin talking to colleagues, former classmates, professors, and law enforcement personnel in your town to see if they can recommend any recruiters. Professional organizations may provide useful references. Perform a web search for "criminal justice recruiters," "employment consultants," and "recruitment agencies." Simple searches show you if any reside in your area. Look on job boards and on criminal justice sites to see if you come across any there. Head over to websites like Recruiter Directory, Recommended Recruiter, and Oya's Directory of Recruiters, and look through the lists. Many of these sites allow you to search by industry and location, and most charge nothing.

When you locate a recruiter, research his or her background. Find out about their experience level and the amount of time spent on the job; also look for references and reviews. See if they list their rates or if you can glean any details about their success rate. Check out how they prefer to connect with people -- in person, phone, or email? Finally, explore how they make their money. Who pays them and how? Do they receive a commission and work on a retainer or contingency? This last question tells you a lot about their motivations.

Initial Interview with a Criminal Justice Recruiter

Most recruiters prefer to complete the initial meeting over the phone, though some will ask you to come to their office. Treat this first meeting the way you would a first interview with an employer; in most cases, recruiters see it as just that. Present yourself as professionally as possible, including your preparation and how you dress.

Present yourself as professionally as possible, including your preparation and how you dress.

At the meeting, the recruiter will ask you the types of jobs that interest you. You need to list your short-term and long-term career goals. You also need to discuss salary, preferred job environments, benefits packages, and other expectations about your next position. Be frank, courteous, and as straightforward as possible. Carefully monitor the recruiter and determine if he or she listens well and takes the time to understand you and your interests. See if you feel a connection with this person.

Use due caution, however, when talking with a recruiter. Just as you would not tell a hiring manager that you have no other job prospects or that you have no money, you should not tell your recruiter these details. Avoid discussing whether you would take a low offer, and do not discuss any blemishes or gaps in your resume aside from finding ways to improve them. Only reveal information that your recruiter can use to benefit you in your job search.

The Job Interviewing Process

Recruiters hold different roles at different companies, and many remain involved with you from your initial contact right through to your final hire. At some corporations, the recruiters actually do the hiring themselves. Represent yourself as professionally with your recruiter as you would with a hiring manager. Recruiters often serve the role of gatekeepers, and you want to leave a good impression. These early meetings can give you an excellent idea what sorts of qualities and qualifications the employer finds appealing, helping prepare you for the interview. If you perform well with the recruiter, they might help you prepare for the interview process. Many recruiters consider their work done once they make their recommendations. A thoughtful thank-you note would prove appropriate to the situation.

Advantages of Working with a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter offers many advantages. These hiring professionals know many people in the industry and keep track of which companies are looking to hire. Good recruiters aid you in eliminating those organizations where you will most likely fail to fit in, saving you countless hours of work. Recruiters employed by individual corporations understand exactly what qualifications and skills their company seeks. They can help you position yourself in just the right way for the hiring manager. They understand each organization and often know what sorts of questions they ask in their job interviews, and they can give you an advantage on landing a lucrative position. Remember, recruiters usually get paid when you get hired, and they often make a percentage based on your first-year salary. The more you make, the more they make; your success and their success are linked together. They also want to maintain good relationships with the companies that do the hiring so that they can continue finding prospective employees for them.

Potential Disadvantages of Working with a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter provides many advantages, but the process can occasionally backfire. Like anything else, you should enter into a relationship with a recruiter with caution, keeping in mind who pays their checks. They get their commission when you sign on the dotted line, and if you fail to land a job, they do not get paid. Because of this, some recruiters might encourage you to take a lesser position. Likewise, they might try to push you toward a job that you do not want so that they get their paycheck. This might happen if they get bonuses or other incentives from certain companies. Finally, sometimes recruiters enter into agreements with corporations that preclude them from telling you everything about a certain job. For example, companies might not want you to know that a job does not include a benefits package. When recruiters work expressly for certain companies, they must put that company's interests first. Keep these things in mind any time you enter into an agreement with a recruiter.

Concentrate Your Search

Most recruiters recommend finding someone who specializes in the field that interests you. They also tend to discourage spamming your resume to see if just any recruiter will select you.

Dress Professionally

You want to make a good first impression on a recruiter, just as you would a potential employer. Make sure to dress professionally.

Thank-You Notes

Sending a personal note to thank a recruiter for meeting with you makes a nice personal touch. These small things often pay professional dividends.

Develop a Rapport

Recruiters work in your best interest, which makes getting to know your concerns essential for them. Make sure to select recruiters with whom you can develop mutual respect and professional courtesy.

How Many Times Do You Meet with a Recruiter, on Average?

Select recruiters willing to use both the phone and email. After meeting with you once or twice, a once-a-week update email will suffice to maintain contact.

What Kind of Qualifications Do Recruiters Typically Have?

Recruiters often come from sales or human resources backgrounds, where they received training in customer service, employee relations, and hiring.

Can You Work with Multiple Recruiters at the Same Time?

Yes, you can work with more than one recruiter. Make sure to communicate to each recruiter that you work with more than just them. Also, keep track of your activities and ensure that you avoid sending multiple resumes to the same employers.

What Are the Signs of a Good Recruiter?

Good recruiters listen. They show an interest in you personally and take the time to learn about your skills, interests, and goals. They work for a reputable company or organization, maintain a list of connections, and receive good reviews from previous clients.

What Are the Signs of a Substandard Recruiter?

Bad recruiters care only about themselves and their bottom lines. They don't work very hard and don't pay attention to your interest, goals, or needs. Some of them even ask you to lie or embellish on your resume.