Working It Out: Using a recruiter? What job seekers should know

I talk a lot about the challenges employers face in recruiting talent in Colorado’s tight labor market. Yet, even with the state as a whole boasting some of the lowest unemployment levels in the nation, there are some sectors that aren’t as robust, leaving professionals in those industries searching for work and adding competition for open positions.

The oil and gas industry, for example, has shed more than 6,700 jobs in Colorado due to declining energy prices. And the closure of retailer Sports Authority has resulted in even more layoffs. The company’s Englewood-based headquarters officially shut down in June and left hundreds of employees out of work, including business analysts, buyers, marketers, merchandisers and vice-president level executives.

Some of these job seekers may consult a recruiter for help during their search for a new position, and I believe it’s important for potential candidates to understand how recruiters work. The common misperception is that job seekers contact a recruiter to find them a job. In reality, recruiters work for employers who task them with finding the best candidate for a job. When recruiters meet with a job hunter, it’s typically to assess whether that individual would fit any of the positions they are currently looking to fill on the behalf of their clients. Don’t take that personally. If you fit the job they are actively recruiting for, a good recruiter will do everything in his power to make sure you are successfully hired by the company.

As a recruiter, I am always looking for solid talent to add to my database. However, job seekers who engage with me should be organized and prepared, because unfortunately my job isn’t to craft resumes or provide career counseling to individuals struggling with how to apply their skills. Investing in resume writing and career coaching before meeting with a recruiter allows job seekers to put their best foot forward and maximize their time with a key influencer.

If you or someone you know is considering working with a recruiter, here are some strategies to help form a more effective and productive partnership:

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