A strong relationship with an excellent recruiter can be an asset to any healthcare IT professional’s career. In addition to receiving career opportunities, a good recruiter will also provide valuable insight on the industry, hiring trends, career advice, interviewing tips, client insight, and will be able to get you best offer possible. If you have a strong relationship with your recruiter, you will often be the first one they call when that really juicy opportunity comes up. They will know you, know what it is you really want, and trust you enough to give you first dibs!

So, how do you develop this kind of relationship? There are several things you can do.

First, find a great recruiter – one who is looking to develop a long-term relationship and not just sell you on whatever their hottest job is at the moment. This recruiter should ask good questions about your interests, goals, experience, strengths and weaknesses, current and targeted compensation, etc. Then, discuss your options from there. They should also maintain contact with you.
Be honest and don’t play games. Without honesty, it is impossible for your recruiter to help you. Without good information on your experience and goals, how will a recruiter ever find you what you really want? There are 3 areas where candidates are frequently tempted to embellish the truth, avoid full disclosure, or play games, and it can really backfire.

    • Compensation. It is in your recruiter’s best interest to get you the best offer possible. Empower them with the tools to do so. Most potential employers will require disclosure of your current compensation, and many will verify before a final offer is made. Do not embellish this information, or withhold from your recruiter. Also, be honest with your recruiter about your bottom line. Despite common misconceptions, most clients are NOT open to negotiation once an offer is made – so give your recruiter all the information they need now to get you the best offer from the get-go.
    • Other opportunities. No reasonable recruiter will expect that they are the only resource you are using in their job search. They know you will be networking, speaking to other agencies or employers, etc. But, be honest with them about who you are talking to and where you are in the process. Have you just started, are you interviewing seriously, do you have offers on the table, etc.?  This will enable your recruiter to gauge how hard to push clients, which opportunities to pursue, and what you have already covered.
    • Experience. It happens more often than you’d think – candidates claim they have skills, certifications, or degrees that they don’t have. Or, they embellish / overstate what they do have. Keep in mind that people often get caught – once they show up on the job and don’t have the skills advertised, or because it’s a small world out there and word gets around. Few things will tarnish your reputation more quickly, and assure that both your recruiter and client will never work with you again.

Keep control of your resume and NEVER allow a double submission. Few things are more discouraging to a recruiter than to do all the work of building a relationship with you and the client, submit your resume, then discover the client already has it. The recruiter ends up with egg on their face, and will be much less eager to represent you next time around. Further, clients are much less likely to consider you – even if unintentional, it can appear that you were trying to “work the system”.

Remember that your resume is yours and yours only. It is not for public use! Keep control of it on the resume boards – there are unscrupulous people who might send it out without your knowledge. Make sure that any recruiter you work with will get your approval before sending it on, and require they tell you the client name. Keep track of where your resume is, dates, names, results, etc.

Stay in touch. Check in with your recruiter from time to time, even if you aren’t looking currently. If you are not looking, every six months is good. If you are currently looking, once a week should suffice. If your recruiter reaches out to you, just to check in, or for referrals, respond – even if you have nothing to offer. A friendly hello is always appreciated.

Referrals. Your recruiter knows that you know good people in the industry. They will trust your insight and recommendations. Nothing will engender good will with your recruiter more quickly than providing names of talented colleagues. Something to keep in mind – I often hear, when asking for referrals “I don’t know anyone who is looking”. Usually though your colleagues will not tell you they are open to other opportunities. Your recruiter really just wants to know who you think is good – they can talk to the individual and determine their real level of interest.

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