As the market for talent tightens, you may hear from so many recruiters that you want to send them all to eternal voice mail. If you consider executive search a necessary evil, here’s good news:  you can get recruited without getting pummeled. You just need to separate the recruiters who focus on companies at the expense of candidates from the ones who serve both companies and candidates.

Here are four signs you’ve found the latter, a recruiter who treats you like a client:
  1. You feel respected.  A conversation with a recruiter should be a meaningful exchange of thoughts with a good listener who will help you decide if a position is right for you. You may hang up feeling almost as if you’ve had a session with a therapist. You should not feel pitched.  You should not feel pressured. You should feel respected.

  2. You drive the conversation. The recruiter should encourage you to take the lead so that you can do your due diligence to evaluate whether this is the right opportunity for you personally and professionally. You should not hear a monologue on why the open job is the perfect job for you. How can anyone know what is perfect for you unless they’ve listened to you first? You should hear probing questions. “What’s most important to you?” “Will this job make you happy?” “Will it challenge you?” “What are the things you’re not getting in your current role that you wish you had?” “What do you need to know to evaluate this opportunity?”

  3. You get good answers. Recruiters don’t know everything, but you should have no trouble getting good information about the hiring manager, the company’s strategic direction and the position’s details, including technical details and cultural fit. Ideally, you should speak with a senior recruiter who can provide a strong industry perspective on what a move might mean for your career.

  4. You feel free to say no.  A good recruiter will want you to make the right decision about whether or not to throw your hat in the ring. If you’re tempted to agree to forward a resume just to end the conversation, that’s a bad sign. The recruiter should only want your resume when it’s the right resume. By getting to know you, the recruiter will have a resume on file to help identify the next opportunity that is ideally suited to you.

These signs point you toward a greater chance of finding alignment with a prospective employer, building a long-term relationship with a recruiter and having a recruiting experience you might even enjoy.
By Steve Prisco

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