A quick Google search of IT focused Staffing firms in the St. Louis metropolitan area will yield hundreds of results. The massive number of firms, combined with very low unemployment rates in the technology sector, creates a plethora of options for IT Professionals. On the surface, firms all sound so similar to one another that it is no surprise candidates think all firms are alike and often take a first come, first served approach to their job search. In reality, firms are as different as night and day when it comes to things such as recruiting philosophies, recruiting processes, compensation, career development and industry reputation. When considering new opportunities through a Staffing firm, you may want to consider the following five points before deciding which firms are right for you.

1. Does your Recruiter listen to you? Or are they too busy telling you about the ‘perfect opportunity’ for you, without knowing anything more than what your resume or LinkedIn profile states? Make sure you find a Recruiter that wants to understand what is important to you in your job search. They should take the time to understand more than just where you’ve been submitted and how much money you made at your last position. Granted, those things are important, but they’re not the only items of importance to most. A good Recruiter will also want 
to know more about your preferences in regards to: company culture, commuting thresholds, industry preferences, company size preferences, and your career goals, to name a few. A lack of understanding about the person versus the resume can lead to a lot of wasted effort and time pursuing the wrong types of opportunities.

2. Does your Recruiter clearly communicate expectations? Does the firm clearly communicate compensation before they submit your resume or do they speak in generalities and pay ranges? Do they clearly communicate cost of benefits and number of days of paid time off? In order to attempt to minimize last minute snafus and surprises, the better Recruiters and firms will clearly define an exact compensation number including defined benefits and costs. They should also be able to clearly communicate their processes, as well as any additional information regarding the client and/or manager that would be an important part of your decision making process.

3. Does your Recruiter maintain consistent levels of communication? One of the biggest complaints heard regarding Recruiters is that once early pleasantries are out of the way and the candidate’s resume has been submitted, the communication dries up. While Recruiters cannot control when or even if they’ll get any usable feedback from clients, they can always control picking up the phone to check in. At a minimum, they should at least send over a quick email to let you know they haven’t forgotten about you.

4. Does your Recruiter help you develop a resume that is meaningful? Do they know how resumes are being screened by the client? Or do they merely cut and paste it onto the corporate letterhead? Schools and outplacement companies are still teaching the one page resume format but for experienced IT Professionals, that simply doesn’t work. Companies utilize a variety of methods to automate the resume screening process, including web-based systems that utilize algorithms based on key word searches, and utilizing non-technical gatekeepers that manually read and match up key words from a job description with the resume. An experienced Recruiter can help you put together a resume that can accommodate the various screening tools and help you get noticed by the decision makers to increase your odds of getting an interview. They’ll even send you a copy if you ask for it.

5. Do they help prepare you for the interview? Or do they just email you a short Word document with client directions and a few ‘pointers’? The savvy Recruiters and firms will sit down with you and discuss interview strategies with you, from basic pointers through closing. They should also be able to give you additional insight into the client and culture and, hopefully, the folks conducting the interview.

While some of the answers to these questions won’t be obvious or discernible through a preliminary phone call with a Recruiter, take the time to ask questions. Or better yet, meet with them in person. While that isn’t always ideal for many employed job seekers, investing a bit of extra time up front to conduct a little due diligence can potentially save hours in the long run. If you keep some or all of these points in mind when you are discussing your career options with Recruiters, it should become obvious fairly quickly which Recruiters are interested in just submitting your resume versus working diligently to find you the right opportunity.

Expertise you need. Results you deserve.