Recruiters are a valuable tool when you're looking for a job. They are directly connected with employers and possess insider information not only on the types of positions available, but also the specific work environment and performance expectations for specific teams.
They are critical when you're looking for a new job while you have a job if you want to avoid putting your resume on job boards (like Monster and DICE) so your company’s own internal recruiters don’t stumble upon your profile. With all that being said, your success working with a recruiter depends largely on how you interact with them. Here are some tips on how to work with recruiters so you can get the job you want:
Don't go over the recruiters head by talking directly to employers. A big part of a recruiter's job is to negotiate an agreement between the employer and the job candidate, so when you are working with a recruiter, it is very bad form to speak directly to the employer. Trust your recruiter when it comes to things like determining whether or not you're a good fit for an employer and negotiating your compensation package.
Make sure your recruiter specializes in your industry. Many recruiters specialize in certain industries: Banking, Computer Software, Pharmaceutical/Life Science, etc. Within those industries, you’ll find even more specialization: Engineer, Executive, Professional, Scientist, etc. So make sure that you have the most productive relationships with recruiters who specialize in your field and/or job function.
Finally, thank your recruiter and return the favor. Be sure to thank your recruiter at the end of the process for all the work s/he did to help you get a job. Return the favor, at least partly, by endorsing your recruiter on LinkedIn and/or by sending good job candidates their way. Stay connected through social media, and let your recruiter know when you have an updated resume. All of these things will help strengthen your relationship with your recruiter and make it easier, and more likely, that your recruiter can help you find a job in the future.