Evaluating SQL Server Recruiters

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During any job searches, you're probably contacted by a dozen or more Recruiters. An earlier tip on 'Evaluating Staffing Companies' provided guidance on how to identify good staffing firms. However, when you're getting contacted by Recruiters at various firms, it can also be a challenge to find a quality Recruiter who'll connect you with good opportunities and look out for your best interest. So, what are some tactics for evaluating Recruiters to ensure you're working with an individual who will act as a true 'Partner' to you in your search?


Searching for a job and going through the vetting, interview, offer, transition and orientation processes can be a very stressful time. If you have a quality recruiter, who's a true partner and there with you throughout the process, it can help ease anxieties, be a sense of comfort, present you with more opportunities, and hopefully result in the selection of a better opportunity!

Working with Recruiters can open up doors to opportunities you otherwise wouldn't have been made aware of. It can also provide additional insight into the market, trends, more specific details on companies and opportunities, and more! Here are our top suggestions for evaluating Recruiters to find one(s) who'll be a quality partner.

  • Find a Recruiter who focuses on your role. Keep in mind that there are several types of Recruiters, including generalist recruiters, industry focused recruiters, and skill set aligned recruiters. There are several technology focused staffing organizations that have Recruiters who focus specifically on partnering with Database and/or Big Data professionals. Identify a few of these Recruiters and initiate contact to communicate your interests and status in the job market and you'll be off to a great start!
  • Determine if the firm / Recruiter is interested in finding you a good fit, and not on pigeon holing you into the one opportunity they might currently have. During your conversations, see if the Recruiter seeks to understand your motivators. If the conversation starts off with them going right into the opportunity, and they haven't asked you anything about your interests, it might be a red flag. Great Recruiters take the time to know their candidates wants, needs, and desires so they're better equipped to match you with relevant job opportunities.
  • Get referrals. Referrals are a great avenue for identifying quality Recruiters. Ask your network ' former and/or current co-workers, friends, members for your technical groups / communities, etc. Another option is to see who is posting SQL Server related openings in your area. Do you see certain names and/or companies pop up more than others? If so, create a shortlist of the people you want to reach out to.
  • Scope them out. We often like to check out a potential candidate's LinkedIn profile before reaching out, and we recommend that you do the same with Recruiters! Notice how long they've been in the Staffing Industry and how long they've been a Recruiter. Are they a member of any SQL Server groups / communities? Does their profile express that they focus primarily on SQL Server related opportunities? These are all key aspects to look for when you're evaluating a Recruiter's profile.
  • Evaluate their knowledge of skill sets and market.  Just as Recruiters vet candidates, it's important that you interview and evaluate your potential Recruiters. Great Recruiters view their relationships as partnerships, so you want to ensure you're 'going into business' with someone that knows and understands your skill set as well as market trends. Most Recruiters are not technical, but that doesn't mean they don't have a knowledge and understanding of SQL Server related technologies. Asking a question like 'How many of your clients use SQL BI technologies?' can help demonstrate their knowledge base of your skill set.
  • Evaluate their willingness / ability to provide you career guidance. The Recruiters that are ideal to partner with are the ones that will proactively offer advice on your resume, information into an opportunity / hiring manager / team beyond the basic job description, and interview advice and preparation. If you find a Recruiter that offers these types of career guidance and goes above and beyond to help set you up for success in your job search, hold on to them!
Next Steps

I once had a Technical Professional tell me 'I feel like I strike gold when I find a great Recruiter who supports my skill set and will look out for my best interest.' Ask yourself some of these questions when working with Recruiters to determine how quality of a partner they'll be to you in your job search!

  1. What company do they work with? Is the staffing company reputable and stable?
  2. What skill sets do they support?
  3. Do they provide you some of the details you might be interested in, like versions of technology, environment size, project details, etc'? Or, do they just focus on what the 'client needs' are?
  4. How knowledgeable are they about your skill set?
  5. How knowledgeable are they about the market?
  6. Do they seem connected and credible via online channels like LinkedIn? Do they have endorsements and/or recommendations?
  7. How is their communication throughout the process? Are they proactive? Do they remain in contact at least weekly for any opportunities you're being considered for?
  8. Are they resourceful or helpful throughout the process?
  9. How tenured are they?
  10. Do you share any connections with them on LinkedIn? If so, does your shared connection endorse them?

When you find a Recruiter you enjoy working with, remember to keep that relationship going. Reach out to them periodically, connect them with other individuals in your network who are in the job market, and/or keep them informed of your status in the job market.

About the author
Erica Woods has nearly a decade in the IT staffing world, an MBA, and is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Cate Murray Cate Murray is responsible for managing the nationally-based talent acquisition strategies of the Apex Systems PMO and Business Analysis Practice and holds her PMP certification from PMI.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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