Working Effectively with SQL Server Recruiters

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An earlier tip we co-wrote we discussed ways to Evaluate Recruiters to partner with in your job search. However, a lot of candidates struggle with capitalizing on working with Recruiters once they initiate communication.

Some recurring trends we've heard from candidates include:

  • Recruiters send me too many opportunities that aren't relevant and/or don't match my motivators
  • I get contacted about the same opportunity from multiple Recruiters
  • Recruiters don't give me enough information about an interview process
  • Recruiters don't inform me of which companies they're sending my resume to
  • I'm not sure where I stand in the process for opportunities I've been approached about
  • Recruiters call me at work or other inconvenient times
  • Recruiters have stopped responding to me

Keep in mind that there are certain things you can do during the process of working with Recruiters to capitalize on the partnership!


Here are our top 6 suggestions on working effectively with Recruiters:

1 - Set Expectations

Establish expectations on how you'd like to work. Communication is a two way street, so it's important to communicate your preferences up front. Set expectations on when and how you'd like to conduct your job search (lunch time, Fridays after 3pm, evenings, etc.), your preferred communication channels, target timeframes (for interviews, start date, etc.) and your decision-making criteria and processes. You want to think of your relationship as a true partnership, so sharing your needs, wants, and desired protocols is an important component of making it a successful one!

2 - Discuss Motivators

Discuss your Motivators. If you've ever struggled with Recruiters sending you opportunities that don't match up with your skill set or job you're targeting, make sure you've discussed your top 2-3 motivators with them. Ask yourself what's most importantů Is it the technology stack, commute, pay, work and/or team environment, benefits, etc.? Everyone has different motivators, but it's important that you relay those to your Recruiter(s) so they know what job opportunities to present you with! In addition to your motivators, make sure to communicate interests, career goals, target companies, etc. Give as clear a picture of what you want as you can!

3 - Keep Track

Keep track of where you've been submitted. From a Recruiters standpoint, it can be frustrating to work with a great candidate, send them to the client and then find out that they were submitted the day before by another staffing firm. We recommend that every candidate keeps track of where their resume has been submitted, whether that be in an Excel document or another type of tracking mechanism. You'll want to note the staffing firm, recruiter, client you were submitted to, position title, date, salary range and/or requirement number (often times there is a designated VMS # or some type of job ID). You can always track interviews and managers you met with on this sheet as well!

4 - Stay in Touch

Quality Recruiters will reach out to you on a regular basis to give you updates on the job market and on positions you've been submitted to. If you don't get an update on your status, however, don't be afraid to call or email your Recruiter(s) to get an update! If you're back in the job market or going to be soon, inform your Recruiters that you're ready to start your job search. As previously mentioned, communication is key and strong relationships take time to build. Your relationship with your Recruiter is no different.

5 - Be Honest

Just as communication is important to a successful relationship, so is honesty. A few things to be honest about:

  • Your background, achievements and qualifications.
  • Other opportunities you are considering, what that status is with those opportunities (resume submitted, interviewed or expecting an offer), and how your Recruiter's position compares with the rest of the opportunities you're considering.
  • Your previous experience with staffing firms and/or Recruiters. If there is something that frustrated you before or caused issues, it's good to let your Recruiter know about it.
  • When a Recruiter provides an opportunity that aligns with that you want, explain why you're interested. On the flip side, communicate why certain positions aren't a fit or of interest. Remember, it's ok to say no! Either way, it will help your Recruiter fine tune the next opportunity they present to you.

6 - Seek Advice

Proactively seek advice around job search strategies. Always remember that quality Recruiters want to help you land a great job. They often have great "Career Services" type advice for resume formatting, branding yourself, and interview preparation information. Ask open-ended questions that will trigger them to provide you with the advice you're looking for. In addition, we recommend asking for industry, market, technology insights, trends, and/or news. And if you have this type of information, feel free to share it with your Recruiter as your ultimate goal is a mutually beneficial relationship!

Next Steps

Going forward, focus on capitalizing on your relationship with the Recruiter(s) you're working with. Here are our top 3 suggestions to make the most of your Recruiter partnerships:

  1. Communicate your interests in detail and ask "What clients do you work with that would be a match for my interests?" You can also encourage them to proactively submit you to any clients where you'd be a fit, but there are currently no open positions.
  2. Strategize on how to increase your marketability for the positions you're being submitted to. For example, "How could I further improve my resume to align with what your client is looking for?" or "What information (i.e. references, portfolio, code samples, etc.) should I provide during or after an interview to help me stand out?"
  3. Get a gauge of trends in the marketplace around your skill set. Ask "What have hiring managers been looking for?" and "What technologies or skills would they recommend you pick up to increase your marketability?"

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Erica Woods 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.

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

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