Updated: Jan 18, 2018
Chances are you’ve heard the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This cliche is used over and over again to imply that if something is working for its intended purpose, it should be left alone.
On the surface, this makes sense. After all, it seems silly to spend valuable resources, like time and money, on something that doesn't need fixing, right? Well, here’s the thing: this phrase makes sense… until it doesn’t.
When it comes to your career, this cliche should never apply. Although you may be really happy with your current company, you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to elevate your career to the next level. A recruiter could call you at any point and tip you off to a great position that fits your skills and your overall aspirations.
Instead of completely settling into your current role, stay open to possibility. You don’t always need to be searching for the next thing, but you can keep your mind open with the following steps:
1) Realize Job Searching is Like Dating
Everyone knows someone who looks for love in all the wrong places. Whether it’s a friend, family member or a random Facebook connection, you know someone like this. It’s no secret that these people often struggle to find love because they want it more than anything else. They’re so desperate for it that they drive it away.
In some ways, managing your career is very similar. You don’t want to look for your next career move when you’re unsatisfied or unemployed. The best time to think about your future prospects is actually when you’re happy and satisfied with your current role. This way, you’ll consider opportunities from a place of power, not fear.
2) Find the Right Fit
Whether you’re looking to make a move right now or in five years, it’s important to establish and nurture an effective relationship with a recruiter. When you’re evaluating potential recruiters, they should pique your interest. So, one good way to evaluate them is with the following acronym—PIQUE.
The first thing to figure out about a recruiter is whether or not they’re interested in your long-term career success—not just finding your next paycheck. Some individuals in this field are overwhelmed with the jobs they need to fill, so they generally connect with prospects quickly and on a rather superficial level.
A great recruiter who looks out for your best interests won’t be interested in a short-term relationship. He or she will want to follow your career and continually look for opportunities that are suited to your skillset.
The best recruiters will even learn how you function within your current role. When you get promoted and are in a position to build a team, your recruiter will be able to partner with you.
Another telltale sign of a highly effective recruiter is the level of integration he or she has with the client. Do they have personal relationships with hiring managers? Do they understand the unique challenges and opportunities of every role they recruit for?
You can get a sense of their level of integration over social media and their professional profiles, but you can also reach out to him or her and ask questions directly. When they respond to your inquiry, pay special attention to how he or she refers to the client. A great sign is if they use “we,” as in themselves and the client.
A trustworthy recruiter doesn’t have sales-based interests. They’re simply interested in getting to know you and your wants and needs.
When you’re considering working with a recruiter, think about the kind of questions he or she asks. Are they all surface-level, or do they go a bit deeper? Try to partner with an individual who asks thought-provoking, important questions. His or her ultimate goal should be to understand you well. The best recruiters know the ins and outs of their candidates so they can place them in well-fitting roles that improve their career trajectories.
Although talking about your shortcomings is uncomfortable, it’s paramount to a successful partnership with your recruiter. The top professionals in the field will ask you a lot about your failures and opportunities for improvement. Albeit uncomfortable, try and remain open to sharing; great organizations (and individuals) embrace and channel their failures effectively towards successes.
In some ways, your relationship with a recruiter might feel like a relationship with an attorney or a therapist; you have to discuss issues in some detail so you can receive advice and help. The more your recruiter knows about you, the better they can represent you and ultimately connect you with the right career move.
Recruiters who know their prospects well and understand the culture and vision of their clients are successful. When evaluating a recruiter, look for their success stories. Their social media or website should have a client successes section that will help you gain an understanding of his or her track record.
Another interesting way to determine a recruiter's effectiveness is to provide him or her with prospects. If you know a prospective talent, whether they’re a co-worker or friend, share their information with the recruiter. If they really are a leader in their field, he or she will take your tip seriously and offer help or request more information immediately.
3) Be a Good Candidate
Although you may feel like a recruiter is simply working for you, this isn’t exactly the case. If you want to reap all the rewards he or she can offer, you need to work together. Your relationship will be a two-way street where both parties make an effort.
As such, you’ll want to be open with your recruiter. Keep him or her up-to-date on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling about your career. A solid recruiter will close the loop with you, but it’s nice for you to reach out first from time to time.
You can also improve your candidacy by asking for helpful feedback. Ask recruiters how you can put your best foot forward and see if there’s anything you can do to improve your resume or overall career. They should help tee you up for success and provide you with informative insight and advice.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re two years into your career or have been in an industry for 30 years, you can benefit from the help of an effective recruitment partner. It might seem a bit silly to think about fixing something that’s not broken, but if you don’t remain open to opportunity, you might miss out on chances to take your career, lifestyle and/or compensation to the next level
Start looking at potential recruiters now and evaluate them with the information above. It may take some time to sort through your options, but once you are partnered with the right recruiter, your efforts will be well-rewarded.