5 Tips for Working with a Recruiter

Job applicant having an interview

By The Creative Group

Has your job search hit a roadblock?  Interested in branching out into a different specialty, or going from an agency to inhouse?

The Creative Group 2015 Salary Guide shows that graphic designers are among the nine in-demand creative roles for the year, but landing a job can still be a challenge. In fact, research shows that marketing and advertising executives receive an average of 23 resumes for every opening; and HR professionals likely review many more. The competition for jobs may be tough, but employers are hiring. And working together with a specialized staffing firm can help you find a position that aligns with your career goals, work style and salary expectations. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of working with a recruiter.

There are many general staffing agencies out there. But for best results, work with recruiters whose forte is the creative industry. Because they have a wide network of local companies and agencies, they may be aware of openings that never hit job websites. Specialized recruiters also better understand your specific skill set, career goals and market value. They speak your language and are experts in representing candidates to organizations that need creative talent.

When working with a recruiter, honesty is the only policy. Present who you are, not the designer you would like to be. For example, if you have only a working knowledge of After Effects, don’t state on your resume that you’re highly proficient. You don’t want to be placed in a job where you lack the requisite skills. Your recruiter will also want to know your salary requirements, preferred employment type (freelance, full-time and/or contract-to-full-time) and any factors that might be deal breakers.

Patience plays a role in working with a recruiter. Chances are he or she is keeping an eye on open positions and will reach out to you when there’s a good match. That said, there’s nothing wrong with pinging your point of contact to remind him or her that you’re still interested in finding the right role. An occasional check-in also demonstrates your initiative and commitment to the job search.

After you return from an interview that the agency has set up for you, let your recruiter know how it went. Besides the positives, mention any concerns you may have and be candid with your feedback. The more information you provide, the better the recruiter will get to know you and what type of work you’re looking for. However, be careful not to be so selective that you pass up some potential golden opportunities.

Some recruiters proactively look for candidates to fill certain roles, so you want to be easy to find. Start by updating and completing your LinkedIn profile. Upload samples of your best work – PDFs, videos and presentations – and make sure there’s a link to your website or digital portfolio. Besides social media, get out and network in person. Carry your business cards to design meet-ups and professional events in case you run into recruiters in search of job seekers.

Recruiters can be helpful allies, but not all of them are equal. Be wary of firms that charge fees to job seekers; employers should be the ones who pay the finder’s fee, not candidates. Before signing on with any individuals or agencies, ask questions about their methods and make sure you have a good rapport. The effort will be worth it. When you find the right recruiter, you’ll see that it can help expand your options and possibly lead to your next creative job.

For lots more advice on job search, visit The Creative Group blog.