By: Jill Reynolds, Quantix President and CEO
Not all recruiters and recruiting agencies are created equal. If you have used the services of recruiters in the past, you most likely know that the relationships and service levels can vary greatly from one recruiting agency to another. Some agencies submit candidates to their clients with very little (if any) prequalification or interaction with the candidate. Other agencies dive deep to learn about the candidate’s background, experience and personal criteria for a future position.
Your next position, whether a contract or a direct hire role, is an important decision. A full service recruiter should be considering you, the candidate, as a whole person and not just your ability to perform the functions of the job. For a recruiter to effectively serve the candidate and end client there should be more to recruiting process than matching technical skills.
Once you and your recruiter have determined that you have the basic qualifications to be considered for a position, the process has merely started. At various points during the prequalification and interview process there are important factors to consider. Below is a list of questions to help you determine whether this is the right role for you:
1) Who is the client?
You should know the end client who will be receiving your resume. You want to ensure you have not previously submitted your resume directly or that another recruiter has represented you to the same client. If your resume has been double submitted, you risk being eliminated from consideration regardless of how well suited you are for the role.
2) Where is the client located?
Is this location convenient and commutable on a daily basis?
3) Is this a contract, contract to hire or direct hire role?
For a contract role:
Will you be a W-2 employee or a 1099? If needed, are benefits available and is the hourly rate clearly defined? How long will the contract last?
For a contract to hire (temp. to perm.) position:
How long is the contract portion before employment conversion with the client? Does the client consistently convert on time or are delays a possibility? Will I negotiate my own salary at the time of conversion or is the salary pre-negotiated before the contract starts? What benefits are available from the client at the time of conversion?
For a direct hire position:
What compensation and benefits are available from the client? Will I negotiate my own salary or will those negotiations take place between the agency and the client? Have you placed other candidates with this client and if so, did their roles meet the expectations described through the interview process?
4) What hours are you expected to work?
Does the client conduct business during traditional work hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is telecommuting an option either full- or part-time? Will this role require overtime or weekends to meet deliverables or provide support? Based on the answers to these questions, does this mesh with your lifestyle and outside obligations?
5) Is there travel involved?
If so, how much and where? Does the client cover the travel expenses up front or will you be reimbursed by the agency or client?
6) What is the client’s environment and organizational culture like?
Is it casual and laid back or traditional and “starched”; progressive or reserved, quiet or interactive? Are the roles typically performed in a team fashion or as individual contributors? What is the leadership and management style?
7) What should you expect from the interview process and how long will it take?
Will this process start with a phone interview or face-to-face? How many interviews should you expect they will conduct? Do they conduct panel interviews or one-on-ones? Do they make decisions individually, by committee or is unanimous vote required? Will the entire process take days, weeks or months?
8) Have you (the recruiter) placed other candidates with this client and did their positions match what was described in the interview process? If offered the position, how soon would the client expect you to start?
If you need to resign from your current role, two weeks’ notice is customary when delivering your resignation, is that timeframe sufficient? Is there the possibility you could be available sooner? Do you want to take time off between positions or do you have any vacations planned?
Many of these questions may seem basic or just “good common sense,” but often the basics can be overlooked by the candidate and recruiter. Make sure you have also carefully considered your own criteria for “the right job” and discuss these factors with your recruiter. Considering the peripheral aspects of a new position as early in the process as possible can provide confirmation as to whether or not this is the job for you and will help you avoid last minute disappointment or frustration for you and/or the end client.