Main image of article Ground Rules for Working with Tech Recruiters
screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-10-24-19-am Every business relationship needs to have boundaries and guidelines that govern the way that participating parties work together. And though most tech pros are very open about demanding timely updates and constructive feedback from recruiters, they may not realize that tech recruiters have ground rules, too. Recruiting’s unwritten rules of engagement not only build trust, but can also lead to success. So in the spirit of getting everyone on the same page, here are several ground rules that you should follow to maximize your relationships with tech recruiters.

Don’t Waste Their Time

When it comes to filling open requisitions, speed matters. Respect the recruiter’s time and client-driven mandate to find a qualified candidate by being totally honest about your interest and conditions for changing jobs. “Don’t engage in ego-driven conversations; be honest about your desire to change jobs and the professional opportunities you'd find appealing,” advised David Tate, VP of Technology for Blue Oak Labs. If the timing just isn’t right, that’s okay. It’s better to be honest so you have a sturdy relationship in place when you’re finally ready to make a move.

Honesty About Your Hands-On Experience

Never inflate or misrepresent your on-the-job experience with a specific program, tool, or process. If those critical shortfalls are exposed during a technical evaluation, or, worse yet, during your first days on the job, then everyone will have egg on their face. The same goes for a workplace faux pas that may have led to your dismissal from a previous position. As a general rule, you're better off disclosing potential areas of concern up-front rather than trying to hide them. Recruiters know which skills are vital and which are “nice-to-have.” If you were exposed to a software program in your previous environment or learned it in your spare time, a competent recruiter can portray your skills to a prospective employer in accurate ways that will keep you in the hunt.

Let Them Do Their Jobs

A recruiter is entitled to know your current status or if you’re already considering an offer, noted Arnie Fertig, founder and CEO of JOBHUNTERCOACH. For instance, they may be able to hurry things along in order to leverage a competing offer, or steer you away from employers that don’t measure up. “Don’t get in between the recruiter and the client by cutting them off after the first interview or attempting to handle salary negotiations yourself,” Fertig added. “It’s in the recruiter’s best interest to get you the highest salary possible. Plus, a recruiter knows the maximum amount a client is willing to pay and is better equipped to handle the negotiation process.”

Show Respect for Their Abilities

You don’t need programming skills or deep technical knowledge to be an effective recruiter. The real pros have meaningful connections with influential hiring managers, and a keen sense of timing, persuasiveness, and drive. “The top recruiters have skills that you don’t have,” Tate noted. “Show respect for their abilities because you may need to call on them in the future, especially if you become a manager and need help adding staff.” So if a recruiter doesn’t seem to have an in-depth understanding of the job duties, or doesn’t know the lingo, don’t get upset and badmouth them on discussion boards: mutual respect is the key ingredient in any successful relationship.

Use Your Power in a Positive Way

Yes, it's become a candidate-driven market, but don’t let that go to your head. You don’t want to develop a reputation for being egotistical or difficult to work with, because at some point, the market will swing back around. Experts insist that expertise and humility are a powerful combination. And quite frankly, you may not be as good as you think. “You may have concluded that you don’t need a recruiter to find a great job, but they can be a highly valuable asset in any market,” Tate said.