Getting the Most from IT Placement Agencies
Whether an IT pro is actively looking for a new and better opportunity or simply searching for a job period, there are a few common-sense tips that can bring about a positive and beneficial experience when an employment agency. All agencies are not alike, nor are all recruiters the same. Important considerations, however, are honesty, respect, foresight and trust in the agency to act as your employment liaison.
“First of all, honesty is important, especially about your skills,” said Cheryl Porter, director of IT staffing at New Jersey-based ACT Consulting. “Now, most people in IT are really pretty honest. They say, ‘I’m a little light in this’ and whatever. That helps us to find them a job, and it helps us not to present them for a job that they’re not qualified for.”
Second, it’s critical that prospective employees are respectful during any agency interaction whether in person or by phone — it doesn’t pay to burn any bridges.
“When they get calls, they should treat that person with respect for several reasons,” Porter said. “They’re not changing careers, I’m not changing careers. If I can’t help them today with one job, I can maybe help them next year. But if they burn their bridges, I won’t help them. Also, I’m keeping my client in mind. I have a particular client that I’m working with right now. He runs a small shop, and he likes to have everybody be nice and get along, so that’s also in the back of my mind. Some of them are rude — some of them hang up on you. Some of them tell you they don’t need you, but they come crawling back a month later. Some people turn down a job because it’s a full-time job, and they take a consulting position because of the money. I said, ‘But you’re going to be traveling, you’re not going to have a life, you’re going to come back to me and beg for this job back,’ and that’s what happens.”
Further, if a presented opportunity is a poor fit, don’t let the conversation end there. Rather, inquire about other opportunities.
“Another very important thing is when they’re going through the interview process, if there are any problems or concerns, come to us,” Porter said. “I’m your liaison between you and your prospective boss. The client doesn’t want to hear about your personal problems. You’re not hired yet. And if you create too many problems upfront, you won’t be hired.
“And when you go for the interview, go prepared. Show up early so you’re not frazzled. Bring a copy of the job description, your resume, do your homework on the company. Go over all of that stuff the night before but also have it with you. I have a friend who went for an interview, and they brought up one bullet point on her resume. She didn’t remember what specifically she did at that company that made her put that bullet point there, and she was at the interview with egg on her face. Have it in front of you. Be prepared.”