If you’re in the midst of a job search, chances are your inbox is filled with LinkedIn messages from recruiters promising the perfect role. But how do you sort through the noise and figure out who is the right fit for you? And how do you know what to look for in an IT recruiter to find someone who can truly bring you the quality job opportunities he or she is promising?

It’s true, working with a recruiter is a great way to access job opportunities that might not otherwise be available to you, but choosing a recruiter can feel overwhelming with so many headhunters vying for your business. Today we’re talking about what attributes you can look for when evaluating potential recruiters for your next job hunt. Working with a recruiter doesn’t have to be daunting.

What Traits to Look for in an IT Recruiter

In the world of staffing, your recruiter needs to know how to best sell your certifications and experience. You also need someone who will look out for your best interests instead of pushing you into a position just for the commission. Here are some attributes you’ll want to evaluate when searching for a recruiter:

Specialization in Your Industry

Don’t be fooled by the “perfect position” recruiters email you about. Some agencies hire for many positions in different fields and might not know the best fit for your experience. A good recruiter should be up to date the trends in your industry and understand what growth will look like for you. He or she can tell you the average salary for your position, help you set realistic expectations, and let you know specifically what the company is looking for in a candidate.

If you’re just starting out in the job search, then look for a specialized agency. If you’re in IT, don’t just go to your local staffing agency. While he or she might find you a short commute, he or she also might not understand your industry adequately enough to provide you the best cultural fit or the benefits you’re looking for.

Relationship Builder

The best recruiters don’t just want to help you find a job—they want to help you build a career. A great recruiter is focused on building a real relationship with you and the companies they hire for. The hiring manager should trust the recruiter to bring in great talent, and the recruiter should be interested in hearing your career goals and dreams to match you to the best employer.

Number of Positions Filled

Before working with a recruiter, ask how many candidates he or she has placed with the company you’re applying to. This will give you an idea of how connected he or she is with the hiring team. If the recruiter has placed several candidates, he or she should know exactly how you can interview to land the job. If you’re the first candidate he or she has pitched, the recruiter might have less history with the company, but likely also work extra hard to get his or her foot in the door for you and prove you’re a great fit.

What Warning Flags to Look for in an IT Recruiter

Perhaps just as crucial to knowing what you’re looking for in a recruiter is knowing what you don’t want in a partner. Here are some potential red flags to look for in an IT recruitor.

Misrepresenting the Role (and Your Qualifications)

He or she has sent you a few job postings, and none of them are quite right. Maybe the certifications are different than yours, or the position is IT-related but you’re pivoting to another area. Or worse—he or she is suggesting positions below your current level. Specialized agencies will know the career path for your industry and help you take the next step, not a step back.

If your recruiter keeps missing the mark, you need to find a new recruiter.

Pushy Recruiters

While we all want to find our next job quickly, you can tell if a recruiter will be too aggressive from your first phone call. For example, he or she insists on learning your current salary before suggesting roles in your desired range, then he or she might be a little too pushy. In the end, he or she might pressure you to accept any offer – not because it’s best for you, but because he or she wants to hit quota for the month.

Working with a Recruiter Puts You at the Top

While you should consider a variety of channels for your job search, ultimately a recruiter will put your resume on the top of the stack.

Unless you personally know the hiring manager, a recruiter supplies earned credibility so you can get into an interview. Working with a good recruiter gets you access to those dream companies that have been ignoring your submission on the job board.

If you’re ready to start the job search with an experienced recruiter, we’re the experts. Our relationships and industry knowledge will help you land your next job as quickly as possible. Connect with us today to get started.