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Upgrade your recruiter

Word of mouth is often the best way to find a good IT recruiter, but here are some additional tips to try.

Dear Molly: Could you tell me how to find a good IT recruiter? I’m not having much luck finding another job in JAVA programming on my own, despite a few years of experience and good (I think) references. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but was thinking maybe a recruiter could help me figure it out.

Molly says: I think that good recruiters are like good book agents–you find the best ones by asking people who already have one. So, I’m going to give you some general pointers and then I suggest you ask other programmers (online and face-to-face) for their specific recommendations.

It make take you a few months to find a firm and then to decide if you want to work with them, so don’t stop your independent job search in the meantime.

Ask your recruiter prospects lots of questions (see below). If they balk or if the answers sound fishy, follow your instincts and don’t work with them. Ask how long they’ve been in the IT recruiting business, how many people they place on average per year, and what kinds of services they provide (free and compensated).

Don’t work with a firm that wants you to pay them to find you a job. The top-notch firms all collect their fees from the companies doing the hiring. Occasionally a firm will charge fees for extras such as helping you write your resumé, but if there are a lot of extra charges. it might indicate the firm isn’t pricing its services correctly.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at [email protected]

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