Whether you're seeking a permanent position or a contract, or have a particular coorporation in mind, you may want to work with a recruiter. A recruiter is "an intermediary between a person and a position," according to Kirk Walton, senior recruiter for Tech-Pro, an IT consulting firm in Roseville.

Walton says consulting companies tend to be structured with recruiters who bring in people and a sales side that works with clients to find positions. A recruiter for full-time positions may run a "full desk," finding positions and locating prospective workers.

Meet Face To Face

Walton says that one test of a good recruiter is whether they are willing to meet with you face to face. "You don't get personality and energy level from a phone call," he says. "A candidate won't put `Get me a job that's going to keep me busy!' on a résumé, but you can say that to a recruiter."

Some longevity is another good sign. "If a recruiter has a track record of job hopping every few months, chances are they are just not getting the job done," he says.

Walton advises working with more than one recruiter - but not too many. "If you're only working with one or two, your span is not as good as it could be. Anything more than four or five is unmanageable," he says.

Finding the three or four recruiters you will actively work with might require you to interview with several more. "Some firms work with independents and seasoned consultants. Other firms only hire salaried individuals," Walton says. Friends, LinkedIn networks and newspaper articles are good sources of information on recruiters and their specialties.

Building Trust

The relationship with a recruiter builds over time, Walton says. "If you sense a recruiter is getting annoyed at hearing from you, you may be working with the wrong recruiter."

Another danger signal, Walton says, is a recruiter who won't agree to get permission before presenting your résumé to a client. "The worst thing that can happen to a candidate is that your résumé shows up at the same place from two different companies," Walton says. "For legal reasons, the hiring firm instantly throws that candidate out."

In this economy, finding the right position may take time. Still, Walton says, "I truly believe a successful recruiter is someone who can marry a great candidate to a great job. There is a perfect position out there for everyone."

Laura French is principal of Words Into Action, Inc., and is a freelance writer from Roseville.