Technical Recruiters: How to Get on Their Short List

You’ve done your research. You’ve found the perfecttech recruiters on short list IT recruiting firm. Score! What happens next though? How do you reach your goals?

At the end of the day, the answer boils down to forming a strong business relationship with your recruiter. But does this mean you sit back and passively wait for a job? Do you call your recruiter every day? Do you bake them cookies?

While I don’t know a technical recruiter who would pass up baked goods, you don’t have to go that far. (Actually, if you don’t know how to bake, I’d advise against it.) Instead, follow these 7 rules in order to form a strong business relationship with your recruiter and get on his/her short list.


Seven Steps to Getting On Your Technical Recruiter’s Short List

1) Avoid the 10 Page Resume

Recruiters appreciate it when you’re thorough. They do. Just make sure that you’re not too thorough. Your recruiters’ eyes will glaze over as soon as they download your resume and see the tiny scrub bar – not a good way to start the technical recruiting process.

What do you do? Delete those three paragraphs about your COBOL work in 1987. They’re completely unnecessary in 2012. Put a quick line or two at most and then move on. Leave room for the most recent and relevant job experiences but don’t be too wordy there, either. You’ll have a chance to explain, in depth, at the interview.



2) Clearly state your career/job goals.

Know what your career goals are. Is it finding enough work to stay consistently busy as a consultant? Is it locating a full-time job that you love? Once you figure out what you want, communicate this to your recruiter. A good recruiter is your best partner in helping to get these wishes fulfilled; they’ll search for a job that meets your needs.

That being said, it is important that you be willing to bend in order to reach your primary objective. If you want the best job ever, you may need to be patient and wait several months for it to arrive. If you need work now, you may need to lower your compensation requirements to land somewhere quickly. In short? Clearly communicate what you want while checking to make sure it is realistic.


3) Don’t Constantly Change Your Goals

While step two told you to be flexible, that doesn’t mean change your mind every two days. If you tell your recruiter that you need 75K on Tuesday, don’t tell them that you need 85K on Thursday. If you say you can do contract work, don’t change your mind a week later. Be flexible but don’t change your mind greatly on the big stuff like work type and desire; recruiters take your words to their clients. If you change your mind, it will damage the recruiter’s relationship with their client and your recruiter won’t want to work with you.


recruiters short list4) Follow recruiters’ advice

You might not always like what your recruiter tells you to do, but you should do it. They know the business and they know their clients. They’re telling you to do things to improve your chances of landing a contract, not because they want you to jump through hoops. So, if they tell you not to show up in a clown suit, don’t show up in a clown suit. If you do, there’s an overwhelming chance that you’re not going to get the job.


5) Communicate

Recruiters will update you as the process advances, even when the position you’re interested in closes. Do your recruiter the same courtesy; update them when your circumstances change. If you keep them informed, they’ll be better able to assist you in the future and won’t feel like you left them hanging.


6) Perform Well

Once you’re into a gig, keep in touch with your recruiter. Do great work. Be professional as you schedule time off, and even as you exit the opportunity. If you knock the socks off your client, your recruiter will push hard to work with you again.


7) Identify opportunityshort list technical recruiters

The best way to be at the top of your recruiter’s list when opportunities arise is to make sure your recruiters are on your list when you see opportunities for them! If you have a friend looking for work, let your recruiter know. If the client site where you are located has an upcoming opportunity, give him/her a call! They’ll thank you by putting you at the top of their technical recruit list.



These seven steps will ensure you get to the top of your recruiter’s list. If you are concise with your resume and your goals, if you follow advice and communicate, if you perform well and identify opportunities, you’ll be sitting pretty. Your recruiter will want to keep redeploying you.


What have you done to get on the top of your technical recruiter’s list? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Let us know in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!


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Thanks to koalazymonkey, woodleywonderworks and marc falardeau for the use of their respective photographs.