Good Recruiters: They Really Do Exist!
After all has been said and done, any recruiter that helps you get a consulting gig is a good one. The problem is, you don't know which of the thousands of recruiters out there are actually going to be of value until you've spent time working with them. Here are some things I used to look for when initially contacting a recruiters.
Does the recruiter tell you about specific opportunities?
This is important because you want to filter out the recruiters that are just looking for resumes to fill their databases. Although unconfirmed, some recruiters have various quotas they need to fill such as calling a certain number of people, meeting with a certain number of people, and finding new resumes. A recruiter looking to fill quotas is wasting your time.
Does the recruiter offer feedback on your resume?
When you get feedback about your resume you know that the recruiter actually read it. There's just no other way to offer feedback. Although not getting feedback doesn't necessarily mean the recruiter hasn't read the resume. If the recruiter doesn't offer an commentary, ask for their opinion on how you can adjust your resume to better match the opportunities the recruiter is currently trying to fill.
Is the recruiter interested more in your current rate than anything else?
This behavior is indicative of information gathering rather than any real attempt to find you work. Feel free to make up a number. Or better yet, use these opportunities to see how much your worth. Start by throwing out a large number. Reduce the number on the response from the recruiter makes it sound like it's possible for you to get that amount. Then tack on another 30% since recruiters always account for their cut.
Does the recruiter want to meet you?
An offer to meet in person can be good or bad. It's a tough call sometimes. You need to look at the other things the recruiter is doing to decide whether it's worth your time. When I started out as a consultant, I would go to any and every meeting a recruiter requested. More than half the time I was asked to fill out forms about my employment history, didn't hear about any specific jobs, and spent only a few minutes actually talking to anyone. These were wastes of time. What made things worse was that I sometimes lost billable hours while sitting in a someone's waiting room.