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Working with a Search Firm – Do’s and Don’ts

If you’re considering working with an employment search and staffing firm for the first time, there are certain points to consider that should prove mutually beneficial.

At MDS Staffing, we sometimes describe the service we provide as being “an extra set of legs to assist in your own job search.” So think of us as possibly finding certain jobs that you may not find on your own.

Two things to avoid when using a search firm
Resist signing a document that restricts your own job search or possibly using other relevant search firms in the future. Whenever we hear of a candidate doing this, we flinch. This sounds unethical and only benefits the search firm.

Do be polite to the person you’re speaking with at the search or staffing firm. You never know when this person might be your employment savior, so it’s always a good policy to treat people as you wish to be treated.

Also, tell the search firm rep that you would like to be in charge where your resume is submitted. This means that a good search firm will always ask your permission before submitting a resume to an employer. It’s a good idea to keep a log of where your resume is going, the position you’re applying for, and the date the resume was submitted.

Why silence isn’t always golden
Sometimes after a job offer or even multiple job offers, a candidate will go underground or refuse to respond to the search firm representative’s correspondence. We fully understand that the candidate is trying to buy some time in sorting out whether accepting a new job is a good decision. If that’s what going on in the candidate’s head, no problem. Just tell the search firm rep that’s what’s happening. It’s possible that the search firm rep can help with your decision making process. The rep has gone through this process dozens of times previously and probably can highlight the pros and cons to your offer. Please just keep the lines of communication open.

If you are employed while seeking other opportunities, the less people who know that you’re looking the better. The last thing you want to happen is to jeopardize your present position. Respect what you have, be professional, and be discreet.

All search firms aren’t created equal
Like every other service provider, there are good search firm reps and some that aren’t so good. Most search and staffing firms have specialty niches where they are strong and have a reputation established within a particular industry. That is usually, but not always a good place to start when considering working with a search firm.

Get a feel for how a search firm rep sounds on the phone and how they correspond via email. If your rep’s communications skills are weak, correspondence is less than professional or even pushy, that person may not be the best individual to represent your resume.

Finally, if time allows, a face to face interview with the search firm representative may be the best route when beginning your job search. Often putting a face to a voice is the best way to realize if this individual or company is someone you’d like to do business with.

Tim Cotroneo/ MDS Staffing

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