August 6, 2019

How to Pick the Right Recruiter: Questions to Ask During Your First Conversation

As a consultant, finding a recruiter you can trust is essential.  Having someone in your corner to champion your unique skills is an excellent way to get connected to new and exciting projects.

A good recruiter should be your advocate at all times. This person will help you identify opportunities that you may not otherwise come across on your own. How do you select the right recruiter, or company, to be that partner? It’s helpful to go into these discussions with a set of questions that will help you determine the best fit.

What skill areas do you and your company specialize in?

Some consulting companies focus on placing consultants within a specific skill set, industry, or with unique product experience, while others support a broad range of specializations. It’s imperative to make sure that you’re working with a recruiter that understands the kind of skills you have to offer and is able to provide you with consulting opportunities that set you up for success. The company and recruiter should have experience placing consultants that specialize in your area of expertise, as well as work with clients who require this specialized talent. This ensures that you will be presented with project opportunities and positions that best align with your professional expertise.

Who do I turn to if I have a question during the project?

You should always be aware of who to contact in the event you need further clarification during your assignment. Having one point of contact to address all your needs will streamline processes and allow you to work more efficiently. Your recruiter should make themselves available to speak to you if you need them, and you should have a point of contact within your assigned company to touch base with for project-related questions.

How will I be paid?

Every consulting firm has its own pay structure. Make sure that it works for you and your needs, and be sure you understand the payment and reimbursement process. Establish the basics before you start. Will you be compensated weekly or bi-weekly? What sort of time management system does the company utilize? All of these are important factors to consider before accepting an assignment.

What benefits will be available to me?

Similar to pay structure, you should be aware of the benefits you can expect to receive while working for the company. You may be eligible for medical, dental, and vision insurance, a 401k, and other benefits. Depending on the company you choose to work with, these benefits may not be offered. It’s vital to keep this in mind while researching a company, as they may not provide the coverage and benefits you expect.

What happens when the project ends?

As a consultant, consistency and speed in being placed on assignments is key. In order to maintain your standard of living and expand your experience, you want to have a steady stream of project opportunities to choose from. Make sure to ask what the strategy is for keeping you working. Your chosen company should maintain open lines of communication, and keep in touch with you throughout the project. They are there to serve you, not the other way around.

What are your contract terms for employment?

Some companies require their consultants to sign a non-compete before placing them on an assignment. It’s important to read the entire document and ensure you understand it completely before signing. Confirm that the terms of the non-compete won’t prevent you from working with other companies for extended periods, and ask any and all additional clarifying questions that come to mind before signing any documentation. Some related questions you might ask are:

  • What if another company has a project opportunity for me, and your company does not?
  • If you cannot find me a project that fits my needs, what are my options to work with other companies?
  • How will you make sure I will continue to receive project work after my first consulting opportunity with you?
  • Do I have the ability to work with other firms, or am I committed exclusively to working with your company? If so, for how long?

If you ask these questions of a recruiter and find that you can’t get a direct answer, continue exploring other organizations. You don’t want to find yourself in a long-term contract that limits your opportunities.

If you’re ready to start a conversation with a recruiter, get connected with someone at Oxford who can answer all of your questions.

Quality. Commitment.

Whether you want to advance your business or your career, Oxford is here to help. With nearly 40 years’ experience, we know that a great partnership is key to success. Start a conversation today.