How to work with a recruiter

Tips for MLIS grads

How to work with a recruiter

Librarians face stiff competition for available job openings. One way to increase your chances of finding a rewarding position is to work with a recruiter who focuses on matching qualified librarians with employers, including the growing new opportunities in knowledge and information management outside of traditional libraries.

As specialized as librarianship is, so too are the recruiters who serve this niche. Having worked with libraries and other employers in need of knowledge and information management skills for many years, my recruiting team and I can impart some advice based on that experience.

The recruiter’s obligation is to the employer

As most librarian job seekers know, the process is certainly not as simple as providing your resume, clapping your hands and finding the perfect job. Learning how recruiters do their jobs is a good first step.

And the most important thing to keep in mind is that recruiters work for employers—not candidates! A big misunderstanding is that candidates think we work for them, but in reality, our client is the employer. I’ll have people tell me that we haven’t found them a job in years, like it’s the recruiter’s duty, and not their own responsibility, to find them employment.

It’s also important for you, the candidate, to have a very clear understanding of your professional objectives and career goals. According to one of my senior recruiters,

“Candidates should refrain from applying for positions that are clearly not in line with their goals or for which they are not qualified. Our clients are looking for motivated, engaged employees who are interested in contributing to their success, and it is the recruiter’s responsibility to refer only those candidates who can meet the client’s needs.”

Do’s and don’ts when working with a recruiter

Being able to articulate your objectives to a recruiter will help them make the right connections. Even though the employer is the recruiter’s client, that’s not to say that you aren’t an important part of the equation! That’s why it pays to nurture relationships with several recruiters in your niche – you want to be the first person they think of when the right opportunity arises. I recommend these do’s and don’ts for the best possible outcome with your recruiter.

  • DON’T ask recruiters to present you for positions that are not in line with your career goals or for which you are not qualified
  • DON’T assume that it’s the recruiter’s responsibility to find you a job, and certainly don’t complain if an opportunity doesn’t work out
  • DON’T call your recruiter excessively. It’s fair to check in occasionally, but trust that your recruiter will contact you when the time is right.
  • DO offer referrals for positions where you may not be qualified. Recruiters appreciate these leads, and it demonstrates your willingness to help them.
  • DO make your resume easy to read, without a lot of formatting. Many recruiters use applicant tracking systems that have difficulty parsing complex formats and could miss important details.
  • DO remember to thank your recruiter at the conclusion of the process. This simple courtesy goes a long way toward cementing a relationship you might need to call upon again.

“Be honest about your skill set and experience but also be confident. A lot of candidates in this industry are qualified and fully capable, but struggle to communicate that in an interview with the hiring manager.”

Working with LinkedIn

Working with LinkedIn

These days, just about anything career-related depends on the power of your network. Knowing that recruiters work for the employer and not the candidate, it’s important that you take responsibility for building your own network. I encourage you to include LibGig in your recruiter network and make our job board and website a primary resource for librarian careers and ongoing professional development. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest that you explore opportunities with multiple recruiters.

One of the best places to accomplish this is through LinkedIn:

  • In your LinkedIn profile, set your status to “On” to indicate that you are open to recruiters, and specify what you are looking for. This will give recruiters the ability to find you, and you can state your must-have needs as well as preferences, such as job location.
LinkedIn recruiters

“One thing that is key for me is resume readability. Your resume should be organized, straight-forward, and (usually) chronological. No crazy fonts or formatting. Make it stylish but keep it simple.”

  • Ask your LinkedIn network for recommendations. It is likely that you know many other librarians, some of whom may have worked with recruiters in the past. If you don’t want to make a public announcement, you can send individual messages to people in your network who may be able to help.
  • You can do a search for recruiters within LinkedIn, and those who are connected to people in your network will show up first in the results. With a Premium membership you can do more advanced searches and contact recruiters directly using the inMail feature.

Additionally, when it comes to LinkedIn, make sure you keep your profile up-to-date and provide a succinct overview of your accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. Focus on the achievements that will set you apart from others and try to avoid lengthy lists of daily tasks.

Finally, don’t get discouraged. Working with a recruiter might be a different process, but it’s all about the same outcome: finding the right fit between client and candidate.

The recruiting team at LibGig is always looking for qualified candidates for a variety of interesting and challenging library positions. If you’re considering a career change and would like to connect with one of our recruiters, visit the current listings on our job board.

Brad Rogers

Brad Rogers

Brad Rogers is the Director of Recruiting and is responsible for running LibGig operations and web services and managing recruitment for LibGig and all LAC Group’s divisions.
Brad Rogers