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How to Engineer a Productive Relationship with a Recruiter

By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman

Navigating the market for contract professionals can be tricky, so why go it alone? Adopt a team approach by developing an effective working relationship with an experienced and capable engineering recruiter.

Recruiters function as talent search agents for engineering firms and businesses that need a speedy injection of expertise. While they network with engineering managers and stay abreast of upcoming projects, most of their time is spent matching qualified engineers with appropriate contract opportunities.

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Having a recruiter in your court can lead to increased assignments and income, but even the best relationships require ongoing attention, nurturing and work. Here are six characteristics of a successful working relationship with an engineering recruiter.

Find the Right Match

Identify one or two recruiters who specialize in your discipline and have established relationships with engineering managers in the firms for which you’d like to work. Engineering managers rarely advertise for contractors, so you’ll set yourself up to get the first shot at emerging projects by leveraging a recruiter’s market intelligence and contacts. Ask about the staffing firm’s placement process, communication practices and market specialization while assessing your chemistry with the recruiter and ability to work together. Your recruiter will be representing you, so you need to choose carefully.

Be Prepared

Be ready to discuss your goals, travel preferences and salary requirements during your initial meeting with a recruiter. Articulating your strongpoints and goals upfront sets the tone for the relationship and helps your recruiter proactively market your attributes and technical expertise to engineering managers. Let recruiters know if certain firms, projects or geographic areas are off limits. Keep in mind that the more flexible you are, the more opportunities you’ll have.

Heed Your Recruiter’s Advice

Your recruiter is a valuable source of information about the contract labor market. In fact, they can help you shine during interviews by revealing an engineering manager’s hot buttons and valuable insights about the firm’s culture, hiring process and scope of work. They can also help you spruce up your resume, select value-enhancing projects and negotiate a competitive rate. So don’t be afraid to pick a recruiter’s brain.

Return Calls and Emails Promptly

Staffing is a competitive industry where time is of the essence. Always return calls or emails from your recruiter as soon as possible, keep him or her updated on your status and provide timely feedback during an assignment and after an interview. Update your resume and project addendum when you complete assignments and acquire new skills. Doing so will increase your marketability, which will benefit you and your recruiter.

Be Forthright

If you work with multiple recruiters, keep them in the loop. For instance, let your recruiters know if you’ve already interviewed for a position or if you’ve worked for an engineering firm or manager in the past – so they can present your resume with confidence. A successful relationship hinges on trust, and being unaware of an engineer’s history with a manager can be embarrassing. For jobs that aren’t a good match, let recruiters know why. This will help them gain a better understanding of your immediate goals and preferences.

Invest in the Relationship

Great partnerships benefit both parties. Treat your recruiter like a networking contact by introducing him or her to your colleagues. If you can’t accept an assignment, offer referrals and touch base periodically. If your recruiter helps you land a plum assignment, send a thank you note or offer to buy him or her lunch or a cup of coffee. That way you’re not just another name in the database and your recruiter will think of you first when another opportunity comes along. Remember, the bond you build with a recruiter is an integral component of a productive partnership.


Other information of potential interest

Defining the Ideal Resume for Contract Engineers

Five Tips for Landing Repeat Assignments

How to Create a Personal Brand to Promote Your Engineering Skills

Want a Raise? Top Paying Cities for Contract Engineers

Help PEAK find the right placement for you:  Submit or Update your resume.

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2 thoughts on “How to Engineer a Productive Relationship with a Recruiter

  1. Hi! I’m a professional Electronics Technician, I have doing Sustaining Engineering, Product Support, Logistics Triage,work with the R&D department work on new upcoming products, As an Associate Systems Engineer I did failure analysis of on the field failures, help solving problems and making improvements to prevent future problems, assist manufacturing in the certification for new products testing to MIL SPEC 810.
    I would like for you to check my qualifications which are described in my resume.

    I would like to find a job that matches my qualifications any help I can get would appreciated
    J PABLO CASTRO
    3222 QUARRY RD
    Palmdale, CA 93550
    Phone: (661) 341- 6923
    E-mail: jp_cas@live.com

    Summary: Hands-on engineering experience offering a unique combination of leadership and technical expertise. Solid history of producing results in inflight entertainment manufacturing, interactive systems, video/audio, avionics and RF systems. Delivered on time results in Small Unmanned Air Vehicles manufacturing and product support while making systems improvements in sustaining engineering, analysis of on field failures, test fixture development and environmental testing.
    Experience:
    Job Title: Systems Engineer
    Employer: AeroVironment, INC. Simi Valley California
    Dates: 03/2003 to 10/2012
    Duties: Analyzed and integrated all components per specifications
    Performed necessary modifications where required
    Delivered failure analysis and solutions
    Supported sustaining engineering and product improvement
    Prepared reports based on engineering analysis
    Confirmed equipment performed per specifications
    Developed test plans for product certification MIL-STD 810

    Job Title: Systems Test Engineer/Supervisor
    Employer: Berg Engineering, Pomona CA
    Dates: 3/2001 to 3/2003
    Duties: Assisted development of designs for IFE (In-flight Entertainment Systems)
    Developed Test Plans to comply with STD DO-160 certification
    Designed wiring interconnects to interface to BOEING, Airbus, McDonalds Douglas aircraft electrical systems
    Supported Installation of a satellite phone system for ANA

    Job Title: Systems Test Engineer
    Employer: Thales-IFE, Irvine CA
    Dates: 11/1990 to 3/2001
    Duties: Systems test of IFE (Inflight Entertainment Systems),
    Onsite Installation Support
    Sustaining Engineering during initial stages of the first fully interactive system for British Airways, United Airways, Air France and Japan Airlines.
    Develop Test Plans for compliance to STD DO-160 for certification
    Design of wiring interconnecting to interface to Boeing, Airbus, McDonalds Douglas aircraft electrical systems.

    Skills: Troubleshooting, System Controls, RF/Video, Data analysis, Electromechanical, Failure analysis, Microsoft Office, Altium, Skilled with Spectrum Analyzer, Oscilloscope, AC and DC power, Wire harness design and documentation, crimping, soldering.

    Education: ITT Technical Institute Van Nuys CA USA
    AAS Electronics Engineering 3.88 GPA

    Universidad De Guadalajara , Guadalajara Jal, MX
    Mechanical Engineering Classes

    References: Available on request

  2. Hi! I’m a professional Electronics Technician, I have doing Sustaining Engineering, Product Support, Logistics Triage,work with the R&D department work on new upcoming products, As an Associate Systems Engineer I did failure analysis of on the field failures, help solving problems and making improvements to prevent future problems, assist manufacturing in the certification for new products testing to MIL SPEC 810.
    I would like for you to check my qualifications which are described in my resume.

    I would like to find a job that matches my qualifications any help I can get would appreciated
    J PABLO CASTRO
    3222 QUARRY RD
    Palmdale, CA 93550
    Phone: (661) 341- 6923
    E-mail: jp_cas@live.com

    Summary: Hands-on engineering experience offering a unique combination of leadership and technical expertise. Solid history of producing results in inflight entertainment manufacturing, interactive systems, video/audio, avionics and RF systems. Delivered on time results in Small Unmanned Air Vehicles manufacturing and product support while making systems improvements in sustaining engineering, analysis of on field failures, test fixture development and environmental testing.
    Experience:
    Job Title: Systems Engineer
    Employer: AeroVironment, INC. Simi Valley California
    Dates: 03/2003 to 10/2012
    Duties: Analyzed and integrated all components per specifications
    Performed necessary modifications where required
    Delivered failure analysis and solutions
    Supported sustaining engineering and product improvement
    Prepared reports based on engineering analysis
    Confirmed equipment performed per specifications
    Developed test plans for product certification MIL-STD 810

    Job Title: Systems Test Engineer/Supervisor
    Employer: Berg Engineering, Pomona CA
    Dates: 3/2001 to 3/2003
    Duties: Assisted development of designs for IFE (In-flight Entertainment Systems)
    Developed Test Plans to comply with STD DO-160 certification
    Designed wiring interconnects to interface to BOEING, Airbus, McDonalds Douglas aircraft electrical systems
    Supported Installation of a satellite phone system for ANA

    Job Title: Systems Test Engineer
    Employer: Thales-IFE, Irvine CA
    Dates: 11/1990 to 3/2001
    Duties: Systems test of IFE (Inflight Entertainment Systems),
    Onsite Installation Support
    Sustaining Engineering during initial stages of the first fully interactive system for British Airways, United Airways, Air France and Japan Airlines.
    Develop Test Plans for compliance to STD DO-160 for certification
    Design of wiring interconnecting to interface to Boeing, Airbus, McDonalds Douglas aircraft electrical systems.

    Skills: Troubleshooting, System Controls, RF/Video, Data analysis, Electromechanical, Failure analysis, Microsoft Office, Altium, Skilled with Spectrum Analyzer, Oscilloscope, AC and DC power, Wire harness design and documentation, crimping, soldering.

    Education: ITT Technical Institute Van Nuys CA USA
    AAS Electronics Engineering 3.88 GPA

    Universidad De Guadalajara , Guadalajara Jal, MX
    Mechanical Engineering Classes

    References: Available on request

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