"If you are considering a career change or if you are entry-level, you might want to use the Internet and focus on networking," says Karen Pappas, principal of Boston's Pappas & Pappas Consulting.
"In fee-based searches, our clients often have specific background requirements.People making career transitions don't usually meet the criteria."
Malster agrees."We generally have opportunities for individuals with a minimum of two-plus years of HR professional experience," she
"Compensation professionals are at peak demand, followed by generalists with employment and employee relations experience," says Pappas
Malster's firm is seeing a lot of generalist opportunities."HRIS people are also in demand, and they are hard to find," she
Carrin, Malster and Pappas
all agree that honesty and candor are key to working effectively with third-party recruiters.Malster says a lack of full disclosure in terms of your activities and intentions can severely hamper your relationship with the agency.There are a limited number of agencies that focus on placing HR professionals, so it's important not to burn any bridges.
Choose one or two agencies to work with and spend your time developing relationships with your recruiters.The better someone knows you, the better he
will be able to represent you."You will get a lot more attention when you have developed a relationship with someone," advises Malster.
Keep the relationship going, even when you are not in search mode, advises Pappas
.It's a small HR community out there, and you never know when the tables will turn.Take the time to cultivate your relationships when you are not in search mode, and your job search will be that much easier when you need to kick things into gear.
"Recognize it's a two-way street," says Malster.If you have an opportunity to hire a staff of HR people, refer the search to your contact.If you know of an outstanding candidate who might be looking for a job, refer them to the agency.