Working With A Recruiter
An IT job seeker preparing to relocate from Dubai to North America contacted me in hopes of finding out what he should expect to pay in recruiter fees, and if working with a recruiter was in fact really the most efficient and effective way to finding his first new job in North America. Relocating is not nearly as easy as it had been in previous years.
With the IT job market tightening right across the board, conducting a job search in a new place at the same time that you are getting used to the new culture and surroundings may take a very long time and can certainly be very disheartening. On the other hand, you will be a fresh face in the local market, and that could work to your advantage, especially when relocating to a small to midsize market that may have been saturated in the specific field that you are an expert in.
The point is, you should not wait until you have moved into your new home and unpacked all your boxes to start looking for a job. The best plan is to start the hunt before you actually make the move. The longer you give yourself for your search, the better your prospects of finding an appropriate job before your savings run out. Above all, if you are lucky enough to find the new job before your move, your new employer might actually cover your relocation expenses. Do not hold your breath as company budgets are no longer as liquid as they used to be.
It is very very important that you find a reliable, and reputable recruiter in order to facilitate an effective job search when you are moving to a new market. A good recruiter will be able to share the secrets of the local area, fill you in on the best employers in the area, and help you find hidden pockets of opportunity that only seasoned locals would know about. Finding some recommendations of recruiters to talk to by contacting the local chapters of your favourite user group or professional association, or contacting the local chamber of commerce is your wisest strategy. That said, you do not want to limit yourself to working with only recruiters. Be active, and search for jobs online, keep an eye on the classifieds, network with anyone you know (including friends of friends) in the area you're moving to, attend job fairs, and go directly to your sought after employers.
As for recruiters' fees, you must not pay them yourself. While that was a common business practice in the past, it's a rather antiquated business model. In today's North American market place, the employers always pay the recruiter, on either a retainer or a contingency basis. In fact, be very cautious of any recruiter or staffing agency that asks you to pay for services. It's important to distinguish between a career coach and counsellor who can help you make the transition to a new level in your career development on the one hand and companies that call themselves "career marketing" or "executive marketing" firms on the other. As far as the latter is concerned, candidates need to be extremely careful because those companies are sharp marketers and they will give you the impression that they can solve all your job search problems. But, more often than not they do nothing more than fill you with hope while you help them fill their bank accounts.
You must be extraordinarily CAUTIOUS as the recruiting industry is one that is unregulated and non-standardized, making it easy to be taken advantage of. If there is any time when someone in that field asks you for money up front, get in your car, hop on the bus, jump in a cab, or simply walk away. I will promise you that it will not be a good investment of your time and most importantly, your money.
You must not forget that there are many people who will try to help you. And there are many who are genuine in their efforts. However, when all is said and done, only you can get yourself hired!