As a recruiter, you tend to get used to the general feeling of disdain. In fact, the other day I read a post in which we were likened to traffic wardens. It's fine, I get it, it's like every other industry sector where the few ruin it for the majority.
As a candidate, you can have a great experience with a recruiter but in order for the relationship to work, it has to be two-way. Here is my guide to getting the best out of your recruitment partnership:
When you get approached by a recruiter don't just immediately ask for a job spec before you talk. It's really hard as a recruiter to talk to you about a role without knowing what you would actually WANT to consider. Have a discussion about your plans for the future. If you feel like the recruiter is just interested in you for leads, you will get a feeling about their sincerity early on.
2. Be honest.
If you aren't looking for a role right now that's fine. It helps to give the recruiter an understanding of what you may consider in the future. Building that relationship now means you are likely to be the first to get a call when a hot job comes in.
3. Be realistic.
No recruiter can get you a £20,000 pay rise when you are a new developer, or any level for that matter. If you are purely moving for money, you won't necessarily get to hear about some of the best roles on the market. Instead, consider how new roles could further developer your tech capability or provide you with career development.
4. Be communicative
Do return calls when you miss them. Do send documents when you are asked for them. Nothing frustrates a recruiter more than being ghosted and you never know when your paths might cross again.
I always suggest looking at a recruiters linkedin profile or ask to see recommendations. Not every recruiter posts all of these on Linkedin for confidentiality, but they should have some readily available to share.
The experience can be a good one and recruiters help so many developers with interview preparation, guidance and feedback. I have also reached out to and placed developers in to roles that I hadn't advertised publicly and they wouldn't have known about them if they hadn't been open to listen.