The Recruiter – A Consultant’s Main Source of Support
Within most Healthcare IT industry firms, the Recruiter is a Consultant’s main source of support. This means that the Consultant should have their Recruiter on speed dial. If the consultant gets stuck in an airport due to a delayed flight and will be late to the client site, they should call their recruiter, if the consultant feels they are being treated unfairly at a client site, they should call their recruiter, if their payroll check is incorrect, they should call their recruiter – etc., etc., etc. It is primarily up to the Recruiter to make sure things flow smoothly for the Consultant throughout their engagement.
All that being said, it is up to the Consultant to remember important facts about their engagement: What are their responsibilities, who is their main contact at the client site, what time are they due on site, when they should enter their time and expenses and how to use the time/expenses applications and so forth. While a Recruiter should be the Consultant’s go-to person, consultants have to keep in mind that their Recruiter is also managing dozens of other consultants at the same time. Recruiters are there to help the consultant but not be their fulltime personal assistant.
While there are likely plenty of consultants that have worked with inexperienced or unknowledgeable recruiters, recruiters can only provide you with the information they are aware of, which occasionally means you’re flying by the seat of your pants for the beginning of your engagement. Learning to “wing it” is a great strength for consultants in the Healthcare Technology industry.
During a standard onboarding process there is a ton of information being exchanged between the firm and the Consultant; from standard onboarding paperwork to infinite details about the client, travel, payroll, responsibilities and more. It is up to the Consultant to consolidate that information into one place so they can easily return to it if they forget something. A good suggestion is for the Consultant to create a folder on their laptop/phone/smart pad and place important information there. If the Consultant receives the names and contact information for people at the client site in an email, copy and paste that information into a document, label it “Client Contacts” and throw it in the folder along with any other important items like directions, hotel confirmations, rental car confirmations, travel expense particulars and so forth. That way the Consultant can easily refer back to the folder instead of calling their Recruiter to ask questions that have already been answered.
Below is a list of the most important reasons to contact your recruiter:
You are being held responsible for many tasks at the client site that were not part of the original job description. (While it is great to work for a client that has faith in your abilities and feels you can handle additional responsibilities, if you were engaged to perform instructional design and a few months into the engagement you’re managing a team of trainers, conducting training classes AND completing instructional design tasks, it is time to call your recruiter. The recruiter can bring the changes in scope to their management team who can in turn speak to the client and discuss an hourly rate raise.)
You are frustrated for any number of reasons and considering quitting the engagement. (In most instances, the issues you are dealing with can be dealt with and corrected. Never quit an engagement without having a heart to heart with your recruiter first and if the decision is made for you to exit, give notice whenever possible)
You are unable for any reason to be onsite on time or you’re taking vacation time. (If you are taking vacation, always clear the dates with the client and then let your recruiter know. If you are stuck in an airport or you’re ill or any number of reasons you might not be on site on time – call your recruiter, even if you have your client site manager’s number, call the manager first and then your recruiter. The same goes for running late to an interview)
You have discussed something specific with the client that affects your engagement. (If the client has informed you that dates of your engagement are changing or that your responsibilities are going to change, that they have an issue with something you’ve done, contact your recruiter immediately so it can be documented. It is always important to have a paper trail)
And finally, always remember your recruiter is there to help and support you, treat them as you would a colleague. If you happen to land a recruiter that is not supportive, it is OK to remind them that you have expectations and be clear about what those expectations are. At the very least you should hear from your recruiter via phone or email once a month during your engagement, once a week is ideal. Additionally, don’t have unreasonable expectations, remember that your recruiter is also managing up to dozens of other consultants, along with trying to fill multiple job openings. With that in mind, don’t email or call your recruiter multiple times a day with minor issues, save your thoughts for the end of the day and make 1 phone call or send 1 email encompassing all of your needs. By working together and forming a relationship built on mutual respect, your recruiter will be your best ally in the industry.