I have been on and off the job market regularly since the summer of 1987, and I’m happy to say that (aside from a couple of 1-week interruptions in 1992 and again in 1995 when I moved back and forth across the country) I have been continuously employed for over 32 years. That’s over three decades of non-stop employment (predominantly in the high tech sector).
Not a small feat. Especially in the high tech sector. Especially during the dot-com bubble burst, when I sat tight and actually moved up in my organization.
In all that time, I have had nearly 20 different employers, a number of them simultaneous. I was contracting for multiple agencies on several occasions, so I was collecting paychecks from multiple sources. I’ve worked permanent jobs ranging in length from 1-9 years, and I’ve worked contracts from 3 months to 2-1/2 years.
I have also had more discussions with recruiters and hiring managers than I can count. In 32 years, I’ve probably talked to over 200 different recruiters, across the country (and some outside the country). We’ve discussed contract gigs, full-time positions, company benefits, my reasons for leaving, timeframes for moving on, and where I saw my career going in the future.
Because I’ve been continuously working all these years, 99% of those discussions took place while I was still employed. Sometimes I was actively looking, but most of the time, I wasn’t. Recruiters had positions to fill, and they found my resume in their database or saw my LinkedIn profile. So, they called, messaged, or emailed me, asking about my availability.
And I’ve taken their calls. Even when I wasn’t actively looking and I was completely happy where I was, I either answered the phone or called them back. After all, I live in the real world, where the concept of lifetime employment with one firm evaporated sometime around the fall of 1987 (when I entered the job market full-time).
So yes, in answer to the question above, I’ve talked to recruiters whenever I could. I’ve taken the calls, answered the emails, replied to the voicemails and messages. I like to have a roof over my head and food on the table, and I know that when it comes to staying employed, life favors the prepared.
Plus, you never know what can come of a conversation. Even if the opportunity is fantastic, but I’m not prepared to move, the fact that a recruiter actually has a position open that fits me, tells me that they may have the same for me in the future. So, I make sure they have my contact details, my current resume, and my salary range, as well as any other pertinent info they may have. And it’s worked in my favor over the years.
My LinkedIn profile is the best proof I’ve got.