It is important for you to look for the following traits in the recruiter that you choose to work with.

1. Compatibility:

Make sure you feel comfortable with the style, personality, intensity level, and integrity of the headhunter. As in any other business relationship, you want the other person to understand your needs and act accordingly.

2. Confidentiality:

Make sure your resume isn’t going to get plastered all over town without your knowledge. An inexperienced recruiter can overexpose your candidacy; or worse, reveal your intention to change jobs to your own company.

3. Good Judgment:

Make sure you’re being sent to interviews that match your background and interests with the needs of the recruiter’s client company. The most common complaint from both candidates and employers is that recruiters "throw candidates against the wall to see what sticks."

4. Honesty:

Make sure there is either a real job opening or an upgrade possibility where you’re being sent to interview. Otherwise, you’ll be spending your valuable time meeting with people with no useful result.

5. Tempo:

Make sure to let the recruiter know at what pace you want to proceed in your search for a new position. If you’re not ready to make a change until a later date, or simply want to explore the market, don’t let the recruiter waste your time by sending you on an interview.

6. Arm-twisting:

Don’t be pressured into accepting a position or a compensation package simply to please the recruiter.

By the same token, you must be fair with headhunters. For example, if you’re pursuing a job search on your own or through another party, keep the headhunter aware of your activity, so you don’t cross paths. A recruiter’s time and reputation are his or her most valuable commodities; they deserve better than to be manipulated or left in the lurch.

Recruiters can’t work miracles by waving a magic wand over your resume; all they can do is match your background with a suitable opening and help guide you through the job changing process efficiently and competitively.