Don’t just make recruiters work for you — work with them!

Whether you’re about to start a new job search, or you’re a passive job seeker who likes to keep tabs on potential opportunities, a recruiter can be a valuable ally.

Recruiters can enhance your job search by helping you broaden your network, providing job leads you wouldn’t otherwise hear about and offering background on prospective employers. In addition, recruiters are an excellent source of career guidance and information. They can offer interview tips, salary data, résumé advice and other suggestions to help you improve your marketability. And once an employer makes an offer, the recruiter becomes a valuable go-between in helping you and the prospective employer reach a mutually satisfying agreement.

But getting noticed by a recruiter for the right reasons is key. Regardless of the type of relationship you’re looking to forge with a recruiter, here are some guidelines that will earn you a place on a recruiter’s go-to list:

Work with a specialist. A specialized recruitment company boasts more industry-specific opportunities and contacts than a generalist company. As a result, a specialist company is more likely to excel at helping you accurately assess your marketability and identify openings that are a good match for your skills and preferences.

Trust the recruiter. The time to thoroughly vet your recruiter is before you engage with him. Take your time screening potential recruiters, checking out their reputation and talking through any questions or concerns you might have about how you’ll work together.

Once you agree to let someone act as your advocate, step back and trust the person to do so without undue second-guessing. Remember that recruiters have a vested interest in ensuring an all-around good fit, so have faith in their ability and desire to help you find the right situation and reach a satisfying agreement.

Honesty is always the best policy. Recruiters are busy and appreciate candor. If you’re unlikely to consider a job change, say so. Don’t string the recruiter along just to hear what’s going on in the job market.

On the other hand, if you’re actively working with a recruiter, make sure the person has all the necessary information to represent you properly. This includes being honest about what you’re looking for in a new job and your salary expectations.

Also, if you’re trying to set up a job interview on your own through your contacts, mention this. It would be embarrassing for the recruiter to recommend you for a job that you’re already pursuing.

Be helpful. If a recruiter unexpectedly contacts you about an opportunity that you’re not interested in, consider whether you know someone else who might be. Recruiters love to be referred to good prospects, and the fact that they can say, “Joe Smith said I should get in touch with you” helps break down barriers to new candidates. Furthermore, you never know when something could change with your employment situation. By being polite and helpful, you’ll be in a position to enlist the recruiter’s help, should you need it in the future.

Spare them the extras. Recruiters appreciate job seekers who are respectful of their time and needs. They know exactly what they’re looking for in candidates and how to assess a possible fit with a role, so let them ask questions and answer them concisely. They don’t need to hear your life history.

In addition, don’t tell them to check out your professional networking profiles, instead of offering a formal résumé. And don’t try to friend them on more social-oriented sites such as Facebook. They need to learn about your skills and accomplishments, not your favorite bands or movies.

Stay engaged. Keep in mind that finding the right position doesn’t always happen right away. That’s why it’s essential you remain an active participant in your job search.

Back up the recruiter’s efforts by reviewing notifications of new openings from the recruitment firm. You might see a position that interests you that your recruiter has not yet considered. By staying informed about the job market and checking in regularly with your recruiter, you’ll demonstrate that you’re committed to working together to reach a good outcome.

Although staying in touch is important — especially returning emails and phone calls promptly — don’t call or email the individual every day. There’s a difference between being proactive and being a pest.

Recruiters love an easy sell, and who can blame them? Candidates who do all the right things make the recruiter’s job much easier. By observing some of these fundamental rules of interaction, you’re more likely to land at the top of a recruiter’s dream list.