If you are like most people, the only time you think about speaking with a recruitment consultant is when you are looking for a job.
There are a few problems with this, including:
You are in the highest demand when you are happy where you are;
Waiting until you want to leave a job can open yourself up to accepting a position for reasons that are not best aligned with your long-term career goals because the push (desire to leave) outweighs the pull (attraction to a job);
Good recruiters are more than happy to work with a candidate for 6, 12, 18 months to help them find the perfect job, because they know the value excellent candidates will add to their clients.
The real risk though in waiting until you are desperate to leave a job is you start applying for every position you like the look of on Seek / LinkedIn, and suddenly you have 100 recruiters trying to sell you different jobs.
Sell being the operative word.
If you put yourself in a situation where you are being sold to, coupled with the time pressure of wanting to leave a job, it can make it very hard to differentiate between advice and a good sales person.
Investing the time to speak with a recruiter before you start looking for your next job will take most of the pressure out of looking for work for the simple reason that if you are happy in your job, you are in a position of strength.
The knock-on effect is that, if the perfect job doesn’t present itself during that period, you will have had sufficient time to asses which recruitment consultant can give you the best advice for your career, significantly reducing the risk of being sold a job that is not best aligned with your career goals.