Since 1979, I have been employed, able to move between jobs, in high demand and able to ignore recruiters. It wasn't until 2011 when I experienced my first layoff that I had to give recruiters serious consideration as the entire employment landscape had changed.
I have had to figure out how to work with recruiters - understand how they work and separate the chaff from the wheat.
Recruiters come in many different flavors. The younger tech worker will. more likely than not, deal with younger and less experienced recruiters. More experienced prospectives get handed off to the more established recruiters. And, since they get a commission based on things like the salary of the hire, to the victors go the spoils, right? The less experienced have to deal with more perspectives in order to earn enough for a bite to eat. It makes them hungry. And, it can make them rude.
One thing you should never do is piss them off. Yes, you can be blacklisted very quickly. Given how many corporations use recruiters and how frequently they change firms, that blacklist can follow you around and persist based on whether they record your transgression in their systems or not.
You need to stay on top of the recruiter (sounds promising given how many good looking ladies work in the field...good luck with that) and watch how they modify YOUR resume. They WILL rewrite your resume in their style and draw from what you submit to them. You HAVE the RIGHT to see what it is that they are submitted to their client on your behalf. Ask for it. Also, ask for a limited right to represent. More reputable firms will only hold you to a given position - not lock you out or blindly send your resume. But, get it in writing before you sign on so you can work with other recruiters for different positions and companies.
Make yourself accessible but not overly accessible. I use Google Voice to take recruiter calls. It lets me weed out those who I have an established relationship with (and, who I have given my cell number) and those cold calling me. The call transcripts the GV produces can be rather humourous as a by product - good for a laugh. I thought about publishing some of the funnier transcripts (Hi .my name is , I think I am a recruiter).
I ignore most emails from recruiters from those that exhibit too much familiarity, poor grammar, provide limited details, ask for too much information (no, I AM NOT going to give you my salary history for the past 30+ years, my SSN, or my first born) or don't respect simple things like my geographic location or skillset. Additionally, while I might not respond to every email, I do look at the more promising ones to see if two or more emails appear to represent the same position. In one situation, I had three recruiters from three different offshore firms trying to represent me for the same position with the State for a mobile architect. One would say the position was at $55/hr and 6 month duration and another would say it's $70/hr for 12 month CTH while another was saying it offered $85/hr for 12 months (no, CTH). Yes, the were for the EXACT same position (they cut and paste from the same feed). And, when I spoke with a firm in the State and asked if they knew about this position, I found out that the State was actually paying $110hr, it was 6 months (6 months left in the fiscal year), but expected the contract to be renewed for another year. So, it makes sense to shop around.
When you find a recruiter that seems like a good match, work with them. And, keep them on file. I still get calls from many of them hoping I am willing to leave my current employer - I will listen and consider even if it really isn't in the cards. They have gotten to know me. They are keepers. If they change firms, find out where they have gone. I have a short list of those I will seek out if my situation changes again.
As for job sites such as DICE and MONSTER. I have found DICE to be pretty good at sending job descriptions that better match what I might be interested in pursuing (no, not a DICE shill). Not a big favorite of online applications, though. This is where a good recruiter can help you get inside the door where the bulk of online submissions appear to go straight into the bitbucket.
Well, that's my take....