Exactly. Call the company, talk with a recruiter, ask all the questions you want to ask and if they seem like someone you can work with, then put a star next to there name on your list ;O)
If they aren't interested in talking to you then they just want a quick sign-up, get you working so they can start making money off of you. Of course this is every recruiters desire. To sign you up and get you working, it is how they and the company make money. But the good ones also care about your well being and try to make it a good experiencing for all in involved (you and them).
They are all trying for the same end result but there are different styles, so to say.
It is like nursing, I can go in the room, start the IV, push in the meds and run the urine dip. Or I can go into my Pt room, introduce myself, tell them I have an IV and meds for them, assess them, let them know the plan of care while they are in my Dept. offer them a blanket or other comfort measure before I leave. Same outcome--different style.
So that being said.
I spent a lot of time interviewing recruiters and getting company information before I got started. I am very happy with my choice.
As far as the paperwork. You would be endlessly submitting resumes and doing skills checklists if you tried to fulfill that obligation prior to getting into serious conversations with the companies. They want you to do all the paperwork ahead of time so that you have a vested interest with them. Don't fall for this tactic. besides, if you aren't ready to start right away then you have to update the skills checklist I think its every 6 months and they take about 45 minutes to complete.
I wish you luck in your venture, and remember it is only as good as the research and effort you put into it.