Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
Recruiters have been an asset to my career and without them I’d have missed some incredible opportunities. Working with a qualified recruiter is an important part of any job search strategy. It expands your network and your opportunities for employment.
But not all recruiters are created equal. Dealing with the wrong recruiter can waste time, derail your search and erode your self-confidence. It makes sense to understand the pros and cons of engaging a recruiter before you begin.
Recruiting is a Sales Role
A recruiter works for an employer, not the job seeker. You must enter the relationship with that understanding and come prepared. A recruiter is not in the business of finding you a job, but in finding the talent their clients are looking for.
Their goal is to successfully fill a position; you are part of that process along with other candidates they are working with.
As discussed in last week’s blog post, there are two types of recruiters. Agency recruiters, serving multiple clients and employers, and corporate staff, or retained search recruiters. Retained recruiters are hired exclusively by an organization to fill senior roles, usually north of a $100K base salary. If you see a position advertised in multiple locations it’s probably not managed by a retained agency.
A good recruiter spends time getting to know a candidate’s skills, and capabilities, assessing their fit in terms of leadership style and personality. An invested recruiter also understands the culture and needs of the hiring company.
But … 85% of hires still happen through networking referrals, social media and personal connections and 90% of recruiters use social media to post jobs and search for candidates to fill them.
Not All Recruiters Are Created Equal
Some are better, some are worse. Recruiters are no different than any other profession.
There’s always a pool of bad ones trolling the internet, contacting people and spamming them with unsuitable opportunities. They engage in unsolicited contact and are not the ones you want to work with.
The truth is, anyone can call themselves a recruiter without having knowledge or experience in the jobs they’re recruiting for. They promote a negative image within the profession and won’t represent you well to the client
It’s important for candidates to research and fact check recruiters. Look for a website, ask if they understand the field they’re recruiting for, inquire about their track record. Find out what others say about them.
The right recruiter can provide leverage and present opportunities throughout your job search and even become a valued networking partner. The wrong recruiter will waste your time.
A candidate should never pay a recruiter—ever. The employer pays the recruiter to find the candidate. An unscrupulous recruiter may try to double dip by getting a fee from an employer and charge you one. This practice is not illegal, but it is unethical.
How to Find a Recruiter
Begin by checking career-networking sites. Utilize your existing network to inquire about recruiter referrals and check boards hosted by trade associations, professional groups and even your alma mater.
Most employers don’t advertise positions they hire retained recruiters to fill. Typically, a firm’s most senior positions use retained searchers who promote their services to employers, not job hunters. Once they are under contract to find a candidate, they will promote the position.
LinkedIn has about 90,000 recruiter profiles and many list a specialty. It is the most popular search tool for recruiters, who use it to find candidates, check backgrounds and view job history.
Successful job searches incorporate many levels of networking. If you’ve found opportunities on your own and are also working with a recruiter, let them know. Recruiters have contacts within companies that could be an added advantage.
Work with a Specialist
Search for a recruiter with experience in your field—they will better understand your skills and the expectations of potential employers they represent. Disclose any aspects of your work history that may generate concern, like extended periods of unemployment or resume gaps. The more transparent you are, the easier it will be for a recruiter to help you.
Candidates should not expect recruiters to have a list of jobs available immediately and recruiters must not expect candidates to leap at every opportunity they present. A good recruiter will not try to place you where you aren’t a strong fit—a mediocre one might.
Some recruiters ask for exclusivity, meaning only they can represent you for a position. This locks out other recruiters for the same position and you must decide if that is right for you.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Recruiters continually mine their networks for opportunities that fit your qualifications; but there is no guarantee a position will be available. Sometimes the opposite its true and there isn’t much activity. Remember, the recruiter is not the one with the job; they are your connection to the company that has the job.
If a recruiter contacts you for a specific job and it’s not a successful match, you may not hear anything. Continue to assert your interest and availability. Companies have jobs they need to fill; and a good recruiter can position you as the person best suited to the job if you stay on their radar.
Checking in briefly but regularly ensures that you both remain focused on the best opportunities. Communication should always be a two-way street.
If a recruiter tells you a company isn’t interested don’t assume it’s all down to you. There may be reasons that have little bearing on your skills. A recruiter once told me a company I Interviewed with would not hire me because I lived 50 miles away and might be delayed due to traffic or weather.
Working with a recruiter can be a productive way to advance your job search, but remember, it’s just one of many ways.
Special thanks to our INFINIDAT in-house recruiter Cathy for her professional assistance.