Using Recruiters in a Job Search
Years ago I was doing a job search looking for work in the telecommunications industry. The company I had worked for had gone out of business and I was jobless. A colleague referred me to a recruiter who specialized in the telecom industry. I had no knowledge of recruiters, how they worked, or even if they were successful in doing a job search for people.
This recruiter reviewed my resume, made a few excellent suggestions and then said he thought he could help me with my job search but he needed my agreement that I would only work with him on finding a job. He went so far as to ask me to suspend my job search! I had no experience with recruiters at the time and wasn’t about to give up my job search to a stranger so I did not work with him.
It is important when you are doing a job search and want to work with a recruiter, that you find one that you think would represent you well, who specializes in your industry, and is looking for people with your skill set because he/she has jobs to fill. Before you decide to use one however it is important to learn how recruiters work
First and most important recruiters are paid by the employer and work for them not for you. They do want you to get hired because often times they only get paid when the employer hires you, the candidate. Their goal however is to find a candidate that the employer will hire.
Recruiters therefore work for employers who can afford to pay their fee. This usually means larger companies. For attorneys this means biglaw firms where candidates must come from the top law schools and be in the top of their class. Companies in general today can find lots of qualified candidates to fill positions. They expect recruiters to find them people they could not find by themselves.
If you are currently employed but know that in the future you will be looking for a change of employer, now is the time to form a relationship with a good recruiter. Do some research to find the ones considered tops in your field and then select one or two to get to know.
Once you have decided on who you want to call decide on a way that you could be helpful to that recruiter right now. Good recruiters are busy people so you need to have something to offer before he/she will agree to meet or talk.
When you are job hunting and meeting with a recruiter, be sure to give him/her reason to be interested in you. Know your strengths and help the recruiter to see them. Always treat the recruiter as you would a potential employer. You want to impress them with your ability.
Because recruiters are looking for candidates that employers can not find themselves they often are interested in passive candidates (employed people not currently looking for work). The point of making yourself known to a recruiter even if you are currently employed is that this could mean having an opportunity for a job now or at some time in the future.
When you understand that the recruiter only gets paid when he presents a candidate that the employer hires, it is understandable that the recruiter I approached would ask me to allow only his firm to represent me in my job search. If I used another recruiter along with him, they might have to fight over a fee if they both came up with the same job or different jobs in the same company. If I approached a company myself and the recruiter represented that company, he might insist he get paid by the company and the company might refuse to pay. I’m caught between the two and might lose out on the opportunity because of their stalemate.
Working with a recruiter can be worthwhile as long as you understand how they work and are ready to accommodate them. Never give up the whole job search to a recruiter. You’ll need to work out a way with the recruiter to be sure that those you approach are not ones he is working with. If you build a good relationship with the recruiter while you are working, he/she will want to help you when the time comes.