When people think of Recruiters, they think of agents. When they think of agents, they think of someone like Ari Gold – the crazy, fast-talking agent on Entourage.
This misconception is what causes so many job seekers not to trust Recruiters. In order to appreciate them, it’s important to understand exactly how they fit into a job seeker’s search strategy. Here’s the truth about how recruiters really work and the best ways you can partner with them.
Let’s clarify one thing first, there is a difference between in-house recruiters and agency recruiters. In-house corporate recruiters are employed by a company and they’re part of their Human Resources department.
We’ll focus on agency recruiters here though.
Recruiters and Headhunters are not your agents
They don’t actually work for you.
They work for their clients, and as much as you would like to think you are their client, unfortunately you are not. Their clients are companies who need their help filling a job opening. One of the reasons recruiters get such a bad rap is because of the misconception that a recruiter’s job is to find job seekers jobs.
A recruiter’s job is to find the best candidate for their client – the company who will pay them.
While we’re on the topic of money, here’s how recruitment agencies work
Agencies get hired by companies. Although some agencies are retained, most work on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid (about 15 – 30% of the successful candidate’s base salary) if they find the perfect candidate for the job.
If they don’t find a candidate for the job, they get zilch. It’s not uncommon for a Recruiter to work on a position for weeks even months and end up with nothing.
So speed is the name of the game. Because they’re competing with other agencies, the first one to present the top candidate’s awesome resume is the only one who gets paid.
Now do you see why recruiters don’t work for the job seeker?
It’s not because they don’t like you, but they simply don’t have the time to target their search to jobs specifically for job seekers.
The responsibility to find a job is all yours, you’re the only one who can make your job search a priority. Recruiters simply facilitate the process by introducing you and preparing you to meet their clients.
While recruiters can add value to your job search, it’s important to know what to expect and how to work with them. Basically, recruiters can not be your only strategy to finding a job.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the positives – how you can work with recruiters.
Make it easy for recruiters to work with you
1) Take their calls
If a recruiter calls you at work in the middle of a hectic day and you’re thinking long-term, you’ll ask for their number and call them back at a more suitable time. Many will be happy to talk to you outside of work hours.
If you instead get annoyed and slam the phone down, you may have just missed out on your dream job opportunity or the chance to create a relationship with the recruiter.
You never know when an interesting opportunity may come along and for this reason, it’s important to have a well-written AND current resume at all times.
2) Be honest
As a recruiter, there’s nothing that annoys me more than working with a candidate who’s not telling the truth. I’ve worked with candidates who weren’t honest about what they do at their current job, the fact that they’re now unemployed or that they recently got a new job, but don’t like it enough to disclose this.
The truth always comes out through reference checks or employment background checks, which most employers require these days.
Being dishonest means you’ve ruined that relationship. Guess who they’re not calling next time they have an awesome job? Recruiters from different agencies also talk to one another, especially in specific industries so starting fresh with another agency isn’t always an option.
3) Stay in touch but don’t turn into a stalker
Whether or not a position they presented to you works out, it’s always a great idea to stay in touch with recruiters. Building a solid network is important for career growth.
But there’s a fine line between staying in touch and turning into a stalker. Calling every two days to inquire whether or not there is an opportunity for you doesn’t make you look enthusiastic, it’s overkill. Don’t sound desperate.
4) Create a relationship BEFORE you need them
I can’t stress this one enough.
Waiting until you’re no longer working to connect with a recruiter is a mistake. Recruiters prefer to work with candidates who are employed or very recently unemployed. You can’t build relationships with every recruiter that calls you, but pick a few and make sure you stay on their radar.
Treat them well before you need them and they will treat you like gold when you need them.
Like every profession, there are great recruiters and not so great ones. The key is to create a relationship with one that is best for your needs. Working with recruiters is a great way to get access to the hidden job market, but it’s important to diversify your job hunting strategies and take charge of your own job search.