Part 1: Working With Recruiters

by Tony Beshara - Creator of The Job Search Solution Online Program

Working with Recruiters

The Fordyce Letter, the country's foremost authority on the placement and recruitment profession, maintains a database of some 33,000 firms in the United States that are, in one form or another, involved in the business of direct personnel placement. (This would include even the "casual" placers of people, temporary staffing firms or companies who, as a part of their business, do some sort of placement.) For the past ten years or so, according to Kennedy Information, Inc. who publishes The Directory of Executive Recruiters, there are approximately 5500 permanent recruiting firms of all types in the United States. 35% to 45% of this number went out of business over the past three or four years only and will be replaced by the same number. 20 new recruiting firms open in the U.S. every week. It is estimated that one-third of these firms work on a retainer basis and the rest on some form of contingency basis.  The average recruiting firm, according to The Fordyce Letter has 3.1 "consultants" in it who average successfully recruiting and placing 1.5 people a month. The average tenure of these firms is seven years and the average "consultant" has been in the business for three years. In the early '70s it was estimated that 5% to 10% of the professional people who were hired in business were hired through the help of a third-party recruiter of some sort. That estimate today is closer to 20% or 25%.

As the job market expands, good candidates are harder to find and third-party recruiters will be used even more.

Traditionally, recruiters have been defined in two broad camps. The retained recruiter is paid partly in advance to find an employee. The contingency group receives their compensation only if they are responsible for causing a candidate to be hired. There is, however, a broad range of contingency firms that you need to be aware of so that you can decide if they can actually help you find a job.

We will discuss, in general terms, the reasons why you should use a recruiter and what the recruiter can do for you, as well as what a recruiter cannot do for you. I will then discuss in detail what you need to know about the relationships that different kind of recruiters have with employers and therefore the kind of relationship they will have with you as a candidate. The most important aspect of this session is for you to know how all of the different kinds of recruiters can help you, based on that type of recruiter's relationship with the employer. What you should expect from and how each of you should deal with a "recruiter" depends on your understanding of the kind of recruiter that you're dealing with. When you know the kind of recruiter that you are dealing with and his or her relationship to the employer, you will know how to manage your own expectations.

What you should expect from and how each of you should deal with a "recruiter" depends on your understanding of the kind of recruiter that you're dealing with. When you know the kind of recruiter that you are dealing with and his or her relationship to the employer, you will know how to manage your own expectations.

In general, here is what a recruiter, can do for you:

  • We have access to and knowledge of opportunities with firms before they are "broadcast" to the world.
  • For the most part, (and we will see the exceptions to this below) we have a much more in-depth knowledge about an opportunity than an individual could gain on his/ her own.
  • We will "coach" you and sell you and your attributes, as well as sell around your shortcomings, better than you can for yourself.
  • We know how you compare with your competition for a position. We provide information about your strengths and weaknesses. We know our market.
  • We will help you "manage" the process of interviewing and negotiating. Because a recruiter deals with this process daily, we know how to do it better than an individual even if he/ she change jobs often.
  • We are going to help a candidate maximize his or her compensation possibilities. Most of the time the recruiter is compensated based on the salary package the candidate receives. It is in our best interest, therefore, to help you reach your compensation potential.
  • We can provide you more job interview opportunities faster than you can do it for yourself. Most people don't deal with the job opportunities, career moves, etc. on a daily basis.  A recruiter does.
  • The help of a recruiter implies confidentiality. Most top professionals don't want their job search to be "floating around" the Internet or anywhere else for that matter.
  • A recruiter, many times, has an intimate but objective view of the hiring company, the hiring authorities and the "politics" of the specific hiring process.
  • We are comfortable with all of the steps in the process of getting hired.
  • We know what to do when things "go wrong" in the hiring process.

Here are some things that a recruiter cannot do for you:

  • We cannot get you a job. We can open the door, coach, teach, advise, strategize and help. But the candidate still has to be to the primary force in getting the job.
  • A top recruiter might give career advice, but we're not counselors. We are information brokers and hiring process managers. Unless the information or process is of current and immediate importance to the company or hiring authority we represent, we don't have the time to "counsel" I.E.: other aspects of your life.
  • We're not "miracle workers" ... we can't get you the "job of your dreams" ... an interviewing opportunity that you are not qualified for ... help you change careers when the economy won't bear it ... help you negotiate compensation plans on deals we are not involved in. We cannot do a lot of handholding or immediately respond every time you call or blindly e-mail a resume.
  • We don't analyze and peruse every single resume that is sent to us. Unless we are a "boutique" search firm, we receive hundreds of resumes. Each one will get 10 to 15 seconds of attention and unless what is on it is so obviously stellar and needed by our hiring companies it will be stored in a database.
  • We don't have time to give you advice about the "market" or if it's time to "stick your toe in the water" to see if your skills or experience might be "more valuable" to someone else.
  • Unless we are involved in the process of securing you a new opportunity we're going to be fairly short on advice about "what you should do" regarding your changing jobs down the line.
  • For the most part, we're not going to give you advice about a job or career change that we are not involved in unless we have a longstanding relationship with you.

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