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Working With Recruiters As Part of Your Job Search

March 17, 2011 by Careerminds

You may decide that working with a recruiter or multiple recruiters is something that you would like to add to your job search strategy. If so, there are a few things you will need to go know before you get started.

There are two types of recruiters:  Contingency and Retained

  • Contingency: Company pays the fee only if it hires the recruiter’s candidate for the position
    • Contingency search firms typically refer multiple candidates to increase the odds of their filling the position and being paid.  They may not be as selective as retainer search firms.
  • Retained: Hired by company to identify, recruit, and evaluate candidates for specific positions
    • Company pays fee in advance or in incremental payments for the services of the recruiter – typically 30 to 35 percent of either the hiring base salary or the estimated compensation for the first year.  Those working on retainer will only want to present the candidates who meet most or all of the company’s requirements and preferences.  Retained search firms have their reputations and future business to consider in addition to their income.


Tips for working with recruiters:

  • Identify reputable recruiters by asking colleagues, networking contacts, and human resources professionals you know if they can refer you to search firms that specialize in your industry, profession, and compensation level.
  • Research search firms using published directories and Internet resources.
  • Only work with recruiting firms whose services are paid by their client companies.  Never pay a fee to a search firm or employment agency.
  • Only work with a recruiter you trust.
  • Present yourself to a recruiter as if you were on a job interview.
  • Ensure that the recruiters you choose to work with will not send your resume to any company without your permission in advance.
  • Work with a select number of recruiters – preferably three to five at the most.
  • Remember that recruiters are sales people who make money placing candidates with client companies.  They are not in the business of finding you a job.
  • Accept career or resume advice with caution when talking with a recruiter.  Remember that they work on behalf of the client company.  As a result, they may have a conflict of interest in giving you advice.
  • Be very clear with recruiters on your salary expectations.
  • Recruiters will be interested in working with you if they are representing a client who has a position that matches your qualifications.  If they don’t, you won’t hear from them.
  • However, keep in touch with recruiters who you feel are reputable, and have experience in your industry or profession.  Keep on their radar through regular calls and/or emails.
  • Remember that recruiters search social media sites, especially LinkedIn, to source candidates.  This is yet another reason to have a strong LinkedIn profile that ensures you will be found.

What do you think?

Recruiters: Do you think that this is good advice? Anything you’d like to add?

Job Seekers: Do you find yourself working with recruiters or not so much? Was this advice helpful?

Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.

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