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Recruiters: Who are they and what do you need to know?


On this site we have already discussed the importance of networking in the professional world and its utility in the job search. Though many people find their next position through their network, there are other valuable avenues for finding work that are worth looking into. The largest source of job placement (after networking) is recruitment. In this article we will look at the service a recruiter provides and what you need to know about them for your job search.

What does a recruiter do?
Recruiters, also known as headhunters, essentially function as a middleman that connects companies to potential job candidates. When a company has a role that needs to be filled, they will contact a recruiter, explain the job opening, and provide a list of criteria that they are looking for in potential applicants. From there, it is the recruiters job to find these potential applicants and reach out to them about the position. While there are many ways to find applicants, the overwhelming majority of recruiters consider social media to be an essential part of the recruiting process. Once an applicant that fits the company’s minimum requirements is found, the recruiter will connect the applicant to the hiring company and begin the application/interview process.

Different types of recruiters:
Generally speaking, the two main types of recruiters that you are likely to encounter are “internal” or “in-house” and “contingency” recruiters.

  • An internal recruiter works directly for a company, and is in charge of filling positions at the company as they open up. Since they earn a salary and represent their company, they will not be as aggressive as other recruiters.
  • Unlike an internal recruiter, a contingency recruiter does not earn a salary. Whether or not they get paid is contingent (dependent) on them finding an applicant. These recruiters do not work directly for a company, but rather for an agency that is contracted by the company.

What do you need to know?
If you’re in the midst of a job search, there are some major advantages to working with a recruiter – specifically a contingency recruiter. Due to the fact that they do not earn a salary, contingency recruiters will have a vested interest in helping you get the job. Benefits of working with them include:

  • They will be able to connect you with prime job opportunities before they get posted on public job pages.
  • They will help you edit and tailor your resume so that you appear more attractive to the employer.
  • Since they are familiar with the company, they can help you practice for your interview and give you an idea of what kind of questions to expect.

So, how do you actually work with a recruiter? While the recruiter ultimately works for the hiring company, you do not have to wait for them to contact you about a position in order to benefit from their assistance. There are two important aspects when it comes to finding a recruiter:

  1. Make Yourself Attractive. As previously mentioned, social media is a huge aspect of the recruiting game, so it is crucial that your online presence is as attractive as you are! If you haven’t already, make sure that your LinkedIn is up to date and that you are active on the site. Additionally, submit your resume to job websites like Indeed to make it easier for recruiters to find you.
  2. Reach out. If you are looking for a job in a specific industry, a quick internet search will help you identify the recruiting agencies in your city with experience in that industry. Reach out to the agency and they will connect you with one of their recruiters. It’s a good idea to come prepared with examples of companies you would like to work for, so the recruiter knows to contact you if a similar position opens up.
  • Once you find a recruiter you would like to work with, it would be incredibly beneficial to develop a relationship with them. The more they care about you and your success as a person, the more likely they will be to help find a job. As a part of this, it is a good idea to stay in touch with them on a semi-frequent basis. Reconnect every so often to ask if they’ve found anything and to update them on your search progress, but don’t contact them so frequently that it becomes overbearing.
  • Try to actually meet your recruiter face-to-face! Very few applicants (5-10%) ever meet their recruiter in person. It will not only be easier to explain your professional strengths and what you are looking for, but it helps put a face to the name for both parties involved

As you can see, working with a recruiter can be extremely advantageous when you are looking for a job, but don’t rely solely on recruitment to find a job. Remember to keep using your network and the other resources available to you!

As always, happy hunting!

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