Many people (including most of my family) have no idea what my job as a recruiter entails and when I try to explain it to them I can just see them getting more and more confused. Those that are not in the know (the general public at large) generally have many misconceptions of how we work, how we make money, and the value that we bring to the table.
To help demystify what recruiters do we are going to look at the different types of recruiters and how they work, look at some important things to remember when working with recruiters, and hear how to best work with recruiters from several corporate and third-party professionals.
To start off with, it is important to realize that there is more than one type of recruiter out there. In fact, there are three main categories into which a recruiter can be classified – contingent, retained, and corporate – with sub-categories inside of each.
- Corporate recruiters are an internal member of an organization and typically (although not always) work in HR. They can be specialized (involved in recruiting day in and day out) or may be multi-functional, serving in an HR generalist role (recruiting, employee relations, benefits, training, etc). Their main responsibility is to filter out candidate as per the requirement of the job description and hiring manager.
- Contingent recruiters act as an independent contact between their client companies and the candidates they recruit and although some specialize in direct hire positions or contract positions, many do both. Generally speaking, contingent recruiting firms are used when filling mid-level positions and seldom work on an exclusive basis with their client companies. In most cases contingent firms compete against each other firms to fill the positions they work on and they get paid only upon the completion of a search.
- Retained recruiters also act as an independent contact between their client companies and candidates but they work as an exclusive vendor on the positions they recruit for. They receive a retainer (up-front fee) to perform a specific search for a company, normally at the senior level (often for positions that pay $100,000 and up). Fee payments are made in thirds, 1/3 of fee paid on initiation of the search, 1/3 paid thirty days later, and the final 1/3 paid thirty days later or upon placement of the candidate.
No matter whether the recruiter you are working with is corporate, contingent, or retained there are some important things to remember:
- The job-seeker is NOT the recruiters customer, the organization is (they pay the bills).
- A recruiter does not ‘get’ you a job. Their role is to work with the client, understand their need and find the best match to fit that spot.
- Just like with any profession there are good recruiters and bad recruiters. Sometimes you have to go through a couple of bad apples to get to good ones.
- If approached correctly, a recruiter can be a great resource of information on the job-market, your industry, and best practices on how to find employment.
- To maximize your time in working with recruiters, find those that specialize in your job-function as they will be more likely to have opportunities that are of interest to you.
- Make sure that you have a firm understanding with any third-party recruiters that your résumé is NOT to be sent to any opportunity without your consent.
- Not tracking where you have applied and been submitted can easily lead to a double submission to an organization which can result in you being eliminated from consideration completely.
- If a recruiter recognizes your number on caller id you might be calling just a little too much
Now that we have looked at the categories of recruiters and some best practices lets look at four different perspectives on how best to work with a recruiter while you are looking for new opportunities from two corporate and two contingent recruiting professionals.
Matt Lowney is a Recruiting Manager with DaVita, Inc. In his role, Matt manages a clinical recruiting team in the southeast. You can reach Matt by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.linkedin.com/in/mattlowney.
My perspective is that of a corporate recruiter handling clinical (RN, LPN, social worker, dietitian, and administrator) openings for outpatient dialysis units. I find that a lot of job seekers don’t realize the work load corporate recruiters are supporting, especially given the economy (corporate recruiting staffs have been cut anywhere from 30 to 70%). As a result, job seekers get aggravated at the turnaround time they get in correspondence from recruiters…if they get any feedback at all.
While I understand the frustration of applying for a position and not hearing anything back, a recruiter is tasked with finding the best candidate (i.e. one that most closely fits the job description) as quickly as possible. The recruiter’s job is not to be a career counselor. Most candidates don’t honestly appraise their skills in terms of the talent pool available in the market.
That being said, if you understand the recruiter’s day you will be much better prepared to work with them. Too often I speak with candidates that see my role as one they need to “work around”. Big mistake. My number one suggestion is to treat your recruiter with respect as he can be a big ally in the interview process internally. Your recruiter can be a strong advocate especially if the decision comes down to two candidates so make sure to follow-up and stay in touch with your recruiter.
You do need to remember they work with a lot of candidates, managers, and positions. Even if you feel you connected with your recruiter, always be sure to reference who you are and what position you are applying in your correspondence. However, don’t follow-up too much. For those who don’t know daily follow-up calls are too many. Every recruiter I know has a list of “stalkers”! I think touching base weekly by phone and/ or email is sufficient.
Lastly, I would suggest finding a current employee at the company you are applying to, if at all possible. Ask this person to give you an introduction to the recruiter. Recruiters are networkers by nature and they like to work with candidates that they feel they can trust. Who better to trust than a current employee referral?
Kyle Allen, CPA is the Managing Director, Executive Recruiting for Creative Financial Staffing in Brentwood, TN. He can be found at www.linkedin.com/in/kyleallen.
This tough economy brings about many frustrations for both recruiters and individuals working with recruiters, but I wanted to quickly focus on the frustration individuals have and ways to fix that. Most professionals get frustrated with their recruiter(s) because they haven’t found them a job. Even though our success is based on solely producing a job for you we could give you so much more if you look beneath the surface. Unfortunately this is the perception and as a recruiter I try to educate individuals on how to effectively utilize a recruiter.
The fact is, as recruiters we are in a client driven business as they are putting food on our table. If our clients’ don’t have opportunities that fit your background, we can’t help.
The best way to use a recruiter, in addition to getting a job, is to ask questions of them on how to improve your résumé, appearance, interviewing skills, and marketing yourself. These are all important aspects that recruiters won’t always give you. Tell a recruiter you are looking for the truth even if it is brutal.
Recruiters avoid these discussion because they don’t want to offend individuals or make them upset. I know this because I have avoided these conversations in the past.
If you keep hearing “you weren’t a fit” or “they went with someone who had the exact experience we were looking for” dig into those responses. Those are very surface answers and almost 100% of the time there are deeper issues that kept you from the job.
The quicker you are to be open-minded about yourself and take constructive criticism, the better chance you have to land the next job you interview for.
Bashty is a Recruiter with Texas Home Health and Guardian Home Care. In her role, Bashty primarily recruits for Clinicians (LVN, RN, PT, OT, PTA, COTA) in Texas, Tennessee and Georgia. You can reach Bashty at email@example.com or view her profile at www.linkedin.com/in/bashty
As a Corporate Recruiter it is my job to find the best candidates to fill our openings. I know many feel that working with Corporate Recruiters is more of a hassle than a help, but we can truly be an asset to job seekers. Instead of viewing Corporate Recruiter’s as a road block in between you and the hiring manager you should see them as a resource. They generally are experts on the company and have a wealth of knowledge regarding the position that you are interested in, what the hiring manager is looking for and the company culture.
It is my job as a recruiter to know the core job duties and responsibilities for all of my openings. Even if I have never worked in the role that I am filling, I still know the core competencies and key requirements that are required to be successful in this position (that information may or may not be listed on the job description). Use the recruiter as a resource and ask about the core competencies and what they are looking for in a candidate. If you ask what they are looking for you stand a better chance of selling yourself to them and making it through to the next steps in their hiring process. It is also good to ask about the hiring process as each company’s process is different and the recruiter that you are working with will be the expert.
Who knows the hiring manager better than the recruiter that works with them? The recruiter has worked hard to forge relationships with their manager’s to determine the type of candidate that they are looking for and the type of candidate that will work best with them. Take advantage of this knowledge and ask questions about the manager. Be sure to keep the questions professional in nature. Here is an example “What made the last person in this role successful and what made them unsuccessful?” Typically the Recruiter can answer this because the hiring manager has expressed concerns or satisfaction regarding the last individual in the role.
Company culture plays a larger role in the hiring process that what you might think and the recruiter is also an expert in this department. If you need a low-stress or flexible environment ask questions about the work environment. I know many people agonize over what to wear for an interview, so ask the question what is acceptable attire for an interview. Some managers feel if you show up in a suit you are not a good fit for their culture and others feel that if you do not show up in a suit that you are not a good fit for their company. The recruiter will be able to give you inside information and will be more than willing to answer your questions.
Rick Ross is the Director of Recruiting for NGP and is based in Nashville, TN. In his role, Rick primarily recruits for senior level information technology candidates nationwide. You can reach Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I believe one of the biggest misconceptions of a recruiter’s role is that we are not part of the interview process and that it’s OK to not return a call from a recruiter or to answer emails in a timely manner.
Candidates need to understand that recruiters talk to multiple candidates and that you can be ‘dismissed’ by a recruiter from consideration – I have withdrawn potential candidates based on their behavior with me. Maybe they were consistently slow to call me; maybe they used inappropriate language with me; but I decided that based on this behavior, they would not be an employee with my client. My client companies never question my decision and they would rather eliminate someone early in the process rather than after the hiring decision.
So what should you do to keep this from happening? Just treat the recruiter like he or she works for the client (we do) and we (the recruiter) is the decision maker. Return calls even if you are not interested; keep them updated as you meet with the client; show them your best business behavior.
What if the job isn’t for you? Most recruiters really do keep your resume in their database and if they had a positive experience with you then you will eventually (usually soon than later) get another call. Recruiters needs change often so it doesn’t hurt to check in occasionally so that you stay on the top of the list.
And if you know the job isn’t for you, let the recruiter know – we always err on the side of telling you about an opportunity and if it’s not right then no harm done!
It is important to keep in mind that when you are looking for a job that a recruiter will not ‘find’ you a job – that is still a you project. Recruiters are a tool to use as part of the search process and if used correctly can lead to a long-lasting relationship that can benefit both sides in many ways.
Until next time, good hunting and good luck!