….working with recruiters…what we can and can’t do for you as a job seeker

Most of the folks we work with, especially candidates don’t really know what to expect from a recruiter, so here is an explanation:

A quick Google search says that there are 20,000 Businesses in the United States that claim themselves to be some kind of recruiting firm. (Most of these are temporary staffing firms. The rest are permanent placement firms. A number of years ago , according to The Fordyce Letter, (it closed its doors in 2016)  the country’s foremost authority on the placement and recruitment profession, maintained a database of some 33,000 firms in the United States that were, in one form or another, involved in the business of direct personnel placement, either temporary placement or permanent placement. Fifty five to sixty percent of recruiting firms went out of business over the past three or four years only to be replaced by others. Twenty 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 in some form of contingency.

The average permanent recruiting firm has 3.1 (Our firm has more than 20) “consultants” in it who successfully averaged recruiting and placing 1.5 people a month. (This is the same statistic that existed when I got in this business in 1973.) (Individuals in our organization average 4 a month, I, personally, average 10. )

The average tenure of these firms is seven years and the average “consultant” has been in the business for 15 months.  (Our firm’s been here since 1952 and our average placement manager has been here for 16 years.) 

In the early ’70s it was estimated that 5% to 10 % of the professional people that 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 and good candidates are harder to find, third-party recruiters will be used even more.

Traditionally permanent recruiters have been defined in two broad camps.  The retained recruiter, who is just that, “retained,” to find an employee which was one group and the other was the “contingency group” that received their compensation only if they were responsible for causing a candidate to be hired.  There is, however, a broad range of even 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 that you should or should not use a recruiter and what that recruiter can or cannot do for you.  I will then discuss in detail what you, as a job seeker, need to know about the relationship that different kinds 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 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 and how you should deal with a “recruiter ” totally depends on your understanding of the kind of recruiter that you’re dealing with.  When you know the kind of recruiter that you were dealing with and his or her relationship to the employer, you will know how to manage your own expectations.

In general, here is what recruiters can do for you:

  • We have access and knowledge of opportunities with the firms before they are “broadcast” to the world. 45% to 50% of the opportunities we work with are given to us by clients who have worked with us multiple times. This is especially true with our organization since we’ve been around for so long.
  • For the most part, (we will see in the exceptions to this below) we have a much more in-depth knowledge about an opportunity than an individual could gain on his or 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, because we really know our clients, as well as know the marketplace relative to candidates competing with you.
  • More often than not, we work directly with hiring authorities, rather than human resources. Over the years we build personal relationships with these hiring authorities. (In fact, 30 to 40% of the hiring authorities we work with become candidates of ours some time in their career.
  • Because a recruiter knows how you compare with your competition for positions, they can provide for you the advantage. They know their market.
  • We will help you “manage” the process of interviewing and negotiating. Because an experienced recruiter deals with this process daily, we know how to do it better than an individual even if they change jobs often.
  • We are going to help a candidate maximize their compensation possibilities. Most of the time the recruiter is compensated based on the salary package the candidate receives.  It is in their best interest to help you reach your compensation potential, without you over pricing yourself and getting eliminated.
  • We can provide you more job interview opportunities quicker than you can do for yourself. Most people don’t deal with the job opportunities, career moves, etc. on a daily basis.  A good, experienced recruiter does.
  • The help of a recruiter implies confidentiality. Most top professionals do not want their job search to be “floating around” the Internet or anywhere else for that matter. (Even your little green “swish” “open to work” on LinkedIn can easily be discovered by your employer.)
  • 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 There are more of them now than ever before.
  • 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. A recruiter can coach, teach, advise, strategize and help.  But the candidate still has to be the primary force in getting the job.
  • A top recruiter might give some career advice, but we’re not counselors or career advisers.  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.”
  • 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 bare it…. help you negotiate unreasonable compensation plans, etc.
  • We cannot do a lot of hand holding or immediately respond every time you call or blindly e-mail a resume. You, as a candidate, are important to us, but only to the extent that your experience and background can help one of our clients in their need to fill a position.
  • 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 you securing 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. (Many of our candidates, because of our particular longevity are with us throughout their career. Or, should I say, we’re with them.)

….more next week




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