job search tip 17Many recruiting professionals offer services at no cost to the candidate. These recruiters fall into several categories and each may assist your job search. It is important that you understand these categories and target your discussions with them appropriately. Recruiters include:


These are usually a “one-man band,” working alone, maybe out of a small executive suite or their home office. Their days are spent scouring the Internet looking for resumes that match the job opportunities they also find. They send the resume to the hiring authority, and if he bites, negotiates a fee then approaches the candidate. Placers do not typically make a high number of placements, but the low overhead allows some to hang on for years.

Some Placers work with a handful of firms repeatedly, finding basically the same kind of candidates for them all over the country. They hone in on a particular kind of narrow experience (like copier sales, long distance service sales, etc.), then scour the Net to find that background.

Advantages: the Placer has probably worked with the particular organization he contacts you about. He knows their preferred candidate profile and their hiring procedures. If you follow the Placer’s instructions, they will probably be effective with the one or two clients for whom he works.

Disadvantages: the Placer is probably only going to present you to one or two organizations, and he’s probably going to present five or six others with exactly the same background as yours.

How to deal with the Placer: he or she may really know what the hiring authority prefers. You will be wise to ask me everything there is to know about the employer and what qualities they have sought in others they’ve hired. Treat the Placer special because he can give you every advantage you might need in the interviewing process.

Contract recruiters, internal and external

These recruiters are hired by companies on a “contract.” The contract might be for a specific period of time or for a specific number of candidates. They are hired when organizations need to recruit and hire many candidates over a short period. Rather than hire a permanent employee or pay fees to ” third-party ” recruiters, they hire a contract recruiter. The contract recruiter is anxious to get people hired quickly so their contract is not cancelled.

Advantages: since he is hired and compensated based on performance, the contract recruiter will try to get you through the hiring process as fast as possible. He usually knows the organization fairly well and knows their preferences. If you fit the profile, he wants to see you hired.

Since he is also an independent contractor, you may very well end up on his personal database and be approached again when he’s at a new client.

Disadvantages: in most cases, the contract recruiter is only working for one company. He is unlikely to present you to another organization.

How to deal with the contract recruiter: you may not even know that he is a contractor. Most of the time he will appear to be an employee of the organization he represents. Treat him as you would the Internal Recruiter (next).

Internal recruiters

Internal recruiters are permanent employees of the hiring company. Many came from third-party recruiting firms. They are dedicated to their company and recruit aggressively for them. The organization has to be large enough and do enough hiring to justify employing internal recruiters.

Advantages: as with contract recruiters, internal recruiters are motivated to “look good” to their managers and will push candidates that fit the profile to the next level. They have great insight into the company and the kind of person they want to hire.

Disadvantages: since the internal recruiter thinks of himself first, and feels that the perception of him is dependent upon the candidates he locates, if he doesn’t think you are a good candidate, you will not be promoted. He will not “think outside the box ” and see your “potential” as a candidate.

How to deal with internal recruiters: Ask about his role and responsibilities at the employer. If you sense he is really aggressive, make him see you as a very viable candidate. Sell yourself very hard so that he overlooks your weaknesses and is able to sell your strengths. Be blunt. Ask him what you can do to get promoted in the interviewing process?

H.R. staff recruiters and screeners

Though often called recruiters, those in this category really aren’t in the formal sense. Their role is really just to “screen” candidates for the hiring authorities. HR staffers might search the Internet for resumes or ask present employees if they know of prospective candidates. They may run ads and call the people who respond to them. Otherwise, they are just not real aggressive “recruiters.”

Advantages: If you are a “perfect” candidate, and the hiring authorities are interested in speaking with you, the HR staffer can help coordinate the interview. This person may know a little bit about the position specifications, but only what was communicated by the hiring authority.

Disadvantages: the HR staffer will not “sell” you to the hiring authorities. He/she might make you feel good about the company and the opportunity, but other than logistics, he will not be of much assistance.

How to deal with HR staff: you must get around or through the HR staff to get in front of the actual hiring authority. Ask for his help. Sometimes they respond to the “squeaky wheel” candidate who happens to be available when the hiring authority decides he or she has time to interview.