3 Assumptions About Recruiters That Sabotage a Job Search

AssumptionMany job seekers are confused about how hiring works, and, specifically, about how to work with recruiters. As with most everything associated with job search, things aren’t as simple or straight forward as they seem.

And yet, many job seekers make some bad assumptions about them – and how to work with them… including these three that can sabotage your job search:

All Recruiters Work the Same Way

There are many different kinds of recruiters exist – and assuming they all work the same way, are motivated by the same things, and get paid the same way is a mistake.

Recruiters break down into two basic categories, based on their source of income:

Internal recruiters (also known as “in-house”).

They are employees of the employer they represent, paid a salary by that employer. No matter how nice they are, they aren’t on “your side” in this process. So, don’t confide in them, and don’t expect them to do you any favors.

While they are often in charge of initial screening and then scheduling interviews and follow up, they are very seldom the decision maker in the process. Their role, typically, is to support the hiring manager and make sure that all of the administrative processes work.

External recruiters (also referred to as “agencies,” “headhunters,” “search consultants,” or “sourcers” depending on how they work and how they are paid).

External recruiters are employees of recruiting agencies or staffing firms, and they usually have many different employers as clients. Most of them are paid when a candidate they propose to the employer is hired by that employer. Some external recruiters are paid a flat monthly rate regardless of whether or not their candidate is hired. They typically help employers fill very senior management roles.

Unless they are headhunters paid by retainer, most external recruiters have a vested interest in your success because they earn their fee if you are hired. Understand that they may (and usually do, if they can) propose more than one job candidate for a specific job.

I Can Hire a Recruiter to Find a Job for Me

I’m amazed by how many job seekers ask me for the name of a good recruiter they can hire to find them a job. They want to hand their resume to a recruiter, say “Handle it!” – and then go do something else with their time.

If you’ve been in a job search for more than a week, you understand how much work it is to do well. I certainly understand the desire to give this tough job to someone else to do!

But, recruiters are paid by the employer to fill jobs. They are not your agent or personal salesperson.

So, their loyalties lie with the employer, although you will often find very sympathetic recruiters. You can develop long-term relationships with recruiters that can result in being referred by them to several jobs over your career, but, still, they are still paid by the employer, not you.

A Recruiter Will Figure Out What Job is Right For Me

Not many people, of any profession, could do that!

And, since recruiters are paid by employers to fill open positions, they don’t have the time to provide free counseling for job seekers. In fact, employers often measure a recruiter’s success by how quickly they fill a position (a.k.a., “time-to-hire”). So, they seldom have the time to look at a resume and figure out where the person could fit into the organization.

Make the recruiters’ jobs easier by being very specific with your resume or application. Make it clear the job you want. Also, make it very clear how well-qualified you are for that job.

Applicant mind-reading is not in the job descriptions for any recruiters.

The Key: Connect with Recruiters Before You Need Them

Recruiters can be enormously helpful to you, and certainly play a part in most hiring done today. If you can, connect with them before you need them so that you are on their radar. LinkedIn is, today, the best way to do that, particularly through LinkedIn Groups.

It is in the external recruiter’s best interest to know as many good job candidates as possible, so they can respond quickly to a client’s need. External recruiters seem to be more receptive to those connections than internal recruiters, judging by the amount of contact information they make available in their LinkedIn profiles. Internal recruiters, particularly with very popular employers, often seem to feel under siege by job seekers, so they seem to be a bit more careful of sharing their contact information.

Internal recruiters you meet during your job search may not be comfortable connecting with while you are a candidate for one of their jobs, but they might be more receptive later, particularly if you are the candidate who is hired.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!




Susan P Joyce AuthorAbout the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm, Susan is editor and publisher of Work Coach Cafe and also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org.

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a columnist on HuffingtonPost, AOL Jobs, and LinkedIn. Follow Susan on Twitter (@jobhuntorg) and on Google+.



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