The Truth About Job Recruiters


There are some major misconceptions floating around about recruiters. Let’s separate the facts from fiction.

Myth: You Should Work With Only One Recruiter At A Time
You can — and should — work with multiple recruiters, even two or three at a time. Recruiters often have a relationship with many but not all companies in one particular industry. So working with a few recruiters simultaneously can give you increased exposure. Just make sure you let your recruiters know who else you are working with and what companies they are submitting you to.

Myth: A Recruiter Will Help Me Find a Job
Recruiters technically don’t work for you. They work for the company that pays them for filling a position. When you work with a recruiter consider it just one ingredient in a well-rounded job-search recipe. You still need to network, make direct contact with employers, attend events, check job boards, stay current on LinkedIn, fine tune your resume, practice your interview skills, and use other methods that improve your chances of landing a job. Get a step-by-step job search plan in my 50-page eBook, packed with resources, industry secrets, and creative ideas.

Myth: Recruiters Can Help Me Change Careers
Recruiters are often searching for a specific type of candidate to match a company’s criteria. They don’t cast a wide net to include merely people interested in a particular field. The better your credentials meet the search assignment specifications, the more likely you’ll be considered as a candidate. Therefore, if you want to make a career change, working with a recruiter isn’t the way to go.

Myth: Working With a Recruiter Won’t Cost Me Anything
While the recruiter doesn’t charge you a fee for placing you in a position, you may still incur some expenses. For example, the recruiter may suggest you make changes to your resume, so you may need to work with your resume writer to create a new version of your resume. The recruiter may also recommend resources for you, such as interview training and coaching. Some recruiters will pay for these services or provide them to you directly. However, you can always refuse to spend money on services recommended by your recruiter.

Be aware that there are unscrupulous practitioners who promote themselves as recruiters but charge jobseekers large fees to help them access job opportunities. They are not legitimate recruiters, and often do not deliver on their promises. The tip off will be that they will ask for a substantial deposit, often $3,000 or more, in exchange for access to “hidden” jobs or “preferred” opportunities. Legitimate recruiters will never ask you to pay a fee, not before, during, or after placement. Be warned.

Other Things To Watch Out For

You may hear horror stories from jobseekers about working with recruiters. Because some recruiters get paid only when a placement is made, they may waste your time with positions that aren’t a good fit, or pressure you to take a job just so they can collect a fee.

Another common complaint is that some recruiters post jobs that don’t exist. A less-than-ethical recruiter will do this to build up his or her database, but it’s frustrating for jobseekers.

Some recruiting firms want “exclusivity” with your job search. Make sure you carefully read any paperwork you’re asked to sign. If you get hired for a company they’ve had contact with, even if they weren’t involved in that specific job search, they may file a claim with your new employer for a commission, using the contract you signed with them as proof of what they are due. Not a way for you to start a new job!

More often however, complaints about recruiters stem from differing communication styles. If you feel your recruiter calls too often, or doesn’t return your calls, or leaves garbled messages, you’ll be happier if you find a different recruiter, one whose communication style matches yours.

Keep your recruiter informed about other interviews you have, and other companies you are applying to. Be clear about what you want. If you are happy in your current job, you may not want your resume widely distributed. Be sure the recruiter agrees to check with you before submitting your resume anywhere. Be honest with your recruiter about your current compensation and what you want to make. Recruiters can be a good source of salary information and can usually tell you if you are underpaid or are making above-average compensation.

Recruiters certainly have an important place in the job search arena. It’s up to you to get savvy about how to use a recruiter to your advantage.

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Author: Mir Garvy

I’ve written resumes for 2,000+ job seekers just like you—and helped my clients land jobs with companies like Amazon, SAS, Google, Duke University, Travelocity, Cisco Systems, GlaxoSmithKline, Expedia, and IBM.