There are many different ways to embark upon your job search. You might use the large online job boards like CareerBuilder. You might network to build your connections and to find an “in” with a company you’re targeting. You might use social media to find openings and conduct research. One of the best ways, however, is to partner with a recruiter. How do you find one, and how do you know if they're good?
The different types of recruiters fall into one of two buckets: corporate recruiters and 3rd party recruiters. Corporate recruiters work at one company internally, usually within HR. They are typically recruiting for a number of different positions within their company and often, they are salaried.
3rd party recruiters usually work for a staffing agency, a recruiting firm, or as sole practitioners working for themselves. They may be working searches simultaneously for several different client companies. Most recruiters specialize in some way, whether by industry (i.e. healthcare) or by position type (administrative support) and some recruiters are highly specialized.
Another distinction is that 3rd party recruiters are usually either retained or contingency. Retained recruiters often focus on executive level searches and they are compensated whether or not a position is filled. Contingent recruiters are compensated when they fill a job, usually earning a portion of the fee paid by the client.
Today we’ll focus on working with 3rd party recruiters.
3 Benefits of Working with a Recruiter
First, your recruiter is likely to have a strong network of connections within their industry or geography. This is especially helpful if you’re changing careers or if you’re new to a location. The best recruiters have spent years building their networks and they often have invaluable insight on companies, trends, and the job market.
Second, the best recruiters give you support throughout the process. They give you information about a role that goes far beyond the job description. They help you prepare for the interview. They act on your behalf to get post-interview feedback. They keep you apprised on the process and if you’re fortunate enough to get to the offer stage, they’ll guide you through offer acceptance, including any negotiations. They’ll offer resources and guidance to you at each stage of the process.
Finally, recruiters can make your search more efficient. Exceptional recruiters gain an in-depth understanding about each candidate and about each job. They shouldn’t present opportunities to you that aren’t a match, which helps you avoid wasting time. Recruiters are also often aware of jobs that aren’t advertised on job boards. This prevents you from competing with hundreds of other candidates who might be applying for the same job as you.
How to Find Recruiters
We recommend three easy ways to find recruiters: use your network, use LinkedIn, and use other online resources.
- Use your own network. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues if they have recommendations. You’ll be surprised at how many people have worked with a recruiter! You’ll have to decide who you’ll ask based on whether or not your search is confidential. You can ask for recommendations online, or you can reach out individually to people you know. This is the best way to find a good recruiter, as a personal recommendation is almost always priceless.
- Look on LinkedIn. Every good recruiter is on LinkedIn and recruiters use LinkedIn extensively to network, advertise jobs, and recruit. Finding a recruiter on LinkedIn is as simple as typing “recruiter” in the search bar at the top, selecting “people,” and then scrolling and searching OR using filters to narrow your results. For instance, if you’re looking for a new accounting role in Chicago, search for “Chicago Accounting Recruiter” and then select “People” and you’ll find many recruiter profiles for your space.
- Research online directories. There are a number of online directories you can research, such as Best of Staffing. Best of Staffing is an excellent resource for finding the top U.S. staffing agencies because this list is based upon client and talent responses to annual satisfaction surveys. While Best of Staffing won’t lead you directly to an individual recruiter, the best agencies tend to hire the best recruiters so once you’ve identified some agencies, research them on LinkedIn to find specific recruiters.
How to Identify GOOD Recruiters
You’ve found a recruiter or two … now how can you tell if they’re good? Again, LinkedIn is your friend. Look up the recruiter’s profile and answer a few questions: how long have they been recruiting? How long have they been with their current firm? Are they active on social media? Do they regularly post updates or jobs? Do they belong to a lot of industry groups? Are they a specialist in your industry, or are they more of a generalist? Do they have a lot of connections in your field? Social media & the Internet make it easy for you to learn more about potential recruiters before attempting contact. A little homework goes a long way.
As you reach out to recruiters, keep a few things in mind. First, the more attractive you are, the more likely a recruiter is to engage with you. By attractive we mean: how relevant is your experience to the jobs they fill? Do you have a solid LinkedIn profile? Great background & skill set? Impressive social media presence/personal brand? How professional was your outreach?
Recruiters simply cannot work with every candidate who reaches out to them. Most 3rd party recruiters are only paid when a position is successfully filled, so recruiters are usually quite protective of their time. Putting your best foot forward helps you catch a recruiter’s attention.
Finally, remember that smart professionals maintain recruiter relationships over many years and over many different jobs. A great recruiter relationship can be a tremendous asset in your overall career trajectory. Approach recruiters with a long-term, relationship-focused perspective in mind.
Do you have any tips to share on finding a great recruiter?