Have you ever wondered if working with a recruiter is right for you? Then this post should help. I will outline the three most common types of recruiters and then highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly of working with recruitment firms.
Types of Recruiters
There are 3 main types of recruiters: corporate recruiters, recruitment agency recruiters, and retained search recruiters. Let’s take a closer look at each.
First, Corporate Recruiters work within an organization’s Human Resources department. Their focus is on finding top talent for the roles that they are trying to fill for the company in which they work. In essence, the corporate recruiter is looking to hire their co-workers.
Second, Agency Recruiters work for Recruitment Agencies or Placement Agencies. This type of recruiter is also known as a Contingency Recruiter because they only get paid contingent upon their successful placement of a candidate in that role. Their focus is on finding top talent for the roles within their clients’ organizations. As such, they tend to have a broader scope of roles available to applicants who apply for their roles. In addition, they may have opportunities that are available on a temporary/contract basis, permanent basis, or a contract to permanent basisl, resulting in greater flexibility for applicants. If you are interested in trying your hand at freelance work, or looking for a way to get your ‘foot in the door’ with your dream company, taking on a contract opportunity may be a great option for you to explore.
Finally, Retained Search Recruiters work for Retained Search (or Executive Search) firms. Again, their focus in on hiring top talent for roles within their clients’ organizations. The main difference between a retained search firm and a recruitment agency is that the retained search firm is paid a retainer for their services. As such, they would be the sole talent provider for their clients’ open positions, and will receive a portion of their fee regardless of when or if they find an appropriate candidate for the role. Another difference is that retained search firms tend to place senior level executive roles resulting in a longer recruitment cycle.
Recruitment Firms: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
For companies that have an in-house recruitment team, the corporate recruiter is almost always involved in the hiring process. So, for the purpose of this post, I will be limiting this part of the discussion to recruitment agencies and retained search organizations.
Looking at the good, there are a number of advantages in working with a recruitment agency or retained firm. First, their services are free to use. Recruitment agencies are paid a fee by their clients for placing a candidate.
Second, recruitment agencies tend to have a broad reach in terms of the size and volume of clients they serve. It would follow that they have a variety of different types of roles to suit your background. For instance, if you are not a perfect fit one role that you applied to, the agency may have other roles to which they can forward your profile. The agency or retained search recruiter will be able to direct your job search in a way that best fits your skills, education, experience, and interests.
Finally, recruitment agencies are a wonderful resource for helping you with your resume and prepare for upcoming interviews. They are highly skilled and knowledgeable on how to be successful in an interview and what works on a resume. After all, given that recruitment agencies are paid by the companies who engage their services, it behooves the agency to ensure that you are successful in the interview.
Alternately, there are downsides to consider when working with recruitment agencies. Again, given that recruitment agency fees are paid by the company using their services, the recruitment agency’s main priority is to fill their clients’ open position – not to find you a job. This is one misconception that is shared by many people. Knowing what their role is in the process is a big help in expectation setting.
In addition, there is a high level of competition in the recruitment agency market. Not only could there be a number of agencies working on the same role, but the organization that is hiring may be conducting their own search as well. The real issue with this is that there is a risk of having your resume submitted to an organization by more than one source. Many people may feel that this is a good thing. Unfortunately, it isn’t. The hiring company rarely looks at this in a good light – they see this as a candidate trying to “game” the system. Also, the recruitment agency you are working with would likely feel the same (i.e. like you are trying to cut out the middle man). In both cases, there is the risk of you being perceived as being too desperate or worse, like you are in some way being deceitful.
Now on to the ugly side of working with recruiters. There are some recruitment agencies that are not reputable, but they are by far in the minority. One of the main indicators is if an agency presents your resume to a client without your knowledge or consent. As was discussed, this practice increases the risk of your resume being presented by more than one source and the resulting impact of that happening. If you decide to work for an agency, confirm that it is their policy to inform candidates before submitting resumes to potential roles.
A Final Note
The decision to use a recruiter in your job search is a personal one. In my opinion, I believe that recruitment agencies are a great resource for preparing you for your job search, can provide you with access to the hidden job market, and are a great way to cast a wider net during your job search. Just be sure that you know where your resume has been submitted, maintain an open dialogue with the agency, and are aware that their role is not to find you a job. In the end, whatever decision you make should be the best decision for you!