Question from a job seeker to career advisor:
"Hi. I was wondering if I could get your advice. Have you had any experiences with agency recruiters? Do you think they are a helpful resource? How would I go about finding someone who would be a good fit for me? Thank you!"
Response to job seeker:
Good to hear from you. Thanks for your questions. Yes, I do have experience with recruiters, both for my own career transition several years ago, and now through my role as a career and job search coach. Here's my take:
Don't put all your eggs in one basket
I would definitely use a recruiter or two (or three), but be aware that they're not really in the business of helping candidates find jobs; they're more about helping companies find strong candidates. You're the commodity, not the client. That said, there are recruiters out there who really do work hard to help candidates as well.
Statistics show that about 70% of jobs are found through networks and networking, 20% through direct application, and 10% through recruiters. You're best off concentrating your efforts accordingly, so use them but don't rely on recruiters or one recruiter exclusively.
Be a recruiter when looking for your recruiter
To find (or recruit) a recruiter you're comfortable with, use your network, do some research, and conduct interviews yourself. Ask friends, classmates, colleagues and other connections about recruiters they've worked with in the past, and then contact those recruiters. Better yet, ask your connection to refer you.
Reach out to recruiters that specialize in your profession or niche, particularly at your level of seniority and salary. Take a look at their websites, see if any jobs pop out, and then register. You'll probably need to upload your resume, and there may be an opportunity to include a personal message. Mention the jobs that caught your eye, and what kinds of position you're looking for.
When you upload your resume, remember that agency and corporate recruiters have different priorities and ways of working. Corporate recruiters are typically looking for a tailored resume, focused on a specific role (the one you're applying for). Agency recruiters are looking for a more thorough description of skills and experience as they fill a variety of roles, and they'll want to know more about all your experiences and transferable skills. For this reason, the resume you submit to a recruiting company can be a bit longer and broader than you'd use when applying for a job directly.
After you've submitted your resume, you'll more than likely be contacted by one of the recruiters for a meet-and-greet so they can find out more about you and dig into your background and goals. Use that meeting to do your own digging into how the recruiter likes to work with clients, what industries and roles they recruit into, and how they can support you. Having "interviewed" a few recruiters, pick two or three that you feel are the best fit for you, and focus on working with them exclusively.
Working with your recruiter(s)
You want to keep the number of recruiters you work with fairly low so you can keep track of what jobs they're working on (through their websites), and can avoid being put forward for the same position by multiple agencies (many times multiple recruiters will be working to fill the same role, and it makes it difficult for them and you when an employer receives your details from multiple sources). Ensure that your resume is only presented by a recruiter with your prior expressed consent. If your resume is presented twice, most employers will not consider you as there is a conflict as to which recruiter will be compensated, even if you are the best candidate for the role. Use "first to contact you about the opportunity" as a rule of thumb for who presents you as a candidate. Advise additional recruiters contacting you about the same role that you have already been presented by another firm. If this does not work for the recruiter, your best interests are not being taken into account.
One thing I suggest is to schedule check-ins with each of the recruiters you're working with. Most are extremely busy (with scores of candidates when times are tough, and employers when the economy is booming), and even though they may want to be in regular contact, time doesn't allow for it.
For a job seeker, it can be frustrating if you never hear from your recruiter, but don't put the blame on them. Be proactive about communication. In my experience, recruiters are more than happy to interact if you contact them. How (email, telephone, DM) and when (weekly, bi-weekly, whenever a new posting catches your eye) is something you can discuss in your initial meeting.
When you check in, mention the jobs that interest you, and be ready to discuss any updates (changed/refined goals, networking activities, etc.) in your job search. Checking in has numerous benefits, including: keeping you top of mind with the recruiter, letting them know you're still looking, giving you potential access to roles that aren't yet on their website, and helping them zero in on your ideal positions, industries and employers.
A couple of additional benefits of using recruiters to help with your job search lie in preparation, and contract negotiation. When you're put forward for a role, the recruiter will typically help you prepare for an interview, including: giving you insights into the company, priorities of the role, and how the vacancy came about. If you're successful at interview, they'll also act as a go-between in negotiating compensation and other terms of employment. If you're not a great negotiator, this can be a huge benefit (recruiters typically negotiate more job offers in a month than the average job seeker will see in their career).
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/enhance-your-job-search-agency-recruiters-eric-pye/.