How to secure results with recruiters

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Barry Whelan explores how to find the right recruiter for you and develop a long-term relationship with them that will yield the maximum benefit throughout your career, not just when you are actively searching for a new job



16 May 2013

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HRWe work with the not-for-profit organisation, Jobcare, on a programme called Jobnet, where the group helps professionals who are unemployed to get back to work. At Jobnet I present a piece on recruitment companies and how to work with them. At a recent presentation, I was taken aback by how much advice the audience required on dealing with recruitment agencies and consultants. 

Using the industry knowledge and networks of recruiters can be a critical part of any job search. A professional recruiter can offer career advice, inside knowledge of your target industry or company, salary guidance and ‘culture fit’ insight on employers.

By working with the right recruiter you can:

  • Avoid the general inbox: Recruiters have relationships with human resources and hiring managers, so your CV goes directly to them, the right person, instead of the general apply box, which is full of applications.
  • Find the unadvertised opportunities: Recruiters often know about and fill positions well before they are advertised.
  • Get valuable insights regarding company culture, history and information: A good recruiter should be able to tell you about the company culture and what to expect from interviews.
  • Have someone in your corner: While in your corner, a recruiter can present you in the best way, provide feedback and valuable interview feedback insight and follow-up, and help throughout the negotiation and recruitment process.

There are lots of different types of recruiters

Generalist recruiters work for recruitment agencies to provide a wide range of candidates to clients. These recruiters may place administrative, professional or technical candidates, ranging from entry level to mid-level, in temporary contract or permanent jobs. They typically work with a volume of candidates and these recruiters do not have industry experience.

In-house recruiters (recruitment officers) handle most aspects of the employee recruitment process for their own company. In-house recruiters are typically in the human resources division or outsourced by recruitment companies to clients.

Executive contingent and retained recruiters work for search firms that are engaged by clients to perform a specific search for a range of mid and senior-level positions. Contingent recruiters receive a fee only upon the successful placement of a candidate. Retained recruiters work for search firms that are engaged by clients to perform a specific search for a senior executive position. Retained recruiters receive a retainer (upfront fee) to execute a search.

Specialist recruiters have industry knowledge and background experience. They work in a specific industry and are seen as experts in that industry; servicing a large range of clients, but only clients specific to their industry. They promote and support employment in their industry and can provide candidates from their industry with a broad range of options and expert career advice.

Make a recruiter hitlist

As discussed, there are many types of recruiters, and each may have a specific industry or area of expertise. Ideally, you should focus on building relationships with the recruiters that can best help you with your career aspirations in your industry or the industry you’re interested in targeting.

Don’t just be a transaction, build a long-term relationship

The best recruiter-candidate relationships are mutually beneficial relationships. A candidate receives access to unadvertised career opportunities, priceless career advice and gains an advocate to promote them to their industry. Recruiters need candidates and the recruitment industry saying of ‘good people know good people’ applies. Your recruiter will appreciate reciprocal access to your network of potential referrals that may become candidates as well as unique company or industry insight.

A common candidate mistake is to only work with a recruiter when actively searching for a new job. When a candidate needs a job and the recruiter needs a candidate to fill that job, this is purely a transactional relationship. This is less valuable for the candidate and the recruiter. Be prepared to invest time in building and maintaining long-term relationships.

Next month we will discuss guidelines to develop good working long-term relationships with recruitment consultants and the pitfalls candidates find.



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