What you need to know about using a recruiter

Thinking of working with a job recruiter?

Within a competitive job market, any professional who has ever been out of work knows that it can be tough landing a job with a great company. Many people have decided to try their luck by using a job recruiter, someone who can help you narrow your job search and ease some of the pressure associated with the job hunt.

Recruiter's contact list

There are many advantages to working with a recruiter, but one of the best is gaining access to a recruiter's contact list and the "hidden job market." Recruitment services have direct access to jobs that are not advertised.

Positions that are not advertised to the public amount to roughly 80 percent of jobs, recruiters can help candidates through the hiring process by coaching them every step of the way, including giving interview tips, polishing a resume and negotiating job offers,  but it is important to know and understand how working with a recruiter works.

Types of job recruiters

There are generally two different types of recruiters: 

  • A retained job recruiter is paid in advance to conduct a search on behalf of the company looking to fill the position.
  • A contingency job recruiter only earns a fee once a candidate has been hired to fill a position.

For permanent positions, contingency recruiters are typically paid a fee based on a percentage of the candidate's first year's salary, for contract positions, the fee will typically be a portion of the candidate's hourly rate.

If you are a job seeker who has successfully used a recruiter to land a job, you might only end up receiving a portion of what you are actually worth.

For example, if you receive a contract placement for $20 per hour, there is a good chance that the client is paying the recruitment agency closer to $25 per hour just to have you there. Still, it might be worth taking a little less pay in order to gain access to more job opportunities that a job recruiter can bring to the table. 

Choosing a job recruiter

Recruiters may have excellent information regarding what the employer is looking for in a candidate, and they will be able to guide you along the process, making sure that you put your best foot forward.

However, it is important to remember that not all job recruiters are created equal. Make sure to meet with a few recruiters before settling on one you want to work with. Consider choosing a few professionals who specialize in the industries that you are looking to target.

Diversifying and working with more than one recruiter is helpful. However, it's often counterproductive to work with a large number of recruiters at the same time. Choose two or three that you trust and build a strong relationship with them. Those relationships will go a long way throughout your career.

Since recruiters get paid by the employer -- and not by the job seeker -- their mandate isn't to personally see that each job seeker gets placed. It's to find the best candidate for the position they were hired to fill, regardless of who it is. It is important to be mindful of this and to manage your expectations by asking good questions in the initial conversations you have.

Do your research

Using a job recruiter is a great tool for a job seeker to use, but in order to maximize your success in finding a job, you should always be conducting your own search online, and networking within your circle at the same time.