6 Tips on Making Recruiters Part of Your Career Strategy (1/6) - Understanding Recruiters

Understanding Recruiters

Most job seekers know all about networking, searching for open positions online, and posting their resumes to job boards. But there is one way of finding a job that is still a mystery to many: working with a recruiter.

Technology has dramatically changed the way that companies hire and individuals conduct their job searches. Innovations in job search tools such as social networking sites, online skill assessment tools, resume and cover letter software, and job search engines have expanded the options that job seekers have to pursue openings.
The technologies employers use to find candidates have evolved as well. Applicant tracking systems, online screen tools, digital testing, and sophisticated background checking services all help employers target the best talent.

And yet finding the right person for a high level job is still an extremely complex job – all the more so today, when companies can source talent from across the country and around the world. Plus, there are some intangible aspects of the talent search process that computers just cannot handle. This is where recruiters come in.

Most job seekers know all about networking, searching for open positions online, and posting their resumes to job boards. But there is one way of finding a job that is still a mystery to many: working with a recruiter. 

Many people don’t know how or whether to contact recruiters, the wrong way, which hurts their chances of finding a job through a recruiter.

To successfully work with recruiters, it helps to know a little bit about what their goals are and how they function. Below, I will explain how recruiters assess candidates, what to do if one contacts you, some best practices for working with recruiters, and some key mistakes to avoid.

Just as professional sport teams want to draft the best athletes, companies want to hire the best available talent. When they are serious about hiring the top employees in their industry, companies turn to recruiters.

There are three types of recruiters: Agency Recruiters, Corporate Recruiters, and Contract Recruiters. If a recruiter contacts you, it is fine to ask her what type of recruiters she is.

Agency recruiters, the type of recruiter most people are familiar with, are third-party vendors hired by employers. There are three subcategories of agency recruiters: contingency, temp and temp-to-perm, and retained.

Contingency recruiters are only paid upon successful hires. Their fee is typically 20% to 35% of a new hire’s starting base salary or total compensation. Though that fee sounds substantial, contingency recruiters need to charge this much to stay in business, as the contingency search field is competitive and low-yield. Contingency recruiters are competing against other search firms and employers’ own hiring efforts, and if employers decide not to fill a position or to put it on hold, they lose opportunities for income.

Therefore, contingency recruiters’ time is precious. Every minute of their day is spent trying to make placements. That is why they may not call you back to let you know they received your resume. But rest assured if your background is a fit for one of their searches they will contact you, as it is money in their pocket if you get hired.

Temp recruiters and temp-to-perm recruiters work very much like contingency recruiters, but hire for temporary positions or positions where an employer would like to test someone out before permanent firing him or her.

Retained recruiters search mainly for senior management positions or for positions requiring niche skill sets. Clients also use them for critical hires and confidential searches, and when they need to hire someone quickly. Like contingency recruiters, they are paid a percentage of a new hire’s base salary or total compensation, plus travel expenses. Typically, they are paid one-third of their fee up front, one-third upon reaching an agreed-upon benchmark, and the final third upon successful hired.

Corporate or In-house recruiters work directly for hiring employers. Companies with large HR department sometimes have corporate recruiters on staff. They perform the same work as contingency recruiters, but exclusively for one company.

Contract recruiters function like corporate recruiters, but are hired on a short-term or long-term contract basis to fill permanent, temporary, or temp-perm positions. Companies use contract recruiters if they have a short-term spike in hiring or if they are short-staffed because someone left. Some recruiting agencies also hire contract recruiters.

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