By Arnie Fertig
Despite continued high unemployment numbers, companies are hiring. Surprisingly, they are finding it difficult to find just the right people for positions that they need to fill. Recruiters, often called "headhunters," who took a huge hit when the economy tanked in 2008, are reporting that they are now busier than they have been in several years.
Working with a recruiter can be a great benefit in your job hunt, but only if you understand their role in the hiring process. Unfortunately, too many people have misconceptions about what they do, and how to motivate them to be your advocate. It's time to clear the air and bust some of the myths.
1. MYTH: The Recruiter's Job is to Help a Job Hunter Find Employment
FACT: Recruiters work for employers, not job hunters. Their job is to find the best talent for the position the employer is seeking to fill, bearing in mind all of the employer's "must haves," "should haves," and "shouldn't haves." They aren't paid to help people to transition to new fields, but rather to find talented individuals who have done the job already in a different context, or people ready to move up to the next level in their same career path. To be sure, they help individuals whom they are able to place, but their primary responsibility is not to be a career counselor or coach for job seekers.
2. MYTH: All Recruiters Are Paid the Same Way
FACT: There are essentially two types of recruiters for full-time permanent jobs:
Contingency recruiting companies aren't paid unless their client company hires a candidate they submit. Competition among firms is intense. For individual contributor-type positions, employers will frequently offer multiple recruiters the opportunity to work on the same job posting, and only pay a fee to the recruiter who actually finds the right talent.
That said, many contingency recruiters form networks or alliances to cooperate with each other and do "splits" where they share job listings with one side, taking 50 percent of the commission for getting the listing and another side taking 50 percent for finding the successful candidate. This is much akin to realtors sharing commissions for the sale of a home. If a recruiter advertises a search for "my client," but doesn't include the name of the client, it is likely a contingency search.
Retained search firms are paid by a company to take on an exclusive role in a given search, with the understanding that they will receive a higher level of service and more complete candidate vetting than is typically the case with contingency firms. These firms are most often utilized for executive level searches. Fees earned for retained searches are generally much higher than for contingency searches, and are paid out at specific points in the search process.
3. MYTH: Recruiters Are Rude and Unresponsive
FACT: Recruiters, like anyone else with very limited time, prioritize who that time is worth speaking with, and for how long. They are likely to be very responsive to clients or potential clients who have job orders for them to fill, and people who they see as strong (potential) candidates for those job orders. They are likely to be much less responsive to individuals who approach them out of a sense of desperation, with a career change in mind, or who are not perceived as "A" class workers.
Most recruiters simply don't have the time to respond to the hundreds of unsolicited resumes or phone calls that they receive virtually every week. And it simply is not their role to coach people who aren't a close fit for the kinds of positions with which they work. It is common for a recruiter to make 50 to 100 phone calls each day, and with that kind of volume they simply don't have the time to deal with extraneous conversations.
Myths 4,5, and the complete USNEWS article