In the last two years, we've seen the question more and more: “Why should I work with a recruiter?”
The rationale many people give for avoiding recruiters is that they want to negotiate their own salary, without an intermediary they’re not sure they can trust. Others have worked with recruiters in the past who sent resumes without the candidate’s knowledge, or ghosted after an interview and wouldn’t return phone calls or emails. All of these are fair reasons to be careful about working with recruiters, but it doesn’t change the fact that working with a great recruiter can make your job search much easier.
Not sure how to tell bad recruiters from good ones? Here’s a guide to knowing the difference.
Great recruiters know about jobs that may not be posted online.
Companies that choose to work with a recruiting firm often don’t post their jobs online. Their goal is to avoid a flood of applications, and just interview candidates who are truly qualified for the role. That means that when you work with a recruiter, you’re getting access to opportunities that may otherwise fly under your radar.
Great recruiters have a direct line of communication with the hiring manager and/or other decision makers.
Job listings on boards like Careerbuilder or Craigslist often use a lot of words to say very little about the actual role the company is hiring for. That can make it difficult to know if you’re a good fit and should apply. When you work with a recruiter, however, there’s been at least one (but probably several) conversations and meetings with the hiring manager discussing what they’re looking for, why they’re looking and the overall context of the role in the organization—everything from the required skill set to the company culture the new person will be joining. If a question comes up that your recruiter can’t answer, they can check with the hiring manager and get back to you. That means you have way more information than you’d ever have if you were applying on your own, and can be more informed when deciding if you want your resume submitted.
Great recruiters filter jobs down to the ones that would be a good fit for you.
A great recruiter does not want to place you in any old job just to get their commission (despite what you’ll read on Reddit). Why not? Because they know that their long-term success is dependent on two things:
- Maintaining a positive relationship with the client—which means they need to place a strong candidate who does a stellar job, is a good fit with the company culture, and isn’t planning on hopping to another job in six months for a higher salary.
- Maintaining a positive relationship with the candidate—because a candidate who loves their new job not only stays long enough for the recruiter to get their commission, but also is much more likely to refer them to friends or colleagues who are planning a career move.
Because of this, a great recruiter will only present you with jobs that they truly think will be a fit. You won’t have to wade through hundreds of jobs to figure out which ones work for you—instead, you’ll have a small, tailored, selection so you can focus your time on choosing the one that’s best.
Great recruiters help you prep for your interviews.
Your recruiter isn’t going to role play in a practice interview, but he or she will definitely give you an idea of what to expect in terms of the type of information that matters to your interviewer, as well as how long the interview process will be and a timeline for when they’ll make a decision. Companies like Greythorn also provide resources like a mini refresher course on interviewing in case you haven’t done it in awhile. Additionally, your recruiter will give you feedback post-interview so you can continue to improve.
Great recruiters will negotiate the best compensation package—which can mean more than just a higher salary.
Recruiters know the salary range their client has in mind for a specific role (which is one of the main reasons they ask about your current salary—to avoid wasting your time if the salary range is too low). They’re aware of how much wiggle room there might be between the offer the client provides and how much more they would be able to afford should push come to shove. A great recruiter will work to get you top dollar—hey, it increases their commission!—but will also work to maximize the rest of your compensation package. That may include flexible hours or the option to work remotely, or perks like a gym membership or relocation assistance. As a job seeker, you would not be able to gauge how receptive a hiring manager would be to these requests, but your recruiter will know if the client had considered such requests before and how likely they’d be to do so again.
Lindsey Thorne, the manager of our Open Source & Big Data Practice, sums it up best.
“Why wouldn’t you want an agent negotiating on your behalf? The best athletes and entertainers of the world don’t negotiate their own deals; they let someone else do the leg work, get inside information, and then use that intel to make the best decision about their career.”
At the end of the day, we’re information brokers and if your recruiter is providing you with quality intel, capitalize on the opportunity to find someone better.
And that’s why you should use a recruiter in your job search.