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The Inside Scoop About Recruiters - Debunking the Top Five Myths

Why do some people swear by recruiters and other people simply swear when it comes to recruiters?  It’s because the people who swear by recruiters as the best resource in their job hunt know how they work and even more importantly, know how to work with them.  The others may only believe the myths of recruiters:

Myth #1:  My recruiter works for me to find me a job

Reality:  A recruiter’s job is to fill a position for their client (the company), not to find a job for each specific candidate who comes across the desk.  But here is where it gets confusing.  A recruiter WILL present a candidate to a client even if the client has not listed an open position, if he or she feels that the client would be interested in hearing about that particular candidate’s skills and background. This is called “marketing a candidate”. They do this because some companies are always on the lookout for top talent and sometimes even create positions for exemplary candidates. 

How Can I Take Advantage of This? 

Work with your recruiter to come up with a strategy for where you want to be marketed. Help the recruiter create a selling profile to highlight those things in your background that companies are specifically seeking.  It’s different from a resume.  A selling profile is a short document that will peak the interest of the hiring manager to read the details of your career progression in your resume.  This profile, along with a list of companies you would like to work for, will give the recruiter the tools he or she needs to present you to companies to get you seen.

Myth #2:  Recruiters are Resume/Career Counselors

Reality: A recruiter’s job is to be a networker; to broaden their reach so they can find the right person for each job.  They network to find clients who would be interested in hiring the types of candidate in their network and they reach out to contact candidates who would be a good fit for those clients.  If a recruiter spent a lot of their time working on resumes, they wouldn’t be doing what they are supposed to be doing – making connections and getting candidates seen.

What does this mean for me? 

There are many professional resume writers out there who can help.  While a recruiter may offer some advice on how to customize your resume for a particular client, engage a professional resume writer before you approach a recruiter.  If you would prefer, enlist a few friends with writing skills to review your resume.  Use people inside and outside the industry.  The insiders will understand the lingo, but the outsiders will help you make sure your resume is clear to everyone who reads it.

Myth #3:  If I’m changing careers, a recruiter is the perfect person to help me.

Reality:  When a client engages a recruiter to find a new member for their team, they give very specific guidelines as to what they are looking for in that person’s skillset.  While it is true that a recruiter can use his/her influence as a trusted advisor to encourage a client to see someone that may not have 100% of the of their specifications, it is unlikely that a client is willing to pay a fee for someone who is changing industries and does not fit the qualifications.  If they are going to pay a fee, they want someone who fits their wish list.

What does this mean for me? If you are looking to change industries, networking is your best bet. Business networking sites like LinkedIn are a good place to start.  There are also many niche industry networking sites that can provide access to industry insiders who can help you during your transition.  Take classes and volunteer in your desired industry.  Join the industry associations and take part in their events.  Being around people in the industry is the best way to step through the door when it opens.

Myth #4:  A recruiter’s commission comes out of my salary

Reality: A recruiter is paid a fee by the hiring company that is entirely separate from your salary.  The two are related in that the salary amount is used to calculate the amount of the fee, which is based on a percentage of the first year’s total compensation.  Candidates do not pay a recruiter’s fee.

What does this mean for me?  Even though recruiters technically work for the hiring company, they negotiate the compensation and job specifics for the benefit of both parties.  It’s important that the client and the candidate are part of a win-win situation.  Recruiters want successful, long-term placements that can lead to future referrals and even placed candidates who grow into hiring managers who turn to them to recruit for their team.

Myth #5:  Recruiters are being replaced by job boards and social networking sites

Reality: Recruiters play a different role in the recruitment world than job boards and networking sites.  Job boards are like billboards on a highway, and social networking sites are like a gathering of friends and colleagues who you already know as well as  some of their friends.  Recruiters are like the one person who knows everyone and is your go to person for information and contacts.

Recruiters sometimes use job boards and social networking sites to widen their reach, but fundamentally recruiters network the good old-fashioned way.  They build trust with clients through successful placements and good advice and therefore have the client’s ear to get strong candidates seen.  It’s hard to get noticed in this world of job boards where thousands of resumes are submitted for a single position. 

What does this mean for me?
Some people definitely get jobs through the job boards, or they wouldn’t exist.  But if you are working with a recruiter, sometimes being on the job boards can muddy the waters of your job search.   

Here is a common scenario:  A candidate posts his resume on a job board / or submits the resume to a number of positions in their industry via job boards.  At the same time, the candidate starts working with a recruiter, who knows people at the company where the candidate wants to work.  The recruiter thinks it’s a good match, so she presents the candidate and gets him an interview.  When it comes down to the final decision and all the paperwork goes to HR, the resume is discovered to already be in the company’s database. Because the source of the resume is unclear, there is a strong possibility that he would no longer be considered for the position in favor of a candidate with a more straight forward source. 

The bottom line is, be very clear with your recruiter where you have submitted your resume and where you have already interviewed. They can be more productive in matching you with a position if they know the full situation.  They may technically work for the company, but they are also YOUR partner in the process.
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