For many industries using a recruiter is a must. Knowing and understanding the benefits and downsides of recruiters is key to using them effectively. This post will go through many of the upsides and downsides of recruiters and how you should think about them when it comes to finding your next job.
Note that using recruiters should never be the only tool that you use to get your next job. The fact is that there are many ways to get your next job and you should be using all available avenues when you are job hunting.
You’re going to have the most luck with recruiters if:
- You have a good resume and background (e.g. if you are looking to leave Investment Banking)
- The job you are going to is relatively high paying (this is what gets recruiters excited)
- The job you are going for is only really advertised through recruiters (this is why you are using recruiters in the first place)
So what are the advantages of using a recruiter?
There are some major advantages to using a recruiter. They include:
- Being able to find jobs that are not advertised more widely
- Some employers will not advertise that they have jobs available
- They are often employers that don’t have the time or resources to spend sifting through the thousands of resumes they may receive or they may simply be using the recruiter as a screening tool
- Some employers also only want a very specific application and they will give the recruiter very specific instructions for what they are looking for…it saves them having to do this themselves
- Private Equity is on industry that tends to use recruiters quite heavily in this way
- Recruiters will know what employers want your particular skill set
- Where you are willing to do quite a wide variety of things a recruiter will often know what sort of employers you would appeal to and will probably be upfront with you if you don’t have what it takes to get the job you are looking for
- Recruiters will get you past the initial screening process
- If a recruiter likes you and your story they will often get you past the initial screening process
- When you are applying for jobs often the hardest part is getting onto the maybe pile from the huge list of applicants
- A friendly recruiter can get you onto every maybe pile
Before you get out there and sign up every single recruiter you can find you should know that there are also several downsides of using recruiters.
What should you watch out for when using recruiters?
The downsides to using recruiters are very real and you need to know, understand and appreciate them before you put your name out there. I have listed some of the bigger ones below:
- Recruiters are not interested in finding you the best job for you
- Recruiters get paid when they place you in a job so they are interested in getting you in to the first position that you are likely to accept
- What does this mean for you? Well it means that they are going to tell you that you have little chance of getting that more challenging position (because it means you are less willing to accept an easy to place position if you think you can) and they are going to pushing all sorts of inappropriate positions for you
- Both of these happened to me…I wanted a very specific job and I was told that I just didn’t have the skills and resume to get that job…until I did
- They do not work for you
- As much as recruiters make it look like they are trying to do what is best for you the fact is that they do not work for you
- Don’t forget who pays the recruiter – it is not you. This means your interests are secondary to your new employer
- They will shop you around…even when you don’t want to be
- The fact of recruiting is that your name will get out there as someone who is looking for a job
- You never want that fact to get back to your current employer who is naturally your backup plan if you don’t end up getting a position you are looking for
- Because recruiters want to get you placed they will often pass your resume onto firms that you never knew about in the hope of coming to you and saying “these guys are interested in you…you should take a look”
- You HAVE to be clear with a recruiter that you do not want your name to be shopped and only passed onto employers that you approve of
- This is one of the reasons you should never put your name down with too many recruiters
- NO single recruiter has all the positions in the market available
- The hard thing about using recruiters is you don’t want to be using too many because otherwise your name will be over-shopped…however no single recruiter is going to be able to see every single position
- And instead of saying to you “we don’t have any of those positions available” what they normally say is “there are no jobs in the market like that at the moment”
- You could be missing out on a great spot because you don’t know about it
So how do you use recruiters?
I’ve put you in a bind haven’t I? You need to use recruiters to get a job but they aren’t working in your interests. Luckily if you adhere to a few rules you will make the experience much more pleasant and successful:
- Never rely completely on recruiters – the fact is that some jobs just don’t go through recruiters so keep your options
- Be very clear with what you want – ignore recruiters when they say that you are not qualified for that position (unless you get this message from several recruiters in which case you need to look at what you want to do and see whether they have a point)
- Work out which recruiters are good for your field – recruiters tend to specialise. You can work out which recruiters tend to have which jobs by speaking to people that have recruited before or by asking them directly. Don’t ask them whether they have jobs in x,y,z field. Ask them a more general question about where they specialise and see what they say
- Don’t use too many recruiters – the fact is that you don’t want the fact that you are recruiting to get back to your employer so keep the fact that you are job hunting as quiet as possible
- Never get pressured into a job you don’t want – look this is your career. You need to be happy with the job you are going to. Not satisfied…happy!
Do you have more questions about using recruiters? Post them below in the comments section and I’ll get back to you. Alternatively you can shoot me an email or message on Twitter (@BankersPitch)