Whether Corporate, Staffing Agency, Contingency, or Outplacement, if you are engaged in a job search, it is inevitable that at some point you will encounter a recruiter. Depending on your past experience, your general opinion about recruiters may be unpleasant if you subscribe to the notion that, “one apple spoils the whole bunch”. Cancel that subscription and get a good recruiter in your corner who delivers substantial advantages throughout the lifecycle of your career.
- Recruiters are the subject matter experts of the hiring process. I can confirm with absolute certainty, that the children’s game “Chutes and Ladders” provides a more direct path to success than the hiring process. There are countless steps before, during, and after the actual recruiting starts, multiple stakeholders are involved, and numerous internal and external factors can interrupt, suspend, or accelerate the process. Recruiters proficiently manage the ambiguity and smooth out the rough edges of the hiring process for everyone.
- Recruiters offer resume assistance. Your resume is the only part of your job search that you control 100%. Let’s be honest, all of us could use a little tweak here and there to increase our chances of landing interviews. Who better to help you craft a career focused resume that promotes your personal brand and highlights your achievements, qualifications, and experience than someone with the ability to scan a resume 6 seconds or less?
- Recruiters cultivate your interview skills. In most cases, a recruiter will be the first point of contact for each position of interest. They conduct the initial phone screen to fill in any blanks so they can provide the best endorsement to the hiring team on your behalf. They also prepare you for your interview by setting expectations and offering insight regarding the format and potential questions. After your interview recruiters debrief you and deliver feedback to help you improve and tighten up where needed.
- Recruiters can help you negotiate the most competitive offer. There are two predominant missteps I’ve witnessed when it comes to offer negotiations: 1) job seekers try to negotiate salary too early in the process and 2) job seekers only consider salary or hourly rate. During the initial phone screen, recruiters will confirm that your salary expectations fit within their range before advancing you. Unlike most job seekers, recruiters speak in terms of total compensation to convey the value of your health and welfare benefits, retirement plan matching, paid time off, relocation assistance, education assistance, bonuses and incentives, and other job perks.
- Recruiters help build your professional network. Networking with recruiters is one of the best ways to develop your professional network. They are natural relationship builders who connect you to hiring managers, other recruiters, and other professionals. The key is to maintain contact by touching base periodically, not just when you are on the job market.
- Recruiters can serve as allies in your career advancement. Once you’ve established and are actively maintaining relationships with recruiters they will help you at various points in your career. You can easily become one of the people kept in their mental “go-to” folder when relevant opportunities become available. You should strive for reciprocity in which they refer you to jobs and other recruiters and you refer them to job seekers and job seekers to them.
- Recruiters specialize in your industry or career path. Partnering with a recruiter who has extensive experience working with candidates in your desired field and/or industry benefits you. They will speak your language, be knowledgeable about industry trends, their years of experience have taught them the most effective way to engage with you, and they utilize strategies that attract the top talent and give them an advantage over their competition.
- Recruiters have access to positions that aren’t advertised. Not all positions will be posted. The reasons stem from confidentiality to availability. As such, the best recruiters take a strategic approach to staffing. They are proactive, forecasting future openings becomes second nature, and they don’t rely solely on a hiring manager to give them a job description before they start “recruiting”.
- Recruiters ensure you spend less time in limbo. One of the most annoying parts of a job search is waiting. You apply for a job and wait for a response. You’re selected for an interview and wait for schedules to align. You’re offered a position and wait for the letter in writing. You accept a position and wait for a start date…and the list goes on. You will be the most active and invested participant in your job search but recruiters bear some of the responsibility as well. A good recruiter sets a reasonable timeline, is responsive, keeps you informed, and won’t leave you hanging for extended periods.
- Recruiters want you to get hired. Nothing makes a recruiter happier than filling a position, even those who don’t receive a per hire bonus or placement fee. It is by far the best part of the job. A successful placement is a win for all parties involved, the organization, the candidate, and the recruiter.
Keirsten Greggs is Founder of TrapRecruiter.com, a blog that explores the humorous tales of recruiting and workforce development through the eyes of an experienced Human Resources professional. Keirsten is a Talent Acquisition Consultant, Career Coach, Diversity Advocate, Blogger and Professional Relationship Builder focused on bridging the gap between the job seeker and organizations committed to attracting, hiring, developing and retaining diverse talent. A certified Jersey Jawn and Bourgeois Hood Rat, she loves God, trap music, being churchy, graphic tees, code-switching, Starbucks, happy hour, anything fried, cob salad and bearded dudes.