Early in my career, I got a phone call from a corporate recruiter wanting to talk to me about a potential job opportunity. The call was well-timed. I was ready to move on to the next phase of my career, and the recruiter proved helpful in navigating the waters. He gave me a detailed overview of the position and the company. He helped me set-up the interviews and gave me some background on the hiring manager.
Then as the interview process continued, he served as the liaison between myself and HR. He dealt with my salary negotiations and even a relocation package. He did everything without costing me a dime. The company was paying his fee, but it was in his best interest to make the job offer match my requirements. When this scenario happens, recruiters can be a valuable resource. They not only have access to jobs which companies are eagerly working to fill. But they have an incentive to find candidates who they can guide through the process.
What is a Job Recruiter?
In a nutshell, a job recruiter or corporate recruiter is a consultant who tries to match candidates to specific job openings. Usually, headhunters are specialists in certain fields. They specialize in marketing, software development, accounting, and others. Some are industry experts like healthcare, financial services, or energy. A job recruiter's goal is to expand their network of potential candidates in their focus areas so that when job opportunities come along, they have a database of candidates. They can then screen these candidates for a specific position and if there's a good match, forward that candidate directly to the hiring manager. This can save a great deal of time and frustration for the job seeker by getting their information directly in front of the right person.
Some headhunters are also for hire and will work on your behalf to find jobs. This is often a service used by highly paid, senior executives. Most of them are looking for their next large opportunities. There might be a flat fee for the service. More likely, it’s a percentage of the agreed compensation package once you found a job match.
Services Offered by a Job Recruiter
Have you been thinking about leaving your corporate job? A job recruiter doesn't only match candidates to job openings. They help candidates write resumes, cover letters, and improve LinkedIn profiles to raise visibility and increase the chance potential employers will notice a candidate. They usually charge a fee for these services and this extra income source fills the gaps between placing candidates. It also leverages the knowledge of the job recruiter. The task is highly dependent on their experience. You're likely to get very different advice from different recruiters. I’ve noticed that resume writing services have become a stronger focus for many recruiters and they push these extra services aggressively.
What to Expect
For me, one of the misconceptions of a job recruiter is that they have a genuine interest in getting to know you. A job recruiter's goal is to match existing job openings with suitable candidates. If you’re not a match for openings they currently have, it might be difficult to even get a phone call or email returned. It's not a surprise that many recruiters I’ve reached out to over the years have ignored me. Despite their seeming indifference, many of these same recruiters will be active on social networks. They tell job seekers to reach out and announce having opportunities in certain industries or for certain positions. But in my experience, their goal is simply to collect resumes for their database. If you’re not a fit for something they’re currently working on, they have no interest in engaging in a conversation.
I guess, in some ways it makes sense. There are only so many hours in the day. Calling job seekers to hear about their career search might not be the best use of their time. But they often want to at least sell extra services like resume reviews and profile updates. So to me, it’s just bad business to ignore potential customers, but it seems to happen all the time.
When you do hear from a job recruiter, they are likely to act like your best buddy. They’ll be attentive, call you back with updates, and track your progress. After all, they don’t get paid until you get the job, so expect them to be engaged. Something may happen in the interview process, or the company may decide you’re not the right fit. Don’t be surprised if your best buddy ghosts you and suddenly goes quiet. Often times, they don’t even share helpful feedback if they’ve received it, which is frustrating. They don’t like being the bearers of bad news or having to justify the reasons why the company decided not to proceed.
Recruiters can be a valuable resource to job seekers, just know the caveats.
Job recruiters can definitely be helpful resources. They keep a watchful eye on their industry or areas of focus. Sometimes they have access to jobs that might not show up in more public forums. And even if they don’t reply, your resume is getting filed away for future reference. Someday, you might get a call out of the blue, but don’t expect recruiters to be career coaches unless you’re willing to sign-up for costly add-on services. The value of those services is subjective, but if you feel your resume isn’t getting noticed, they might be worthwhile.