Are job recruiters helpful?
September 19, 2012 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a job and trying to figure the role and value of recruiters. Do i find one and talk with them about what sort of job I'm after? How do you find a good one?
posted by boombot to Work & Money (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When I got my job 6 years ago, it was the recruiter that contacted me through my posting on Monster. I have no doubt that I got lucky.

I think it depends on your qualifications and what kind of field you are wanting to work in.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:12 AM on September 19, 2012

Most recruiters make money by placing you in a job and then they get a percentage based on your salary. They are salespeople. So if you are a highly desirable candidate with in demand skills they can be useful. However, if you are already that qualified you don't really need them. They may know of an opportunity that you would have missed, but odds are you'd find a job fairly quickly on your own anyway.

If you are not a highly desirable candidate or are looking to break into a new industry with limited relevant skills - recruiters won't help you. Remember, they make money by placing you in a job. If that is going to be difficult, they are not going to spend any time on you.

So like most things in life, the less you need a recruiter, the more likely they are to be useful in your job search.
posted by COD at 6:30 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was hired through a recruiter at my current job, and from my experience -- there are definitely companies out there that only hire through recruiters. This is for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it takes the lengthy process of finding candidates out of the hands of corporate recruiting. In our case, our recruiting department focuses more on the marketing, HR, accounting jobs while I.T. takes care of itself through a third-party recruiter.

I would not discount recruiters. They can be invaluable in helping you find a job if you are laid off, and they constantly update you on the job market in your area when you are placed already in a job. Furthermore, they offer referral bonuses if you can help them place someone else. In my opinion, the only minor annoyance in using them is that they are constantly asking for your help, but in many cases -- you can get a free lunch out of the deal and figure out who is hiring in your area.
posted by MMALR at 6:45 AM on September 19, 2012

Good recruiters have a lot of connections and salary experience. That's where the value is.
posted by devnull at 7:31 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I work in recruiting for a specialised field. I am not a recruiter. I did not use a recruiter to get the job I am in now but I have used one in the past.

My experience (both sides of the table) is that recruiters are able to help most people, regardless of level or skillset, if they are a good recruiter. A good way to determine whether a recruiter or company is worthwhile is whether they can produce valid referrals, recommendations, or you've heard "word of mouth" about them. If you haven't, they should be able to provide you with some sense of what their placements look like. Recruiters often know about positions that are posted internally, are not on the web, are opportunistic hires, are specially created roles for good people, are solely farmed out to recruiting agencies. A recruiter can negotiate your compensation package on your behalf to your benefit and should be able to tell you what true market value is as well as whether position A is a better career move, cultural fit, or whatever it is that you are looking for, than positon B.

In short, a good recruiter can be worth his/her weight in gold, in my opinion. But I think the best way to assess the potential value of using one is to talk to one. Send a few exploratory emails, make a few phone calls -- you can find many recruiters or agencies via social media or via career-based fora.

Hope that helped.
posted by sm1tten at 8:21 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've used recruiters in the past and I use a few now. A good recruiter is the one that gets you the interview.

However, some do lots more work than others. A good one will give lots of insight into the company, culture, project(s) and the hiring manager because they have a relationship with that company/person. They can prep you for the interview, work with you to customize a resume or summary of your skills/knowledge so as to better sell you. Many are exclusive in that they are the only firm submitting candidates and the jobs are often not publicly posted.

Most recruiters are just factories, companies work with them to do screening so that they don't have to. They give you the job description and minimal guidance. However, than can often get you the interview and rest is up to you. They're a gatekeeper you have to work with.

I would never limit myself to one firm unless my skills were highly specialized and the firm was highly specialized. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity with company A because your recruiter has a relationship with company B. Also, don't leave all your job search efforts in the hands of a recruiter.
posted by shoesietart at 9:53 AM on September 19, 2012

I've used recruiters as well. As shoesietart suggests, there is no reason to limit yourself to a single recruiter. There is no implication that the client relationship is in any way exclusive.

One benefit I've gotten out of some recruiters is that they know what works in terms of buzzwords, etc., on resumes, and also how to handle potential resume issues such as employment gaps, etc. I'm not sure all recruiters take the time to do this, but if a recruiter takes an interest, they may offer this kind of advice.
posted by Doohickie at 12:33 PM on September 19, 2012

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