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Employed for Life – Chapter 6 Excerpt: Recruiters 101

Following is an excerpt from excerpt from "Employed for Life", by Tracey Wilen and Dr. Courtney L Vien with Gary Daugenti

What You Need to Know to Make Recruiters Part of Your Career Strategy

Technology has dramatically changed the way that companies hire and individuals conduct their job searches. Innovations in job search tools such as social networking sites, job search engines, resume and cover letter software, and online skill assessment tools have expanded the options that job seekers have to pursue openings. The technologies employers use to find candidates have evolved as well. Applicant tracking systems, online screening tools, digital testing, and sophisticated background checking services all help employers target the best talent.

And yet finding the right person for a high level job is still an extremely complex job—all the more so today, when companies can source talent from across the country and around the world. Plus, there are some intangible aspects of the talent search process that computers just can’t handle. This is where recruiters
come in.

Most job seekers know all about networking, searching for open positions online, and posting their resumes to job boards. But there’s one way of finding a job that’s still a mystery to many: working with a recruiter. Many people don’t know how or whether to contact recruiters, or what to do if a recruiter gets in touch with them. Others approach recruiters the wrong way, which hurts their chances of finding a job through a recruiter.

To successfully work with recruiters, it helps to know a little bit about what their goals are and how they function. Below, I’ll explain how recruiters assess candidates, what to do if one contacts you, some best practices for working with recruiters, and some key mistakes to avoid.

Understanding Recruiters

Just as professional sports teams want to draft the best athletes, companies want to hire the best available talent. When they’re serious about hiring the top employees in their industry, companies turn to recruiters.

There are three types of recruiters: agency recruiters, corporate recruiters, and contract recruiters. If a recruiter contacts you, it’s fine to ask him what type of recruiter he is.

Agency recruiters, the type of recruiter most people are familiar with, are third party vendors hired by employers. There are three subcategories of agency recruiters: contingency, temp/temp-to-perm, and retained.

Contingency recruiters are only paid upon successful hires. Their fee is typically 20% to 33% of a new hire’s starting base salary or total compensation. Though that fee sounds substantial, contingency recruiters need to charge this much to stay in business, as the contingency search field is competitive and low-yield. Contingency recruiters are competing against other search firms and employers’ own hiring efforts, and if employers decide not to fill a position or to put it on hold, they lose opportunities for income.

Therefore, contingency recruiters’ time is precious. Every minute of their day is spent trying to make placements. That’s why they may not call you back to let you know they received your resume. But rest assured if your background is a fit for one of their searches they will contact you, as it’s money in their pocket if you get hired.

Temp and temp-to-perm recruiters work very much like contingency recruiters, but hire for temporary positions or positions where an employer would like to test someone out before permanently hiring him or her.

Retained recruiters search mainly for senior management positions or for positions requiring niche skill sets. Clients also use them for critical hires and confidential searches, and when they need to hire someone quickly. Like contingency recruiters, they’re paid a percentage of a new hire’s base salary or total compensation, plus travel expenses. Typically, they are paid one-third of their total fee up front, one-third upon reaching an agreed-upon benchmark, and the final third upon successful hire.

Corporate or in-house recruiters work directly for hiring employers. Companies with large HR departments sometimes have corporate recruiters on staff. They perform the same work as contingency recruiters, but exclusively for one company.

Contract recruiters function like corporate recruiters, but are hired on a short or long-term contract basis to fill permanent, temporary, or temp-to-perm positions. Companies use contract recruiters if they have a short-term spike in hiring or if they are short-staffed because someone left. Some recruiting agencies also hire contract recruiters.

Want a Recruiter to Find You? Don’t Leave Your Job

Recruiters target passive candidates—people who aren’t looking for work. Employers prefer to hire currently employed high performers. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma attached to candidates who are unemployed. For that reason, it’s a mistake to quit your job just because you hate it. It’s far better, in my opinion, to stick it out and seek your next job while you’re still employed. Otherwise, you can add months to your job search.

Active candidates are people who are aggressively seeking new jobs. Sometimes they’re unemployed; other times they sense bad times ahead for their companies and are looking to jump ship. Some employers can be more reluctant to hire overly active candidates because they fear an active candidate will take a job out of necessity, and that he’ll leave once he finds more appealing work elsewhere.

Check back for more chapter excerpts -- or, buy this book on out Tracey's Career videos

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