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RECRUITERS: Business Superheroes?

Microsoft clipart
Microsoft clipart
Microsoft clipart

Most of us have grown familiar with the saturation of today’s Superhero movies, how that in them unwitting citizens become victimized by the madcap schemes of the evil villain of the story. Typically, just when the citizens are about to be subjected to some unspeakable evil, the Superhero swoops in, literally, to rescue them and save the day. That’s what they do, those prescient guardians!


One of the chief complaints that I tend to receive from well-intentioned but misguided job-seekers is that they are disappointed because their Recruiter “hasn’t done anything” for them.

“What was your expectation?” I typically ask.

“To get me a job,” is the usual response. Therein lies the problem. The purpose of a Recruiter is not to swoop in and rescue you from the job loss villain. That’s not his or her job.

To get a better understanding of the role of a Recruiter, it's important to know the basics of the recruiting process. Recruitment refers to the overall process of attracting, selecting and hiring suitable candidates for positions within companies. Sourcing is the use of one or more strategies to attract or identify those candidates, and includes internal/external advertising and selective media such as newspapers, career fairs, posting websites, and social media. A Recruiter is the person who is tasked with filtering candidates according to the requirements of the client company and typically performs the initial screening and arranging of interviews with the company.

There are four general categories of Recruiters:

Internal / In-House / Corporate Recruiter. Employed by and sources employees for the company they work for. Is paid a salary and benefits like any other employee.

Contingency Recruiter. Works on a contingency basis for the client company, paid only if their candidate is selected by the company.

Retained Recruiter. Client company pays an upfront retainer fee. This type of Recruiter more typically sources senior-level, harder-to-find candidates. Also referred to as Executive Recruiter.

Staffing Agency (Temporary/Contract) Recruiter. Hires temporary employees for a client company. Candidate is employee of staffing company, not the client company.

Whereas the payoff for job-seekers is that working with a Recruiter can help you to reach companies, the primary objective of the Recruiter is to "fill a position" vs. "find you a job." <---This is not the same thing. Do not put the Recruiter in the driver's seat of your job search.

There is certainly value to working with a Recruiter, especially if you’ve taken the time to select one who specializes in your industry or has a recruiting record with your targeted company. Having established who is navigating the ship on this journey towards your next job—you—let’s now establish some ground rules to help if you decide to work with a Recruiter:

Be selective. Select a Recruiter who specializes in your industry. Ask exploratory questions about the Recruiter’s experience and success rate. The recommendation by a colleague is a great place to start.

Be well-prepared for the initial meeting. Treat the Recruiter with the same courtesy as an Employer, including your attire. Focus on establishing a positive working relationship.

Know (and be clear about) what you are looking for. This includes knowing the types of roles you are qualified for (job titles) and your target company criteria.

Be realistic about salary requirements. Know your value ( is a good resource) and the market. Convey your anticipated salary range (not necessarily your salary history) with clarity: “Given that I have [x] number of years experience, and I’ve [your major ‘selling’ point], I’m expecting a base salary range of $X to $X.”

Request that modifications to and circulation of your resume be discussed with you first.

Don’t forget to send a thank you note after the initial meeting. An email is acceptable.

You are fortunate indeed to have the alliance of a competent Recruiter. Recruiters are Business Partners in the job search, aligning with you to connect you with decision-makers and expand your options. Getting the job itself is totally up to you.

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