Jobseeker Advice for Working with Agency Recruiters

Jobseeker Advice for Working with Agency Recruiters


Finding a new job is all about making contacts and letting people know that you are looking for a new job or changing careers. There are many strategies to consider. Needless to say, you should always keep your resume and online profiles up to date. Working with agency recruiters in your job search can also be a valuable partnership. Recruiters can be a good resource as they have access to connections and hiring managers individuals often can’t reach, so you should consider pursuing this avenue of search. But remember that this is a business transaction, and you want to work only with someone who you completely trust to represent you to a potential employer.

There are some important things you need to understand about how recruiters work.


Recruiters are salespeople hired by companies to find candidates who meet the organizations hiring needs. They are paid for by the client company; they don’t work for you. Nor are they job counselors or career advisers, although they occasionally make suggestions for resume improvement or how to behave in a job interview. Recruiters are classified as either contingent or retained. Contingent means they get paid if they find the candidate their client hires. If they are retained, they are paid a set fee to conduct a search for a particular candidate with specific skills sets. Most recruiters specialize in a specific industry and only look for specific types of candidates. For example, a recruiter may be a general IT recruiter looking for candidates to fill all technical positions, or a specialized IT recruiter focusing only a smaller subset of IT such as JAVA developers or web designers.


  • Research recruiters who specializes in your field or niche, as their connections will be much more meaningful and strategic to your industry, and they will also know how to position your qualifications. Ask your friends about the best recruiters for your industry or use social networking sites like LinkedIn. Recruiters on LinkedIn might have recommendations you can read from satisfied job candidates.
  • Ask what clients they work with and how many candidates they have placed with these clients. What is their retention rate?
  • Ask how they see the job market for your industry and in the local area.
  • Ask about their policy on sending out unsolicited resumes to companies (you want an agency to call you every time before they consider sending your resume to a client company).
  • Ask about their process for interviewing and selecting candidates to present to clients.
  • Establish a relationship with two or three recruiters you trust and are comfortable with. Share with them what you want your next position to be, positions for which you have qualifications, companies in which you have contacts or have already started the application process. The recruiter needs to know everything about you.
  • Give feedback to the recruiter. For example if the recruiter calls with an inappropriate position, help them to understand why this is not a good fit for you.

The point is to keep the control in your own hands and be aware of who has ownership of your information. This also means being selective about what recruiters you choose to have a relationship with.


Image credit: babi krishna of Flickr


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