Every line of work has bad apples. The recruiting industry may have more than others. It’s an easy field to get into. When big recruiting firms get the green light from corporate, they hire as many as they can, give them a desk and a phone and hope a few work out. That’s how I got my start. While it is easy to get in, it’s tough to stay. Remember that next time you talk to a recruiter or check out the LinkedIn profile of the last recruiter that contacted you. How long have they been with current firm? How long were they with previous firm?
But there are good recruiters! Experienced, well intentioned, honest, hard working recruiters. And there are significant advantages to keeping in touch with one. Here are the top 5:
- Access to Opportunities: This advantage is multi faceted. First and foremost, talented people are employed and busy, not surfing job boards on a regular basis. Second, we work on a lot of positions that don’t hit job boards. Some do but not all. Why not network with someone who’s main goal is to simply let you know when opportunities develop? Who wouldn’t want occasional emails highlighting a new opportunity? Even if you don’t pursue a specific role, you’re staying informed on the local market, the type of positions you seem to be qualified for, your market value since most positions being sent to you are probably falling in a similar pay range, etc.
- Information & Preparation: Who’s the hiring manager, what are they like, what type of people have thrived at this organization, what’s their interview style, why is the position open. People that work with us have a lot of information before their first connection with the actual company. In addition, we invest a lot of time into interview preparation. When working with an experienced recruiter you should feel better prepared and more comfortable heading into an interview. This can be a big advantage.
- Counsel: Some of you will be skeptical of this one. Our fees are paid by companies when they hire someone from us. So we must only have the company’s best interest in mind, right? Wrong. Well, we do, but not at the expense of the candidate. Reputation is everything in our business. Trying to convince someone to take a job that isn’t a fit for them or the company is bad business. If you make too many bad placements you stop getting referrals and repeat business goes away. It sounds cliché but a deal must be a win-win. Additionally, when you’ve been recruiting for years, no single deal is worth sacrificing the focus on a win-win solution. Now that “intent” is cleared up we can focus on knowledge and counsel. A good, experienced recruiter has been part of hundreds of ‘placements’. We see great career moves, bad career moves, what a specific decision will set someone up for in 5 years, what a decision might limit them to in 5 years. Pros, cons, risks. Career management is incredibly important and it’s something we work with and talk about daily.
- Negotiating: A recruiter can be helpful at the negotiation stage for a variety of reasons. First, for most people it’s easier to have a candid conversation with the recruiter versus having these tricky conversations directly with your potential new employer. Second, the recruiter should have more information than you, especially if it’s a client they’ve done business with before. What is the real salary range, do they come strong and leave no room for negotiation or come in soft allowing for wiggle room, how and when to ask for more, knowing when you’ve pushed enough. Third, a good recruiter is discussing salary throughout the process with both the candidate and the company. It doesn’t guarantee a favorable outcome but it significantly increases the odds. I mentioned a recruiter being part of hundreds of placements. That’s a lot of offers and negotiations.
- It’s free. Combine the first four reasons with the fact that it’s free, it’s really a no brainer. Finding a good one that you click with might take effort and building that relationship can take some time. But you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
No industry is perfect and placements don’t work out 100% of the time. But they work out a lot of the time. (Note to self: research these numbers). In addition to the vast majority of them working out, many of the success stories are awesome. People that have earned multiple promotions after placement. Some who have doubled their income much sooner than they would have staying put. Others that get to spend more time with their family because their commute and hours are both reduced.
Next time you get a LinkedIn message from a recruiter, remember there are a few good ones out there!
Now that we’ve covered the Top 5 Advantages, I am willing to open up the floor to have a little fun with this. Have you had a bad experience with a recruiter? Or a pet peeve? Please share!