Recruiters, Search Consultants, and Headhunters
If you are considering a career move, a resource you may wish to consider is a recruiter. Recruiters, sometimes referred to as head-hunters or search consultants, are independent consultants who are engaged by client companies to locate qualified candidates for professional positions within the client company. They do not charge a fee to the job seeker. Fees are paid by their client company.
Recruiting or search agencies are not the same as Employment Agencies or Career Counselors or Outplacement Agencies. Employment Agencies assist candidates in finding a new job and may charge the candidate for their services. Career Counselors are engaged by job seekers to prepare for and conduct a job search. Their services may include skills assessment or personality testing, and career guidance counseling. Fees for their services are paid by the job-seeker. Outplacement Agencies work with displaced employees to hone their job-seeking skills, and they typically provide temporary office space and clerical support to assist the employee in locating a new position. Their fees are usually paid by employee's former employer. Recruiters differ from these types of employment-related groups in that they are engaged by an employer to search for qualified candidates and represent the interests of the employer in filling an open position.
Companies like to avoid paying fees, so Recruiters are not engaged to fill all open positions in the company. A Recruiter might be used to locate highly specialized and experienced candidates, or to quietly conduct a search for an employee without advertising the position publicly. Recruiters generally cannot help candidates that are entry-level, or those changing fields, or those that are seeking entrepreneurial situations. However, this should not discourage a job seeker from sending a résumé to a recruiter. If your background happens to fit a job order specification for a current, unadvertised search assignment, you might receive what is essentially a free placement service. However, once sent, do not expect a recruiter to telephone you to acknowledge your résumé or to discuss a career path with you. Successful recruiters receive hundreds of résumés daily. While most resumes do not fit the requirements of the current job order, they may be useful to us on a future opening. Those that might be a good fit are usually telephoned very quickly. Those that are not a good fit are entered into the recuiter's database for future matching.
There are three types of recruiters, retained and contingent or corporate.
Retained recruiters usually have an exclusive arrangement with the employer. They receive fees for their search at the beginning of a search assignment and continue to submit candidates until the employer fills the position or calls off the search. Retained recruiters are usually used for senior level positions.
Contingent recruiters work on assignments without retainer fees. They receive payment from the employer only if a candidate they present to the employer is subsequently hired. Contingency recruiters normally work in the middle management, professional and technical ranges.
Corporate recruiters are employees of the corporation. They may be assigned to search for all staff openings or they may be assigned specific areas of responsibility - e.g. technical, professional, hourly, clerical, etc. They usually work under the direction of the Human Resources department though many companies are now having "Staffing Specialists" assigned to critical departments such as Information Systems, engineering, etc. Corporate recruiters often engage the services of a third party recruiter to locate qualified candidates, so it often happens that a candidate is initially contacted by a third party recruiter, then interviewed or screened by the Corporate recruiter.
If you are considering sending your résumé to more than one recruiter, your résumé might be submitted to the same employer by competing recruitment agencies. To avoid potential problems, you should advise each recruiter that you are working with other search firms and you should disclose the names of employers to which you have already been presented. If your background appears to match a current search assignment, a Recruiter will usually discuss the position with you and disclose the name of the company to you before he or she presents you to the employer. You might have been discouraged from submitting your résumé to more than one recruiter out of concern that you might lose an offer because competing recruiters have referred you to the same company. Duplicate referrals can occur, but the client company and the agencies will work out a fee arrangement satisfactory to everyone.
Some Career Counselors advocate widely broadcasting your résumé to many Recruiters, while others will tell you to take a more focused approach, using Recruiters selectively. There are points to be made in both approaches. Most recruiters are specialized. That is, they work in specific narrow areas of interest. One might argue that it makes little sense to send your résumé to a recruiter specializing in sales people if you are a manufacturing Engineer looking for a position as plant Operations Manager. However, the recruiter who received your résumé might also be affiliated with, or knows another recruiter who specializes in your area of interest. Collaborative efforts between recruiters is very common. On the other hand, sending out your résumé to all recruiters without regard to their area of specialty or demographic market is very inefficient and costly.
Regardless of the type of recruiter, here are some guidelines for working with recruiters:
If you are considering selectively targeting a Recruiter or multiple Recruiters, you-should familiarize yourself with a few resources available to assist you in selecting the Recruiters.
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