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Should You Use a Recruiter?

Posted in: Career Development and Networking
Should You Use a Recruiter?

Q: Is there a place for a recruiter in your job search strategy?

A: A huge, underscored, emphatic YES

Recruiters should have a prominent place in anyone’s career decisions.

They are, after all, professional networkers whose job it is to make the “match” between company and candidate. They know the lay of the land and can provide insight on what is happening.

Recruiters often have relationships with people you want to know and they have the time and the incentive to keep their networks thriving. These are people who can help you get your foot in the door, ensure the hiring manager actually reviews your CV, and help you navigate the treacherous waters of phone and face-to-face interviews,they’ve been there before and watched the people who made it and can help you do the same!

However, your career is an extremely important and sensitive topic.

Would I advocate you turning this crucial transition exclusively to a recruiter or recruiters?

Absolutely not. You are in charge of your career. No one cares about your career as much as you do. Recruiters can help you, but you have to guide them.

When you seek out recruiters, ask colleagues and friends for referrals. When you speak with recruiters, ask lots of questions.

  • Don’t let them get away with giving you information that doesn’t make sense to you.
  • Don’t let them send your information to a company without you knowing the name of the company!

You have to stay in control of the process.

But,. given proper guidance, a recruiter can super-size your career search.

They can get people on the phone that you might not be able to reach, they can leverage long-standing relationships and explain why you are a fit instead of relying on a resume.

Recruiters can be a tremendous advocate for you as these people will work hours and hours, making dozens of calls on your behalf in addition to all of the work you are doing – and they will not charge you a dime*.

* Run the other way and do not stop running if a recruiter is trying to charge you money to help with your career search. This is not standard practice within the industry and, to me, it is a horrid practice that preys on people unfamiliar with the industry.

Recruiters are not just for the active job seeker – and this is important.

Consider the economic events of the past 12 months and think about the people who suddenly found themselves out of work. Those with the best networks – including recruiters – were able to put together a formidable job search while the pink slip was still in their hands.

Even when you are working, take calls from recruiters occasionally, return their calls and if you find one you really like, provide them an occasional lead,.they’ll love you for it!

Three quick tips on choosing a recruiter:

  1. Reputation
  2. Specialization
  3. Gut Check (do you like them?).

In the end, these folks are there to help and most of them are genuine and helpful (those that aren’t,stop talking to them and go find someone else who you trust).

Have you had dealings, positive or negative, with recruiters? Let us know about them in the comments section.

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  1. Travis on June 22, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Hi Suzanne,

    It absolutely depends on the company and the position. As a general answer, i would say that firms use multiple recruiters and that people should work with multiple recruiters. Every firm has different relationships with different firms and you want as many people working on your behalf as possible. I think it’s a great topic for a separate blog where we can discuss it in detail!


  2. Suzanne on June 19, 2009 at 4:59 am

    Hi Travis,
    Do most biotech companies use only one outside recruiter for filling positions or will recruiters be competing to fill the same vacancies for a company? Is it a good idea to get your resume or CV into as many recruiters hands as you can or can one recruiter help you get into some of the big companies that seem impossible to get into- if they are not contracted to be the “official” recruiter for that company?
    Maybe this should be a separate blog??

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