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Understanding Recruiters: They Stand Between You And Your Future Job

If you are looking for a new job, chances are high that you will need to meet with a recruiter or two during your job search.  It is important to understand what their role is so that you start off with the appropriate expectations.  

Don't be disheartened by something a recruiter says to you!  Their job is NOT to be your friend, your coach or your advocate.  Their job, the job they are paid to do, is to put a person into a position that the company is going to consider to be the exact right fit for that job.  It is a tough fact to realise that it doesn't matter how badly you need the work, or how great you think you'd be in the job, they aren't working for you. The recruiter is doing their job….and that is to do their best for the company is paying them.  

What Recruiters Do

Recruiters may work within an organization's human resources department typically or on an outsourced basis. Most recruiters tend to specialize in permanent, full-time, direct-hire positions or contract positions, but occasionally in both. The recruiters responsibility is to filter candidates as per the requirements of each client/company which they represent.

Types of Recruiters

An Internal recruiter, or corporate recruiter, is employed by the company or organization for which they are hiring, and they typically work in the human resources HR department. In the past this was known as the Personnel Office or just Personnel. Contract recruiters tend to move around between multiple companies, working at each one for a short stint as needed for specific hiring purposes. Retained recruiters work for the organizations who are their clients, not for job candidates seeking employment.  

Employment agencies

A third party recruiter or an employment agency acts as an independent contact between its client companies and the candidates it recruits for a position. These firms or individuals specialize in client relationships and finding candidates, with minimal or no focus on other HR tasks. Legitimate search firms are always paid by their clients, the company doing the hiring, and never by the candidate or job applicant. It is important to remember that their job is to fit the "right person" in the "right seat", and this often narrows their view of who could do the job well.  If you respond to a job advertisement and can show the recruiter that you have successfully performed a similar task in another company you are likely to be put forward for the position, depending on your competition.  However if you are perfectly capable of performing the job, but your work history doesn't demonstrate this adequately, it may be difficult to convince a recruiter that your skills and experience are as transferable as you believe them to be.  Many people find this a major obstacle when they try to make a significant career change.  

What You Bring to the Table

Many falsely believe it is the recruiter who is responsible for their success. Although recruiters are a valuable asset the responsibility of landing the job rests on the individual who is searching for the job. Among the things you can do as job seekers to maximize your time with a recruiter are: 

    • Have a professionally written resume: Make sure you have a professional email address and ensure your contact information and references are up to date
    • Brush up on your job interviewing skills
    • Solicit the help of a career coach (career coaches can assist in helping you define/redefine your career goals, most career coaches can also help you with resume preparation and job interviewing tips as well)
    • Follow up when required.  Recruiters usually have hundreds of candidates they are working with so their time is valuable.  Show them that you are committed to your job search success.
  • Make sure you have cleaned up all your social media.  Always be aware that recruiters are very likely to check you out on social media.  As a mature adult it is unlikely that you will have problems with a Facebook or Twitter account that is undesirable.  But is your LinkedIn profile reflecting who you are in the workplace?  Does it demonstrate what you are capable of?  Have others shown their support of you through recommendations and testimonials? 

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