Let’s set the record straight: A good recruiter is going to do way more than move your résumé from one (virtual) pile to another. In fact, this person might just be one of the most important people to help land you a job, even if you are making a much-needed career change.
“Recruiters are more important than ever because the employment market is so volatile,” said Lauren Ferrara, vice president of recruiting and delivery at Creative Circle, a specialized staffing and services firm in NYC.
Fact is, the employment market in the last few years has been anything but stable, from the mass layoffs in 2020 to the Great Resignation exodus in 2021.
“At this moment, we’re in this weird middle — the ‘Great Regret,’ which is why partnering with a recruiter is so important,” Ferrara said. “Recruiters are experts in a particular field and, even if they don’t get you a job, they can advise you on how to position yourself and, ultimately, you’ll be in their pool when the right job comes along.”
Since most recruiters post open positions on such sites as LinkedIn and Indeed, start there to find a recruiter to partner with. Next, visit that company’s website to find information about the types of roles they recruit for, Ferrara said.
“If you find a job that interests you, apply for it,” Ferrara said. “If a recruiter thinks you’re a good fit, he or she will reach out directly to schedule an interview.”
For you to then forge a solid relationship with the recruiter — and for this person to help you find the job of your dreams — remain easily findable.
“It’s crucial for a recruiter to be able to contact you as easily as possible through LinkedIn,” said Serena Bartolucci Rubino, director of communications at Clarity Recruiting, a woman-owned recruiting agency in New York City. “And remember: While you get to decide if you want to reply to a message or not, always remember that in this market, it’s best to be open to any possibility that we might have in mind for you.”
If you’ve ever wondered what recruiters do and how this business works, read on for the five reasons you should link up with one.
Recruiters are free for job seekers
If you’re someone who is either trying to move in a new direction or find a parallel position in your same industry, know this: You won’t pay a dime to work with a recruiting firm. This is because recruiters work with companies on a contingency-based model, meaning companies pay recruiters to find employees to work for them.
“In fact, no one is paid until talent accepts the job and commits to the company,” said Rubino.
In many ways, recruiters can be seen as an outsourced extension of a company’s human resources department.
“Usually the companies we work with don’t have a dedicated recruiting team or someone who can spend all day sourcing candidates,” Ferrara said. “Connecting with a recruiter, therefore, is a great way to have direct access to available jobs at a company and get the lowdown about a particular job you’re interested in.”
Recruiters can get your foot in the door
A recruiter can help you cut through the job algorithm noise, often described as a black hole of résumés.
“There are a million job boards you can check out, but it’s even better to have a personal connection with a [recruitment] company,” Ferrara said. “After all, since there’s only so much an algorithm can tell from a résumé, we take it a step further and look more deeply at the lines in between what’s written on a résumé and work hard to help employers understand who you are as a person.”
Recruiters offer career advice
While well-established recruiters work directly with a company’s hiring manager, CEO and founder to help build a team, there are other perks to working with a recruiter.
“We see ourselves as career coaches who are there to help and guide you if you need assistance,” Rubino said.
Ask Ferrara and she’ll describe her job as part career counselor and part advisor who can help you position yourself, structure your résumé, stand out in a crowd and interview effectively.
“I think of my job this way: I may not be the person who will find a job for you, but I hope that anyone I speak with will leave our conversations feeling like they’ve learned something about their career path and can use what we’ve discussed to find a new job either with our help or without it.”
Recruiters work with job seekers at all levels
For a long time, there’s been a misconception that if you get a job through a recruiting firm, the salary will be lower than if you applied directly to the company, Rubino said.
“People think that companies that use recruiters won’t have the budget to pay competitive salaries, but that’s untrue,” she says. “Actually, if a company has a budget for a recruiting agency, it’s because it’s a smart company that wants to save time and also save the cost of hiring someone who is a wrong fit for the position.”
Recruiters will scout opportunities for you, even if you’re not actively looking
One advantage of working with a recruiter is that no one will look askance if you’re just exploring your options without any intention of making a job change.
“The benefit of having a recruiter in your network is that this person can kind of keep one eye open on all the opportunities out there without you having to do any of the work,” Rubino said. “That’s a silver bullet in this job market.”
Even if you’re content with your job right now, you can still engage with a recruiter from time to time.
“When you speak with a thoughtful, smart, experienced recruiter, you’ll find that this person won’t try to push you in the direction they want,” she said. “Instead, a skilled recruiter will identify what you need to do to make the move — whenever you’re ready to do so.”