Job seekers often get frustrated with recruiter interactions. Sometimes recruiters reach out with vague information, inappropriately matched jobs, or just don’t respond. Is it possible to find a job through a recruiter? Yes! But it’s important to understand how to work with a recruiter effectively. So let’s step through the basics:
How do third-party recruiters get paid?
Recruiters at staffing agencies have contracts with companies, and usually only get paid if one of their candidates is hired by the company- typically 20-35% of the first year’s salary, but it depends on the role and industry. This means that recruiters are incentivized to fill roles so they can get paid. And ideally, they need to submit multiple, highly qualified candidates to each open role to increase their odds against candidates from other sources.
High volume and commission based— you can see how this combination results in vague information, poor role fit, and lack of response. The truth is, it’s an incredibly high turnover industry. The average recruiter is inexperienced and producing low quality work. BUT! There are fantastic recruiters out there and it is worth finding them if you’re looking for a job.
So what kind of strategy should job seekers use to get better results from a third-party recruiter?
First, you should find the recruiters instead of waiting for them to come to you:
Second, you should follow those recruiters on LinkedIn and check their website regularly. Remember, recruiters need to fill roles, not help you get hired. Good recruiters want to help you get hired, of course! But recruiters are focused on promoting the positions they are under contract for so they can get paid.
Third, be proactive about reaching out to them whenever you see a role you are qualified for— even if you’ve spoken to them recently, remember they are dealing with high volume and most speak with dozens of candidates a day. Let them know you are interested whenever they have a job that you are qualified for, so it’s fast and easy for them to submit you for the role.
Fourth, do your own research. The fact is, a lot of agency recruiters do not get the support and information they need from the companies they work with to be successful. Hiring managers don’t get back to recruiters with feedback on why they moved forward with one candidate but not another. HR managers don’t always share documentation with recruiters on their hiring process. Recruiters want you to be successful, after all it’s how they get paid, but they may not have the tools to set you up for an offer, so don’t rely on it.
If you’re curious, there are ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile for recruiters, but the best way to find a job through a recruiter is to be proactive and go to them.