Myth Busters: What Is A Recruiter’s Role?

By: Jill Reynolds, Quantix President and CEO 

The word “Recruiter” doesn’t always stir fond feelings in the minds of job seekers or employers, but there are several myths around the recruiter’s role and how it functions. Some of the common frustrations voiced by job seekers are: “Recruiters treat you like a product; you are just a number; they never call you back; they are time-wasters, they’re not your advocates.” Job seekers tend to create the most negative buzz about recruiters because “They didn’t find me a job.” Are there bad recruiters out there? Absolutely, but this is true in any profession. Let’s take a step back and break down the real role of the recruiter.

Here’s what Arnie Fertig had to say in US News and World Report about the true and false in recruiting:

1) MYTH: The Recruiter’s Job is to Help a Job Hunter Find Employment

FACT: Recruiters work for employers, not job hunters. Their job is to find the best talent for the position the employer is seeking to fill, bearing in mind all of the employer’s “must haves,” “should haves,” and “shouldn’t haves.” They aren’t paid to help people to transition to new fields, but rather to find talented individuals who have done the job already in a different context, or people ready to move up to the next level in their same career path. To be sure, they help individuals whom they are able to place, but their primary responsibility is not to be a career counselor or a coach for the job seeker.

2) MYTH: All Recruiters Are Paid the Same Way

FACT: There are essentially two types of recruiters for full-time permanent jobs:

Contingency recruiting companies aren’t paid unless their client company hires a candidate they submit. Competition among firms is intense. For individual contributor-type positions, employers will frequently offer multiple recruiters the opportunity to work on the same job posting, and only pay a fee to the recruiter who actually finds the right talent.

Retained search firms are paid by a company to take on an exclusive role in a given search. These firms are most often utilized for executive-level searches.

Image Credit: Digital Deconstruction

Image Credit: Digital Deconstruction

3) MYTH: Recruiters Are Rude and Unresponsive

FACT: Recruiters, like anyone else with very limited time, prioritize who that time is worth speaking with, and for how long. They are likely to be very responsive to clients or potential clients who have job orders for them to fill, and people who they see as strong (potential) candidates for those job orders. They are likely to be much less responsive to individuals who approach them out of a sense of desperation, with a career change in mind, or who are not perceived as “A” class workers. Most recruiters simply don’t have the time to respond to the hundreds of unsolicited resumes or phone calls that they receive virtually every week.

4) MYTH: Recruiters Aren’t Out to Get Job Hunters the Best Possible Compensation

FACT: In almost every situation, recruiting fees are pegged as a percentage of the new hire’s first year base salary. The more you earn, the more they earn. Often they have inside information about what the company is willing to pay, and are able to obtain a higher salary than what a job hunter initially thought they could get. Companies understand that they must pay a premium for candidates sourced through recruiters, therefore they have high expectations for the quality of candidates submitted through a recruiter.

5) MYTH: Recruiters Don’t Care About Creating Long-Term Relationships

FACT: Recruiters are essentially in a relationship building business. The successful ones know that their long-term success is based on building their network of relationships. They remember who helps them on one search, and will be likely to want to aid that person later on. They appreciate when a job hunter isn’t a good fit for a current job, but goes out of their way to introduce them to someone who will be. One surefire way to get a recruiter’s attention and build a long-term relationship with them is to offer to provide the names of people who are strong connectors to others, thought leaders, and high performers in their specialized field.

First and foremost, the responsibility of your job search is your own but working with a recruiter can be a great benefit in your job hunt if you truly understand their role in the hiring process. Recruiters have access to jobs that aren’t publicly posted and relationships with many employers, but keep in mind recruiters do not have the ability to create a position for you. Their role is that of the professional facilitator by matching you to an appropriate and valid opportunity and preparing you to meet their client.

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