By: Elias Cobb, National Recruiting Manager
Hello 2016! It seems like it will be a busy year for IT hiring, with positions going unfilled, and an overall lack of IT talent on the market. That means many companies will be using recruiters to help them fill positions, both permanent and contract in nature. I’ve read a lot of articles on recruiters, most of them unflattering. However, recruiters DO place literally thousands of people every year in positions. Here are my best ideas on why you should work with recruiters (good ones, anyway).
First, and most obviously, they have access to positions you don’t. Period. And even if the position the agency recruiter brings to you is actually out there on the internet somewhere, would you really have found it? And to take it another step, even if you had found the position and applied, your online resume would have been run through an internal filter, be it an ATS (applicant tracking system) or human screening. Most agencies work directly with the hiring manager, so your resume gets to the right place.
Secondly, a recruiter can help you make the most out of your experience on your resume. Chances are you don’t have everything you ever did, professionally, on your resume. (If you do, you are either entry-level or your resume is waaaaaaay too long.) Recruiters should know what the key skills are that the manager wants, and can help you make sure you highlight how your experience fits. Most corporate job descriptions don’t really tell you what the manager wants, so when you apply online, you aren’t necessarily attacking the right points.
And finally, let’s deal with compensation. I’ve seen and heard many times that candidates should never tell a recruiter what they’re currently making, and sometimes not even what their salary requirements are. That’s ridiculous. First and foremost, for permanent positions, recruiters are paid based on your starting salary. So they are motivated to get you MORE money, not less. And they should have an idea of what the hiring manager’s range is, and can help you come it at a number that works for you and the client, and again, maximize your chances of getting a job. For contracts, well, you might feel as though the recruiter is squeezing money out of you. But truthfully? A few dollars on your rate doesn’t mean a ton to the recruiter in terms of commissions. It means a lot more to get you placed, so if you have an honest conversation, you should be able to come to an agreement that works for both of you.
I also want to address something I’ve heard a lot over the years: This idea that since a recruiter is marking up your rate, they’re taking money that YOU should rightfully be earning. Let’s be honest. You likely never ever would have found that contract without the recruiter bringing it to you. A lot of the time, you haven’t even heard of the company who is hiring! So you’re telling me you would have found that contract at that obscure small company and applied? And finally, many, many companies don’t contract directly to individuals. They only work through agencies. So you had no chance at getting that contract by yourself anyway. Make sense?
I am in no way insinuating that there aren’t crappy recruiters out there. There are. Just like there are crappy technical candidates too. And crappy pilots, and bartenders, and chefs and every other profession. Just because you have one bad experience doesn’t mean you should write off all recruiters. When you get a bad meal at a restaurant, you don’t stop going out to eat altogether, do you? So find a few recruiters who you trust, and with whom you have a good rapport, and you can work together and help each other.
As always, please drop me a line anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!