How To Work With Recruiters How To Work With Recruiters

In looking for professional assistance in your career development you can enlist the services of a career management firm and/or develop relationships with executive search consultants/recruiters.

Career Management vs. Executive Search Firms
Contingency Recruiters vs. Retained Executive Search Firms
Building Relationships with Search Consultants / Recruiters
Do's & Don'ts of Working with a Search Firm

Career Management Firm vs. Executive Search Firms
A career management firm is engaged by the candidate or often by the candidate's former employer - in the case of a downsizing. The role of a career management firm is to:

Recognizing that a search consultant /recruiter does not work for you - but rather for the client - it is none the less very beneficial to develop good relationships with any/all recruiters that specialize in your industry area.

Executive Search Firm
An executive search/recruitment firm is engaged by a client company to identify, recruit, pre-screen and evaluate potential candidates. Their role is to find and present the best candidates in the marketplace to meet their client's needs - both in skills and in corporate "fit". If your skills and experience do not meet the client specifications, the role of a recruiter is to ensure that the client does not take the time to meet with you for the job assignment.

Contingency Recruiters vs. Retained Executive Search Firms
There are two types of recruitment firms: contingency firms and retained firms. Contingency search firms earn their fees only when the client company makes a hire through them. A contingency firm has no assurance of being paid, as clients often will have a number of such firms working on the same job assignment. As a result, a contingency search firm cannot afford to invest a great deal of time working on any particular assignment as the outcome may depend on factors beyond their control. Contingency search firms generally work on a large number of job openings and will send as many candidate resumes as possible to clients for potential interviews. Working in a competitive environment, the contingency search firm process is geared towards identifying quantities of potential candidates for a given job opening. As a contingency recruiter usually does not have an exclusive assignment and is in a race against other sources to present potential candidates, they will often present attractive candidates to as many clients as possible.

Retained search firms are hired by the client company to conduct a dedicated search process on their behalf. They are paid, in part, in advance and generally either in additional installments throughout the process or at the conclusion of the search process. Clients engage retained search firms when it is critical that they hire the most qualified person available in the marketplace. They look to their search/recruitment partner to conduct in-depth industry research, identify, recruit and assess the highest potential candidates - taking into consideration not only the basic job requirements but also - the organization's culture and other critical issues related to the job vacancy.

A retained search consultant will thoroughly screen candidates through in-depth interviewing, evaluate internal candidates against an external shortlist and provide comprehensive candidate assessments. Retained search firms will never present the same candidate to more than one client at a time.

Building Relationships with Search Consultants / Recruiters
Neither contingency nor retained search firms accept fees from individuals for the purpose of helping them find a job. Contingency search firms are inclined to "market" attractive candidates to several potential clients at the same time. Retained search firms are not motivated to "sell" candidates in this manner - they are being paid for the process of selecting the best candidates for a position and their objectivity in assessing whether a particular individual is the right choice.

Search consultants source qualified candidates by networking with other professionals in your industry and function. Speaking periodically with search consultants can keep you well abreast of what is happening in the marketplace, what your peers/contemporaries are earning and what your marketability may be.
If the opportunity fielded by the consultant sounds interesting and you are still not interested in exploring it yourself, refer a friend or colleague that you think may be a good fit for the role. If you do not wish the consultant to mention that you were the source of the referral, tell them that this is the case - they will honor this request.
When pursuing a new career opportunity, search plays an important but limited role. As search consultants are working to serve their clients, they are restricted to focusing on the work that they are retained to do. On average, a search consultant will only handle 15 to 20 searches a year - yet their firms will receive thousands of unsolicited resumes annually. Your chances of landing an opportunity during your job search, through a search firm are relatively low. The best strategy in your search is to cast your net as widely as possible, contacting any and all of the search firms that work in your area.

Do's and Don'ts

DON'T send multiple resumes to a search firm. Resumes are uploaded into the firm's database and accessible to all consultants and branches of the firm. Sending multiple resumes creates unnecessary work for the firm.

DON'T embellish your experience, education or compensation or leave positions off your resume - you will be found out. Executive recruiters and clients conduct thorough background checks and often request T4 slips to verify income.

DON'T put the onus on the consultant to call you back every time that you call - you will likely be disappointed. Simply leave a message stating your continued interest in being considered for opportunities that the firm may be working on and any other pertinent information. Your call will be noted and any new information that you provide in your message will be entered into the firm's database.

DON'T allow multiple search firms to present your resume for the same opportunity. If an additional search firm discusses the same position with you, inform them that you have already been presented. Multiple resume submissions to the same opportunity will only hamper your chances of being considered by the company.

DON'T apply for every position posted and don't apply for positions where your experience does not meet the minimum requirements stated in the posting.

DON'T apply directly to the client company for an opportunity that a search consultant has already discussed with you. The consultant has been hired by the company to pre-screen candidates and circumventing the process will only serve to alienate both the client company and the search consultant.

DON'T direct a consultant (or perspective employer) to a URL to pick up your resume - the likelihood of them doing so is slim to none.

DO be honest in outlining your experience, scope of responsibility, accomplishments, educational credentials and current compensation.

DO send in a current resume along with a cover letter outlining your job objective(s), location preferences and financial expectations.

DO manage your expectations. Search consultants spend from 40 to 60 hours a week on developing business, on candidate assessment and selection and on travel. It is virtually impossible for them to get their work done and to meet with every candidate wishing an audience. Do call to follow-up on sending your resume and to introduce yourself personally. Do make periodic calls to remain top-of-mind and to keep the consultant aware of your status and your interest.

DO disclose any interviews that you have recently undergone and any positions where you are currently under consideration - either through another search firm or with a client directly. This will avoid potential duplication and issues that can arise from duplication.

DO regularly check the search firm's website for opportunities. If you feel that you qualify for a posted opportunity, call or e-mail the consultant to demonstrate your interest. Include a reference to the job posting in your message - either the posting code number or the position title.

DO trust that the consultant knows the client and the nuances of the organization and position sufficiently to determine whether you are a fit or not - that's what they are paid for.

DO leave clear and concise messages - spelling your name, outlining the reason for your call and providing your telephone number(s). Consultants receive hundreds of these calls daily and will respond first to the ones that are clear, concise and easy to respond to.

DO inform consultants if your status has changed and provide your new contact information. They will update your file and note your change for future considerations.