My clients often ask me how to connect with recruiters to help find a job, and whether it is worth the effort. There isn’t one simple answer to this question – it depends on the profession, the job seeker and on the demand for their skills in the job market. For some job seekers, recruiters can be very useful when looking for work.
What do recruiters do?
Recruiters work for the employer, not the job seeker. They help collect resumes, screen applicants, and conduct job interviews, either for one company or via an agency. Recruiters are most useful if you work in a field where there’s a large demand for your skills, experience and expertise — often more senior staff, who might work in larger companies. Recruiters also hire temporary staff.
There are two different types of recruiters: in-house and agency. In-house recruiters are employed by a specific company to hire employees. Agency recruiters work for an employment agency, to help multiple companies find employees; they get paid when they fill a position – often a percentage of the salary paid to the candidate.
Recruiters use multiple methods to find, connect with, and monitor potential candidates, including online job boards (such as this), recruitment agency boards (such as those listed here), company websites (such as this), as well as LinkedIn.
How do agencies work?
To get a job through an agency, applicants need to register either via a posting found on a job board such as Monster.ca or Indeed.ca, or directly on the agency’s site. If the agency is a reputable one, candidates who register will be contacted by a recruiter for a brief discussion about their eligibility for the position. Suitable candidates will get called into the agency to be interviewed and possibly skill-tested. References will be called. Candidates might be placed in full-time or temporary jobs, many starting on a temporary basis first before considering them for full time employment.
For candidates, it’s important to treat the recruitment agency interview as you would any job interview: be prepared to speak about yourself clearly, confidently and honestly, to build a trusting relationship with the recruiter. Remember that it is the recruiter’s job to represent you to an employer, so give them the information they need to do so effectively.
Candidates are not limited to only one agency. It is well worth registering with multiple agencies, to access a variety of jobs in your area. Recruiters won’t necessarily refer every candidate to a position, no matter how well qualified they may seem. Recruiters may have their own personal preferences which impact on their choices. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that candidates can’t apply for the job independently, according to some recruiters: “Sometimes a company will be more willing to hire you without the recruiter’s fee attached.”
Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn:
- Update your profile. LinkedIn reports that adding detailed work experience will result in 12x more profile views; it also makes your profile 36x more likely to be found by recruiters.
- Signal your availability to recruiters. LinkedIn recently introduced an option for job seekers to quietly indicate their availability to recruiters, called Career Interests. This allows candidates to provide some basic information about their career goals to recruiters privately.
- Seek them out. LinkedIn offers recruiters and job seekers an easy and effective way to connect. There are two main ways to find recruiters on this platform: Use the search bar to find people who call themselves “recruiter” – review their profile to identify whether they recruit in your field and location, conduct a job search, and look through the job postings for the name of the poster (some job postings include the name and profile of an individual poster)
- Reach out and connect with the suitable recruiters. Include a brief introductory note, telling them about your employment goals.
Communicate with the recruiter:
- When the recruiter accepts the connection request (and most will!), thank them for connecting with you.
- In the next message, briefly introduce yourself and tell them what you want “I saw a position on your website” (share links to the job, if you have) or “I am interested in a __________ position.”
- Mention if possible something you might share — like LinkedIn contacts, location or anything else, to break the ice.
- Tell them what you would like them to do “Can you please pass along my resume to the person responsible for hiring XXX?” or “I recently applied for XXX and I’m trying to get a status update on my application. Would you mind checking for me?”
- Keep it short and focused.
- Stay in touch: Thank the recruiter for their efforts on your behalf, follow their instructions regarding the opportunities they provide you. Check in regularly; update them on your job search and availability.
While recruiters can be a source of good job opportunities, don’t rely on them exclusively to find your next job. They are only one tool in a job seekers toolkit. Do what you can to reach out and be available, but keep looking for work independently.