If you’re on the hunt for work, there’s a good chance you’ve been in contact with a recruiter. Given they are ideally placed to help find you work and improve your job seeking skills, it pays to understand what they do, and how they do it.
“Not all vacancies are advertised. Recruiters know about roles through their networks, helping you access hidden opportunities,” says Bennett.
- A recruiter's role is to match suitable candidates to job opportunities on behalf of employers. Recruiters typically specialise in a specific industry or area. As Nathalie Lynton, Director at Shared and Halved Consulting explains, “they may specialise in financial planning within the banking and finance sector, or only work with hiring managers and candidates looking for contract work.
”This means they have an intimate knowledge of the market – what employers are looking for, what jobs are in demand, what positions are available within the sector, who’s applying for roles and what a stand out candidate looks like.
- They are paid by the company doing the hiring. An employer will typically hire one or more recruiters to find candidates for a role, and recruiters are usually paid by the client if the candidate they put forward is the one hired, explains Simon Bennett, Principal Consultant, Glide Outplacement.
The recruiter can charge anything from a flat fee of 5k, to 25% of the total fixed remuneration of the candidate, Lynton says.
- You need to know what you do and don’t want from a job. “If you’re not sure what type of job you want, a recruiter may be reluctant to put you forward for roles,” says Bennett. Be upfront about what type of role and conditions you’re looking for so that you’re considered for the right opportunities.
Bennet’s advice extends to turning down interviews or job opportunities for roles you’re not interested in – this could include a company you don’t want to work for or responsibilities that don’t align with your career aspirations. Be sure to explain what doesn’t appeal so they can put you forward for the right roles in the future.
- A recruiter will save you time when looking for work. “Not all vacancies are advertised. Recruiters know about roles through their networks, helping you access hidden opportunities,” says Bennett.
Don’t solely rely on them to find you work though – Lynton advises that this tells recruiters that you are not committed to your job search and it may come across that you think the recruiter works for you.
- Stay in touch. Recruiters meet many people, so Bennett recommends you contact them about once a month to let them know you’re still looking for a role if a suitable position arises. “If you see a recruiter you’ve connected with advertising a job that interests you, call them about it,” says Bennett.
That said, don’t overdo it. Lynton says it’s great to loop back with regularity, but calling and emailing every couple of days is a no-no. “A recruiter can receive or make up to 200 calls per day, they all need to be logged and recorded,” she says.
Rather than making your relationship all about you, make yourself memorable by forwarding relevant industry news, or suggest candidates where suitable.
- Ask for their advice. Lynton says recruiters can provide invaluable career advice. “They have their ear to the ground about what’s going on in the marketplace,” she says. Make the most of their insider knowledge by doing as Lynton does – regularly asking recruiters that specialise in her field to review her CV.
When preparing for an interview, recruiters can also help. They can tell you the type of interview questions the employer is likely to ask and how to impress the hiring manager. “If you don’t get an offer after interviewing, they can give you feedback from the company as to why you were not selected,” says Bennett.
“At the end of the day, a recruiter wants to place you, they want to place everyone. If they give you feedback believe it - if they offer suggestions for updating your CV go for it, if they give you feedback about how you present in an interview take it on board,” adds Lynton.