Working with a recruiter

“I have a recruiting firm.” 

“Oh, so you…”

Lately, this is how every conversation that I have starts.  People aren’t comfortable asking what a recruiting firm does because they think they should already know, so this vague discussion ensues.

They shouldn’t feel bad, often times people have only switched jobs less than 5 times in their career thus far, and may not have had a recruiting company as a part of the process.   

Let me clear up that there are a million names for pretty much the same thing.  A third-party recruiter, recruiting agency, staffing agency, staffing firm, recruiting firm, headhunter, etc…all of these things are all one in the same. 

They’re all the same, but there are different versions of a recruiting.  Some (like myself) focus on permanent recruiting, meaning the companies that I work with hire the people that I work with as full time employees of their companies.  The other side of recruiting is temp/contract work, where the people working are employed by the recruiting company, but do all of their work at the hiring company until their assignment is finished. 

As a perm recruiter, I connect work to people.  Notice I didn’t say I connect people to work.  When a company decides to work with me, they want me to work to fill their jobs, and I find the people.  If I’m working with someone right now, and I don’t have any work that matches their background right now, we have to keep our lines of communication open should that change in the future. 

So why would a company want to even work with a recruiting firm in the first place? Why can’t they just do this on their own? 

There are many scenarios…here are some examples:

A company currently has 15 employees.  They suddenly get that big project they’ve bid on.  They need 10 additional people to make the magic happen.  There may be some people in their networks that they could tap into, but the time it takes to strategically advertise, source, find and screen individuals is challenging, particularly when the current 15 employees all have a day job and are ramping up for more work.  In this scenario, it makes sense to work with a recruiting firm.

A company has a team of 5 recruiters.  Each recruiter is assigned to an average of 10 jobs to work on at a time (which is a lot to begin with).  The company has a hiring surge in a particular area, and the recruiters can’t handle the additional workload.  It doesn’t make sense to bring on another full-time recruiter for the surge (things will level out eventually).  The company will work with a recruiting firm to supplement the hiring.

A company mainly focuses manufacturing and sales hiring.  They have strong networks to hire these individuals, but need to bring on a software programmer.  Instead of starting from scratch to build out a network to find the right person, they rely on a recruiting firm that has expertise and an existing network to find the best individual.

Really good recruiters are great people to know because they often are the first phone call when a job becomes available and if you’re part of their network, you could be immediately tapped.  They also have insight into which companies are better than others, and as you move along in the process, you have a coach along the way.  Recruiters can also help you with salary negotiation…keep in mind that the more you get paid, the more they get paid.

If you have a recruiter that you trust, you can call them if your job sucks. If a recruiter calls you, make sure you interview them before they start interviewing you.  You can have a real partner for years into the future by networking with recruiters.