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Businesses That Can Help You Get an Interview

When I first got into the placement and recruitment business in 1973, only 2 to 5% of the professional hires that were made in business had some kind of placement fee associated with them. Today that figure is closer to 35%, maybe even 40%. The section on recruiters follows; here is a list of other kinds of firms that might be able to help you find a job:

Temporary staffing firms.

They used to be called "temporary agencies." Traditionally, they were only oriented toward secretaries and administrative workers. Today, these organizations staff all kinds of professional positions on a temporary basis. There are some staffing firms that place doctors, CEOs, CFOs, accountants, lawyers, technical writers, nurses, and all kinds of healthcare professionals from phlebotomists to X-ray technicians to medical insurance clerks, and human-resources professionals, drafters, designers, and engineers.

Staffing/consulting firms.

There firms are usually oriented to information technology or engineering services. In recent years, consulting firms have grown to take on significant amounts of information technology development. These firms hire out their technical expertise, from very narrow and specific types of software development to general software applications. Most of these firms do not see themselves as staffing companies. They see themselves and present themselves more as consultants. They often work on specific projects for their clients, and often these projects can last for many years. The clients pay a high price for this kind of expertise and, as with general staffing, do not have the burden of long-term employees.

Employee leasing firms, outsourcing services, and outplacement services.

These provide employment services to employers, but they normally cannot help a candidate actually get an interview.

Newspaper and Internet advertisements.

I covered this above, but it certainly doesn't hurt to know who is hiring. This can be valuable. It is good to know if a company is expanding, even though it may not be advertising the kind of job that you do. Those in motion tend to stay in motion. The company that is hiring a number of customer service people may very well be hiring in accounting or the sales department. Read the want ads and call the prospective hiring authorities.

Working with Recruiters

As the employment market expands and there are more jobs with fewer people to fill them, the use of recruiters on behalf of hiring organizations will increase. The vast majority of people have no idea about the variety of recruiters and professional placement firms there are in business. It is likely that in the future you are going to be contacted by a professional recruiter or have the need to solicit the help of a professional recruiter. It is important for you to understand the differences in the kinds of organizations there are.

I'm going to present to you the number of different kinds of recruiting organizations and professional placement people there are, as well as what they can and cannot do for you. It is important for you to understand not only the different kinds of firms there are, but also what you should expect of them. Your expectations of each type you run into will have a real bearing on your ability to gain employment through recruiters.

Perspective on What Recruiters Can and Can't Do for You

The Fordyce Letter, the country's foremost authority on the placement and recruitment profession, maintains a database of some 33,000 firms in the United States that are, in one form or another, involved in the business of direct personnel placement. (This would include even the "casual" placers of people, temporary staffing firms or companies who, as a part of their business, do some sort of placement.) For the past ten years or so, according to Kennedy Information, Inc. who publishes The Directory of Executive Recruiters, there are approximately 5,500 permanent recruiting firms of all types in the United States. Over 35 to 45% of this number went out of business over the past three or four years and will be replaced by the same number. Twenty new recruiting firms open in the United States every week. It is estimated that one-third of these firms work on a retainer basis and the rest on some form of contingency basis. The average recruiting firm, according to The Fordyce Letter, has 3.1 "consultants" in it who average successfully recruiting and placing 1.5 people a month. The average tenure of these firms is seven years, and the average "consultant" has been in the business for three years. In the early 1970s it was estimated that 5 to 10% of the professional people who were hired in business were hired through the help of a third-party recruiter of some sort. That estimate today is closer to 30 or 35%. As the job market expands, good candidates are harder to find, and third-party recruiters will be used even more.

Traditionally, recruiters have been defined in two broad camps. The retained recruiter is paid partly in advance to find an employee. The contingency group receives its compensation only if it is responsible for causing a candidate to be hired. There is, however, a broad range of contingency firms that you need to be aware of so that you can decide if they can actually help you find a job.

We will discuss, in general terms, the reasons why you should use a recruiter and what the recruiter can do for you, as well as what a recruiter cannot do for you. The most important aspect of this topic is for you to know how all of the different kinds of recruiters can help you, based on that type of recruiter's relationship with the employer. What you should expect from and how you should deal with a recruiter depends on your understanding of the kind of recruiter that you're dealing with.

In general, here is what a recruiter, can do for you:

A recruiter has access to and knowledge of opportunities with firms before they are "broadcast" to the world.

For the most part (and we will see the exceptions to this below), recruiters have a much more in-depth knowledge about an opportunity than an individual could gain on his or her own.

Recruiters will coach you and sell you and your attributes, as well as sell around your shortcomings, better than you can for yourself.

Recruiters know how you compare with your competition for a position and provide information about your strengths and weaknesses. Recruiters know their market.

Recruiters will help you manage the process of interviewing and negotiating. Because a recruiter deals with this process daily, it knows how to do it better than an individual even if he or she changes jobs often.

Recruiters are going to help a candidate maximize his or her compensation possibilities. Most of the time the recruiter is compensated based on the salary package the candidate receives. It is in our best interest, therefore, to help you reach your compensation potential.

Recruiters can provide you more job interview opportunities faster than you can do it for yourself. Most people don't deal with the job opportunities, career moves, etc. on a daily basis. A recruiter does.

The help of a recruiter implies confidentiality. Most top professionals don't want their job search to be "floating around" the Internet, or anywhere else for that matter.

A recruiter, many times, has an intimate but objective view of the hiring company, the hiring authorities, and the "politics" of the specific hiring process.

Recruiters are comfortable with all of the steps in the process of getting hired.

Recruiters know what to do when things "go wrong" in the hiring process.

Here are some things that a recruiter cannot do for you:

Recruiters cannot get you a job. They can open the door, coach, teach, advise, strategize, and help. But the candidate still has to be to the primary force in getting the job.

A top recruiter might give career advice, but recruiters are not counselors. They are information brokers and hiring process managers. Unless the information or process is of current and immediate importance to the company or hiring authority the recruiter represents, he or she doesn't have the time to "counsel"—i.e., deal with other aspects of your life.

Recruiters are not "miracle workers"... they can't get you the "job of your dreams" . . . find you an interviewing opportunity that you are not qualified for . . . help you change careers when the economy won't bear it... help you negotiate compensation plans on deals they are not involved in. They cannot do a lot of handholding or immediately respond every time you call or blindly e-mail a resume.

Recruiters don't analyze and peruse every single resume that is sent to us. Unless we are a "boutique" search firm, we receive hundreds of resumes. Each one will get ten to fifteen seconds of attention, and, unless what is on it is so obviously stellar and needed by their hiring companies, it will be stored in a database.

Recruiters don't have time to give you advice about the "market" or if it's time to "stick your toe in the water" to see if your skills or experience might be "more valuable" to someone else.

Unless they are involved in the process of securing you a new opportunity, they're going to be fairly short on advice about "what you should do" regarding your changing jobs down the line.

For the most part, recruiters are not going to give you advice about a job or career change that they are not involved in unless they have a longstanding relationship with you.

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