I felt it was time for a controversial article, so here we go. What’s the deal with recruiters? When I say recruiters, I mean headhunters. There are so many questions and controversy surrounding them and I felt it was time to address this.
How Do Recruiters Get Paid? Well, the rumor around this one is that you get a lower salary offer from the company because recruiters get a chunk of money off the top. The good news is, that is very far from the truth! Let me explain…There are two ways a recruiter is paid: contingent or retained, contingent being the most popular. Here’s how it works: A recruiting firm will call company X and negotiate a “fee”. This fee is a percentage of the candidates compensation that is paid to the recruiter when a candidate is successfully hired. The average fee is usually around 15-20%, but can go as high as 30%; this all depends on the type of position being recruited for. The firm then decides on how much money the actual recruiter gets from that fee, this can range from 0-100% of the fee paid by the company. Let me explain with numbers. Recruiter places candidate John at Company X. John makes $100k. Company X pays recruiting firm a 25% fee ($25,000). Recruiters then make their percentage fee on that $25,000; let’s assume 10% or $2,500. Some recruiters can receive a salary in addition to commission, while some are simply commission based. It’s also important to note that recruiters are only paid if the candidate stays with the company for at least a previously contracted period of time (usually 90 days).
Why Don’t I Hear Back From Recruiters? This is the question I hear all the time regarding recruiters. Well, honestly, it has two answers; one – you didn’t do your research, or two – the recruiter doesn’t care about you. So first, you didn’t do your research. Just because you called a recruiter does not mean they have jobs for every industry or level in the world, therefore; they may not have jobs for you. Most recruiters specialize in specific locations and industries. Do your research and find the recruiters that are right for you. This will increase your chances that they will be able to actually help you.
Secondly, most recruiters will not care about you if they know they cannot place you. This has nothing to do with your profession, but whether or not they specialize in your area. In large recruiting firms, they hold their recruiters to quotas. These quotas cover anything from how many people they call per day, how many interviews they have in person, to how many people they hire. To these firms, you are just a statistic. A statistic because the recruiter needs to “interview” people so they can meet their quota.
The secret here again is that you have to do your research and find a great recruiter. If you go to a great recruiter, they will have connections with the companies in your industry and will be able to help you.
One challenge with recruiters is that many of them simply search the internet to find jobs to recruit for and use you (the qualified candidate) as bait to get a contract with the company. This means they will send a blind email to the company with your resume attached. You are led to believe they have active jobs that you have a chance at getting, however, they may simply be using you to get that company to become their client so they can make placements with them in the future.
Sad, but true. After reading all of this, you might think you should find and work with every recruiter possible! Why not? Let them all find jobs for you, right? It will improve your chances of getting a job, right? NO, Wrong!
You definitely do not want to do this. You do not want to saturate yourself through all social media, major job boards and recruiters. What can happen is the potential employer you really want to work for receives your resume from 10+ different sources and this just makes them mad. They simply do not want to look at your resume 10 times over and after seeing it the first two or three times they may just throw it out. Whether this is wrong is a topic for another article and debate for another time.
We’ll say it again, and again, research the recruiters and limit the number you work with to two or three. In addition to this, tell them you will not send them your resume unless they tell you exactly who they will be sending your resume too. This is a good way for you to track where your resume is going so you don’t “over apply” to the jobs as well as stay behind the driver’s wheel!
When you speak with them, do not be afraid to question their background. What do they know about your job or industry? What is their track record in your industry? How many placements have they made? What companies are they going to send your resume too? While these may seem as bold questions, it is a better precaution to take rather then ruining your chances for a job with a new employer.
At the end of the day, recruiters are not crooks, devious or self-centered people. Most of them are good people who work long hours and are paid on commission trying to make a living. As with any industry, a few bad eggs have given the industry a bad name. I can promise you there are very good recruiters out there, you just need to find them.
Feel free to comment below and keep the discussion going! I will respond to all of your comments.