Crystal Spraggins, SPHR
No matter how much of an employers' market it may be, at some point, most employers will opt to use the services of a recruiter.
A good recruiter can save time (and therefore money) and help you source applicants you wouldn’t have found on your own. An excellent recruiter can even bring clarity where confusion existed by say, helping you think through the job that needs doing and who’s best to do it.
That said, here are 5 things to keep in mind before you “seal the deal” with a recruiter.
- Some recruiters are really bad at their jobs. Whether the issue is inability to recognize talent, poor ability or even lack of interest in understanding job specs, or simple inexperience, some recruiters do a not-so-great job of consistently presenting candidates who prove to be good hires—although they do a fantastic job of making it look like they do.
Spending a little time getting to know your recruiter (e.g., learning what positions he specializes in filling, how long he’s been in the business, where he finds candidates, and so on) will guarantee the best outcome.
- You’ll have to pay a recruiting fee. Obviously you’ll have to pay a recruiter for her services (typically anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of the placement’s annual wages), but before you engage the recruiter, you should know why you’re paying. Is this recruiter promising you access to talent otherwise “hidden” within the market, or merely agreeing to perform certain transactional duties (e.g., job postings, resume screenings, telephone interviews, and so on) for a fee? Know before your buy.
- If you engage an expert, you should listen to the expert. Job seekers have their fair share of recruiter complaints, but recruiters have plenty to say about hiring managers and employers, too. For example, nothing is more maddening than an employer who won’t heed the advice of the expert she’s hired. If the recruiter you’ve engaged presents you with a candidate who ticks all the boxes, don’t insist on seeing two or three other candidates just for “comparison’s sake,” and if your recruiter is telling you that your qualifications are impossible or that your rate is too low, pay attention.
- There’s some fine print (so make sure you read it). The press is filled with stories of high-profile hires who later turned out to have lied about their experience, education, or job skills. If you’ve ever wondered how in the world such lies could have escaped the attention of the well-paid agency who found the employee, the answer is pretty simple—no one at the agency bothered to check. If you want your recruiter to check, you better say so and get that agreement in writing. Most recruiters will delve only as deep as you insist they do.
- Some job seekers refuse to work with recruiters (or certain recruiters). Some recruiters have such an awful reputation, they can’t get top talent to return their calls. Before you engage a recruiter, be sure you’re aware of the agency’s reputation, because if top candidates shun the agency it’s hard to imagine how they can find top candidates for you.
Many recruiters are terrible, but many others certainly are not. Like you would with any service provider, however, it’s wise to vet your recruiter’s skills and experience before entering into an agreement.
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