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In today's competitive job market, many job seekers would welcome additional job-search assistance. While some job seekers know exactly what they want to do or where they want to work, others need some direction. Recruiters can be a great resource, yet some job seekers aren't aware of who they are, what recruiters do and how best to work with them.
The following Q&A with DeLynn Senna, executive director, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, provides insight into the advantages of working with a recruiter.
Q: What does a recruiter at a staffing agency do?
Senna: First and foremost, recruiters help people find jobs. Staffing professionals identify matches for candidates with client companies, looking for a fit from both a skills and a corporate culture perspective. Because they have a thorough understanding of what their clients look for in applicants, recruiters make the job search quicker and more efficient. Through their networks, recruiters also are able to target specific companies where candidates would like to work. The services recruiters provide don't end there, however. For instance, they help candidates hone their résumés, prepare for interviews and manage salary negotiations.
Q: Why would a job seeker use one?
Senna: Recruiters can be candidates' eyes, ears and advocates in the job market. They often know of opportunities yet to be advertised and help professionals throughout the job-search process as an adviser, coach and confidant.
Meeting with a potential employer can be a daunting prospect for many people, but recruiters can help job seekers quickly build rapport with hiring managers. Recruiting professionals provide advice on interviewing with each contact, including questions to ask and not ask. In addition, recruiters have insight into current salary trends, what a company is likely to pay and how to navigate compensation negotiations.
Q: Does this usually cost the job seeker anything?
Senna: A reputable staffing firm will never charge a job seeker a fee.
Q: How should a job seeker prepare before enlisting the help of a recruiter?
Senna: Once you're ready to work with a recruiter, make sure your résumé and online profiles are current and they project the image you want people to have of you. Hone your elevator pitch about the type of position you want and why you are a good fit for it, and line up your references.
Q: What does the process of using a recruiter generally look like? How do they work with each other throughout the process?
Senna: The job seeker-recruiter partnership can begin a couple ways. In some instances, a recruiter, through her network, may reach out to a professional to discuss career opportunities. Other times, job seekers will register with the staffing firm. In both scenarios, the next step is for the candidate to discuss his career objective, and the recruiting specialist will then review the person's résumé to see if there is a potential fit with an opportunity at a client company. If there is, the job seeker will be invited for an interview, at which point the recruiter also will conduct a skills assessment and ask for references.
Throughout the process, candidates should keep their recruiter apprised of their search. For example, if you think you'd like to work at a specific organization, tell your recruiter, who may have a contact there and be able to secure an interview for you. Also keep in mind that this is a partnership. Stay in touch, letting your recruiter know what's working and what's not, and be open to her doing the same.
Q: How does a job seeker find a recruiter?
Senna: To find the recruiter that is right for you, research the staffing firms in your area, just as you would any employer. Review local business publications and websites, and tap your network for their recommendations. When evaluating your options, look for a firm that specializes in your field and has a history of success.
Q: What myths would you like to dispel about recruiters?
Senna: A recruiter is your job-search partner. This is not a simple transactional business relationship. Recruiters want to help you find a great job and can be a valuable resource throughout your career.
Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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