Working with recruiters

What placement specialists offer

If you are approached by a third-party recruiter, chances are they’ve been hired by a company to find candidates with a background similar to yours, and they’ve gone to some lengths to seek you out.


Working with a recruiter or an executive search firm is highly beneficial for some job seekers, primarily those who have a clear focus, marketable skills and experience in a specific area. For others, it’s not helpful at all. Don’t take it personally if you fall into the latter category.


If a search firm won’t present you as a candidate to its clients, that doesn’t mean you’re unemployable — it just means you don’t meet the criteria for the specific search(es) being conducted.


Types of search firms


    • Retained search firms have an exclusive relationship with an employer (client) for a search. These firms typically receive a fee from employers based on the first year’s salary of the person to be hired, and they get paid for their efforts whether or not they fill the position.
    • Contingency search firms occasionally have an exclusive relationship with an employer, but more typically they are in competition with other contingency firms. They only receive a fee from employers if an applicant they submitted accepts the position.


Remember, both retained and contingency search firms work for (and get paid by) employers; they are not working for you. They may be of help to you, but their first duty is to their clients.


When you contact a recruiter, you add another dimension to your job search plan, but they should never be your only tactic.


Next: Landing the position