Recruiters and The Job Hunt

by Wooden, Randy Wednesday, July 28, 2010
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During my career I’ve not only provided private and corporate outplacement, but I’ve also spent years as a headhunter (executive search) and have worked inside corporations as an in-house recruiter. And I’ve been a job seeker myself. So I bring a diverse experience when assisting someone’s job hunt.

I’m often told, “I’ll hold off on contracting with you because I want to have a recruiter place me for free.” The reality is that recruiters are in the “round peg – round hole” business. They place people who possess very specific industry, functional and educational backgrounds. The fact you might possess transferable skills is all well and good, but put yourself in the shoes of a company paying the fee. Would you pay a hefty fee for someone coming from a different background? Why?

Executive recruiters are commonly referred to as headhunters. If your industry and function are on target… if you have the required education, salary and are in the approximate experience level (age) range, then you MIGHT have a shot.

I say MIGHT, because you also must possess reasonably good interviewing skills. This is, after all, a competitive environment and you must be better than what the company can find on its own for free.

But an even larger hurdle is the economy. With a glut of supply (job seekers) a company often times feels it doesn’t need a recruiter’s help in finding that ideal candidate. Web-based searches can often turn up a wide selection of qualified candidates. So the recruiter is at the mercy of their client company’s willingness to pay fees to begin with.

A very small portion of our workforce is placeable by headhunters at any given time. If client companies aren’t paying fees for someone just like you, your resume becomes inventory on a recruiter’s shelf.