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by Rob Porter | July 08, 2022


Whether you’re searching for your first job or you’re a seasoned job search professional, you may have enlisted the help of a recruiter. Along with your own efforts, a job recruiter will allow you to cast a wider net, potentially making your job search much quicker and easier. Of course, all this sounds great on paper, but are there any downsides to using a job recruiter? Today we’re going to be talking all about the advantages of job recruiters, as well as some things to watch out for. Let’s get started.

When speaking with a recruiter for the first time, you’ll be able to provide them with information about yourself and your experience, as well as what you’re looking for in a job. This includes your desired pay, benefits, and of course, the type of job you’re looking for. Typically, the recruiter will then go off and work their magic until they find a suitable position for you. This is especially helpful if you’ve found yourself in a job search rut, as regardless of how much progress you make in any given day, the recruiter is always there in the background lending a hand.

Keep in mind that your recruiter isn’t your own personal job search assistant. In other words, they’re working for a staffing agency and you’re not the only person on their radar. The recruiter is being paid commission off of the candidates they score jobs for, so they will prioritize the ones that are most sought after. Since this is the case, it helps to follow up with your recruiter from time to time to see if they’ve made any progress. In the event that you are a low priority candidate, the follow up will give the recruiter a gentle reminder that you exist, which may push them to work harder for you.

Let’s talk some more about the whole commission thing, as it will likely work in your favor if you are wise about it. During your initial conversation with your recruiter, provide them with your desired salary range, rather than a static number. The general rule of thumb is that your recruiter will receive a commission of 20-25% of your initial base salary when you take a job. This will push the recruiter to seek a salary that rests on the higher end of your range – or, maybe even above it. There is no shame in politely declining a job with a salary that falls below the low end of your range; however, if this happens consistently, you may want to reconsider the range you have provided, as it might be unrealistic.

Another great aspect of having a recruiter is they will often take the extra time to coach you with regards to your resume and your interview tactics. For example, your recruiter has found a great job for you, but suggests slight alterations to your resume based on the company’s leadership and values. It’s best to take advice like this from your recruiter and put it into action, as it will likely lead to success. Remember, the recruiter gets paid when you get the job, so they’re more than happy to do whatever they can to make you a more appealing candidate.

There are some negative aspects to using a job recruiter; however, they’re pretty easy to work around. Perhaps the most significant problem rests in the recruiter’s expertise in a certain field, or possible lack thereof. A recruiter who doesn’t possess a reasonable amount of knowledge in your field may not be adept at finding the right job for you. In this case, it’s best to provide as much information as you can during your initial conversation with your recruiter. In addition to this, ask a lot of questions – and I mean a lot. This will not only help the recruiter gain the knowledge required to find you a good job in your field, but also help you ascertain whether your recruiter is the right one for you depending on the level of confidence with which they answer the questions. Try asking questions about how your background makes you a good fit, or detailed questions about the company you are applying to or the challenges it faces. If you catch your recruiter staggering, it might be time to try someone else.

Lastly, always remember that your recruiter is working for their commission. Of course, there are always the ones who are in it for the good feeling they get when they score someone a sweet job, but they will still prioritize high level candidates so they can make a living. The best way to use a recruiter is in conjunction with your own job search. Take note of the advice your recruiter gives you and apply it when you’re performing your job search. The advice is totally free and can serve you well far into the future. Don’t rely too heavily on your recruiter, keep your spirits up, take their advice when it works well for you, and be vigorous. In time, you will learn how to use all your available job search tools effectively, and you’ll be on your way to happiness and success.