Working With Recruiters

Employment Agencies, Head Hunters, Executive Search, Temporary Agencies, Etc.

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These organizations are in business to help companies fill positions – either full-time or temporary.  They charge the client company a fee for identifying the appropriate candidate for the position.


  • Particularly for senior level positions companies often rely on an outside firm to source candidates.  The firm relies on their network of candidates and referrals to identify appropriate contacts to present to the company.  If you are seeking a C level position or even a VP position with a large firm, many of these positions will be handled by a search firm.  You want to be known to the search firms that specialize in your field so you will be on their radar screen for appropriate opportunities.  Definitely make a connection and build a relationship with a leading firm if you are searching.  This will connect you with opportunities you may not find otherwise.
  • For other positions, companies are either having trouble identifying the right candidates or are too busy so they rely on an outside firm.  These positions may or may not be available through other means.  The firm will do the screening and can provide you with additional information and insight on the position.
  • Often taking a temporary position gives you an opportunity to learn more about the company, the team and the job while they assess your skills and fit for the position.  It can be a great foot in the door if it is a company you hope to work for and can lead to full-time opportunities.


  • You are NOT the customer.  The firm does not work for you, they work for their client.  They seek to find the best candidates for their clients.  If you fit the qualifications, you will hear from them, otherwise you will not.  Don’t expect them to land you a job when you are having trouble landing one yourself.
  • The firms are expensive.  So if the company posts the job on their website and uses an outside firm, it will cost them more to hire the person presented by the firm.  Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage if this is a company you very much want to work for going forward.

Company Recruiters

Most companies rely on recruiters in their HR department to manage the hiring process to identify talent for the organization.  It is only after clearing the process with the recruiter that the candidate gets passed to the hiring manager for an interview.  Recruiters are often extremely busy and can’t be expected to be the expert in every position in the company.

If you are contacted by a recruiter, respond quickly and professionally.  Answer all their questions honestly and positively.  While it may feel like just a phone conversation, it is an interview.  They are often trying to screen out candidates so don’t give them a reason to eliminate you from consideration.  Ask thoughtful questions about the company and the position based on your research.  Show interest and enthusiasm for the position.  If you really want to stand out from the crowd, send the recruiter a thank you note.

See more on How to Get Your Resume to the Top of the Recruiters’ Pile!


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