21 Should You Use Recruiters?

A common question amongst job seekers: “Should I use a recruiter?” 

Recruiters can be a great way to advance your job search, however, keep in mind recruiters are just one job searching avenue.

There are several pros and cons to using recruiters. I’ll start with the cons.

Recruiters make you expensive to hire.

To employ a recruiter’s candidate the employer will pay between 15% — 25% commission based on annual salary. To overcome this hurdle, you need to be a candidate worth paying for. As well, you’ll probably be up against candidates who won’t cost money to hire. 

Candidates who are slightly less qualified (they don’t have all the “nice to have” skills) but have approached the employer directly will be more appealing since they don’t have a price tag. 

TIP: As much as possible, apply directly to employers.

Recruiters don’t care about you.

This is a harsh truism. The company pays the recruiter for their services; therefore, the recruiter works for the company, not for you. Whose interest do you think a recruiter will look after, yours or their client’s?

Every so often, remind yourself of this truism, especially after speaking with a recruiter who said they’ll have no problem placing you. Avoid developing a false sense of security with recruiters.

Recruiters will tell you they’ll help you negotiate the best salary possible. Their sales pitch: The more you get paid, the more commission they make. Think of how a realtor works when selling a house. If the house sells for $40,000 less, the realtor’s commission is only marginally impacted. The same principle applies to recruiters. 

A recruiter’s priority is to make a placement, to stop the hiring process and possibly a competing recruiter (rare is an employer who uses a recruiter exclusively) making the placement. Your starting salary is a far second concern. Besides, the employer will be paying a commission, based on your salary, to hire you. Do you think a recruiter is in a good position to negotiate a higher salary?

You’re not networking.

Recruiters are appealing because of their network and visibility to hidden job opportunities. For many job seekers the biggest appeal of using recruiters is it absolves them from having to network. If you use recruiters exclusively, you’re not building a network of your own. You know much of career success today is based of having a professional network you can tap into.

Here are the pros of using recruiters as part of your job search.

Recruiters can save you time.

If you’re currently employed, there are only so many hours you can devote to your job search. Employed or unemployed, by using recruiters, you lighten, to a degree, your job search workload. Though this rarely happens, if a recruiter feels your skillset and experience are in high demand, they’ll act as a job search partner.

Recruiters see more job opportunities than you will. 

It’s common knowledge, not all job opportunities are posted on job boards. Many companies don’t use job sites; they only post available jobs on their website. Then there are companies, especially those which are small and service a niche market, who rely solely on recruiters to find candidates. Then there’s the common reason companies use recruiters; to conduct a confidential search. 

You’ll be part of the recruiter’s database.

Unless your interview was a complete disaster or you didn’t pass the criminal background check—anything that would prevent a recruiter from presenting you again to one of their clients—you’ll part of the recruiter’s database, which is a good place to be.

All recruiters keep a database of potential candidates. The majority use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to quickly sort and track candidates. Basically, ATS software pulls specific information from your resume and matches it to relevant jobs. When a recruiter has a new job opportunity, they first check their database for suitable candidates. I can attest, being in several recruiter databases has paid off for me on several occasions.

Considering everything, I think it’s a good idea to use recruiters to supplement your job search. However, when searching for a job, it’s wise to heed the advice of the adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”