What is a Recruiter and Do I Need One?

No matter what the industry, the job search process can be a complicated and multifaceted one. If you are trying to break into a particular market, you need all the help you can get.

From networking with family members and friends already working in the industry to reaching out to mentors who can help you make the right contacts, a comprehensive job search strategy is often the most successful. In many cases, that strategy may include the use of a recruiter.

What is a Recruiter?

The recruiting industry is often poorly understood, but whether you call them corporate recruiters, headhunters or something else, these professionals fill an important niche in the job search world. Corporate recruiters usually are employed by a particular company to fill key positions within the firm. They may work on college campuses, finding the most promising young talents to groom for their new careers, or work behind the scenes to seek out the best prospects for top-level positions in the corner office. No matter where they work, those corporate recruiters are dedicated to a single company, and they can be extremely valuable for individuals trying to land a position with that firm.

Third-party recruiters are different. Instead of working for a single company, they accommodate a wide variety of firms. Companies hire them to find the most promising talent for their open positions. If you are trying to break into a particular industry and are not attached about who the employer is, working with a third-party recruiter will give you the greatest level of freedom and flexibility.

Many job seekers will actively look for recruiters in the fields they are targeting. In other cases, the recruiter may reach out directly to workers with specific or highly sought-after talents and abilities. If you have distinguished yourself in a particular industry, or hold skills that are hard to come by, you may find recruiters calling to ask for your resume.

Whether you are reaching out to the recruiter or the other way around, it is important to understand how these professionals are paid and where their motivations lie. The compensation for a successful recruiter can be quite compelling.

The recruiter has a vested interest in finding the best qualified candidates for the positions they have to offer. They will likely skip over those who are less qualified, although they may keep their resumes on file for future reference.

If you have skills and talents that are in high demand, reaching out to a recruiter probably makes sense. If not, you may be better off searching for a job in a more traditional manner and seeking out the help of a recruiter later in your career.
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