What Do Recruiters Do?

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When searching for a job, you might come across the term recruiter. People use it in different ways, and there are several different types of recruiters, which can make it hard to figure out exactly what a recruiter does. Recruiters can serve as a valuable ally during the job search, however, particularly if you are interested in one specific industry or company, so it’s worth taking the time to understand their role.

Most recruiters work for a company, either as an employee or on a contractual basis. Their job is to find qualified employees to fill vacancies at the company, which means they hold quite a bit of power in the job search process. Recruiters are paid by the company that hires them, either when one of the candidates they find is hired for the job or signs a retainer agreement. If a recruiter reaches out to you, you should understand that they’re not working for you—they’re working for a company, and their priorities are aligned with those of the company. With that in mind, you shouldn’t expect too much in the way of coaching or follow-up from them.

Because recruiters need to provide the best possible candidate for a given position, their requirements are often extremely specific. The nature of their compensation means that in most cases they only receive payment if they provide a company’s new hire, and they have little time to spend on candidates that fail to meet the needs of a specific job. When working with recruiters, it’s therefore best to submit a more detailed resume, since a skill or past experience that strikes you as irrelevant for a position might be exactly what the recruiter needs to fill a tricky vacancy. Be sure that the recruiter has a specific job in mind for you and takes the time to ask a few questions, like whether you would relocate for the right opportunity, so that he or she understands whether you would be a good fit for the company’s needs.

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