This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.
If you are like most people, you will have a certain notion in your head about recruiters or head-hunters. Perhaps you think of that person who calls you every three months ‘checking in to see how things are going’ or you picture salesmen in shiny suits. Can you actually trust recruiters to have your best interests at heart? And what exactly do they add to the process?
What is the value of recruiters to me, the candidate?
A good recruiter will first take the time to understand what it is you are looking for. That is why a call is usually needed so we can ask you the important questions which will make everything we present to you relevant. Sometimes what you’re looking for is difficult to put into words and you might arrive at that conclusion through trial and error. This is where a recruiter can adapt and point you towards more suitable opportunities once they understand which things are more important to you and where you will be happy. Recruiters can even cause you to think about factors you never realised yourself were influencing your decision. This skill is one which no algorithm or electronic marketing system has proved it could do by itself.
If you choose to make an application through a recruiter, the hard work of any such approach is taken care of. You don’t need to spend hours which you don’t have tweaking a cover letter as recruiters can help present you in the best light using the relationships they have built with firms over many years.
Then the day comes when you are invited for interview. Rather than being left to your own devices to prepare with only the firm’s website and Google to hand (as well as some tips your friend’s friend gave you), a recruiter can thoroughly prepare you for the interview. In most cases, recruiters have a great idea about what you’re likely to be asked, but an even better picture of that firm’s hiring process and what they specifically tend to question you about. This level of insight has been developed through years of working with those firms, and it gives you a competitive edge.
If you are unlucky and don’t get offered a position with one firm, a recruiter is the only person who can be fully honest with you about the feedback which was received by them. If however, you are about to get an offer, the recruiter can negotiate the tricky things like salary or title (should you be unhappy with what is on offer). Here, it is the recruiter’s job to get you the best possible offer as both interests are aligned.
Yes, recruitment does come with targets. However a good recruiter will also always want you to make the right decision for you. The job title is ‘recruitment consultant’, and that is exactly what you should be getting – professional, consultative advice at every turn. If something doesn’t feel quite right, you’ll know the good recruiter is the one who says ‘Don’t worry about it. If you’ve considered X, Y and Z, and that hasn’t made you want to take this offer, then I fully support you withdrawing’.
So, friend or foe?
In the end, that is a determination only you can make. However, if you can make use of a free service which offers you a competitive advantage and perhaps gains you a trusted friend in the process, is there anything to lose by trying?