The Recruiter: Ally or Albatross?

You’ve just hung up the phone after talking with some character who, out of the blue, asks you if you’d be interested in changing jobs. Maybe it set your antennae quivering. Maybe your stomach plummeted. You may have difficulty refocusing. And maybe you have been mulling over a career change, and this phone call pushed you a bit closer to taking some action.

Have you ever worked with a recruiter before? Do you know what to expect? Or what you should expect?

I sat down with Barbara Blau, President of DP Professionals, who has more than 25 years of experience in the staffing and recruiting industry, and asked what she thinks an applicant should expect from a recruiter. Here’s a recap of our conversation.

Career Partners

A good recruiter will partner with you. It’s your career search, and although the recruiter may have initiated the contact, you are the one who controls your destiny. It’s important for you to decide what things are essential to you, and to share these with the recruiter. If the recruiter is not willing to listen, then this relationship is not a good one.

Understand that a good recruiter will provide impartial career advice. She will not tell you what you should do, but she can provide options based on her expertise. You need a clear understanding of what the recruiter can and can’t do for you.

Has the recruiter painted a picture for you? Can you see yourself in that new position, at that company, in that city? Does the recruiter give you the full scoop: the good, and the bad, and the ugly? Or is it all wine and roses? If it’s the latter, be careful.

Working with a recruiter is building a relationship. A good recruiter is going to ask many questions. She’s not being nosy.  She needs this information to help her make a good placement for you and for the client. So, she may ask if you’re married, the ages of your children, and whether or not you’ve discussed such a job change with your significant other. If a new job means moving to a new city, the recruiter needs to know to what extent this change will impact everyone involved. If your S.O. works, will they need assistance finding another job?

If you’re well into exploring a career change, and your recruiter hasn’t asked these kinds of questions, you need to wonder why.

Finally, you shouldn’t work with a recruiter or staffing company who wants you to pay a fee. The client (the company who needs the talent) pays a fee to the recruiting firm, not you.

A good recruiter is your ally. Don’t forget that the recruiter is working to make a placement. However, the good recruiter knows a good placement — the right person in the right job, happy and productive — means return business from the client, and from you.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series. In part 2, we’ll discuss exploring the opportunity with your recruiter. 

Corporate Media Specialist, DPP 

Photo by K Schneider on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

4 Responses to The Recruiter: Ally or Albatross?

  1. I have been looking for a new position since October 2012 and have spoken to a few recruiters, too many don’t speak English intelligibly. How many recruitment companies are outsourcing their recruiting to India? I have found it too be very frustrating to apply to position after position on these Job Search engines and never hear anything back. Are there really any mainframe Cobol programmer positions out there or are all of these just physhing attempts by recruiters to a stock of resumes? Very few of the recruiters I’ve spoken with have asked any of the questions mentioned in your article, most just want my resume. None of the recruiters I’ve spoken with have kept me informed and only after I called them back did I get any info on the position we’d discussed. This has been a very different experience from the job search that brought me to this area in 1997.

    • Hi, Murray,

      Of course I can’t speak for all staffing firms, but I can say that several in the Columbia area, including DP Professionals, are not outsourcing their recruiting.

      Recruiters will often attempt to build up a pool of applicants in certain areas, if they know a particular need is coming. How they communicate that to applicants is a different matter. In an ideal world, such pipelining efforts would be communicated to applicants. But one of the problems you’ve encountered is poor communication from recruiters.

      At DPP, it is our policy to reply, either in writing or on the phone, to all applicants. We don’t use an automated system to review resumes. I encourage you to check our job postings (all our postings are real, unless we say otherwise in the posting), and sign up for notifications for jobs in your area of specialization. We do not have any openings for mainframe COBOL programmers at this time. However, send us a current resume, and one of our recruiters will be in touch to talk about future opportunities.

      Thank you for your comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>