Updated: Feb 22
I'm still surprised by the number of people who tell me they have NEVER worked with a recruiter directly. Sometimes I feel like recruiters are the job searches best-kept secret. My thoughts around that are based on the old-school "temporary agency" staffing model. Usually, you went there and got attached to some crappy day job in some random building on some odd part of town that feels like you're about to be entangled in some really sketchy and potentially illegal stuff. That or you could be dancing on the corner of a major highway, twirling a sign, and wearing a large emoji costume. Sorry...I got tangled up in that imagery. But the point I'm making is people tend to associate finding a job with a recruiter with something creepy. I know I did.
However, several recruiting relationships later and finding a team worth their weight and sometimes the aggravation, I can't see myself fairing the job market independently. That is the reason for today's post. Disclaimer, I'm not a recruiter. By the end of this post, it might sound like I'm selling something for them, but I'm not. However, when you find something that works, it's selfish and irresponsible not to let others know the benefits. At least in my opinion. Before we begin, I want to be clear. This is not a post about identifying a good recruiter vs. a bad one. This is also not a post about the best recruiters or firms to work with (although I can name a few, wink). And this is NOT a post about things good recruiters are looking for when searching for candidates. That would be too deep in the weeds, and for this post, I just want to share my thoughts based on my own empiricism. Now that we are clear about what's about to go down...let's jump into my signature bulleted list: 3 reasons why I prefer working with recruiters vs. posting my resume all over the internet.
Recruiters are people, not bots - My primary grievance with posting your resume and application submissions is the ATS. ATS is the Applicant Tracking System. It was designed to help companies filter through multiple applications via their job sites. It does what it does and obviously serves a purpose. The problem I have is that machine learning, no matter how intuitive, is still a machine. It lacks the ability to think independently, and it can't assess character over resume content. The ATS brain needs to be told what to do and how to do it. The human interaction that leads to the conversation is missing, and as a result, a great candidate could be excluded because they didn't put a keyword on their resume. A recruiter can provide feedback and insight based on their industry knowledge, experience with company culture, and hiring teams. All of this gives you a head start in the job search. Things that just won't happen with the ATS itself.
Recruiters have relationships - Relationships with other people and teams. This has a value that is underestimated. Recruiters have spent time understanding the needs of hiring teams. This insight can help you prepare your questions and responses for the interview and add value to the discussion. There are also differences or similarities in personality. Sometimes you're not a great fit because the team is high-strung and type A. You're shy and introverted, or you don't want to work in a stressful environment, or you thrive in that type of space. This preview is only available when you work with a LIVE recruiter.
Recruiters offer more bang for your buck - Kinda. Your recruiter is the difference between asking someone for a stick of gum versus you having your own pack of gum. They have access to more than the one role you were considering. They are part of a larger team, and if they are any good, they will rely on that team and look at other opportunities that you are a potential fit for. Your resume will get introduced to other recruiters to look at other projects. You've got access to what they have access to. This is one of those "membership has its privileges" moments.
I could go on with this list (but I like to stick with 3 points). I could talk about becoming part of a community and being part of a team. I could talk about making connections and feeling supported. And don't get me wrong, there is an ugly side to working with the wrong recruiter. But when you lock in on a good team, it's almost golden. No relationship is perfect. The goal is to find the value. If I can drive home any point, it would be that you should consider working with a recruiter. Again, like anything, you will have to test it out. Please make sure they are a good fit for you and vice versa. Depending on how you started your job search, it can feel overwhelming, stressful, and unproductive. Recruiters (good or great ones) understand this and have a plan to help you navigate forward. If you don't have to, I urge you not to venture into the job market alone, especially if it has been a while since you were in it. I am all about understanding all of the options before making a final decision. Working with a recruiter should be one of your considerations. I'm interested in your position, so drop me a note and share your experience.
You don't have to do it as I did, but you should consider something different if your current thing isn't working.
As always, these are absolutely my thoughts...