Some recent comments by job seekers make it clear that many people don’t understand that there are different kinds of recruiters, what those differences are, or how to work with recruiters.
There are three important things for job seekers to understand about recruiters to work well with them and avoid making assumptions that could hurt their job search:
1. Recruiters are paid by employers to find the best candidates for the jobs the employers have open.
Consequently, pleasing employers is their primary goal. Many will help job seekers if they can, but helping job seekers is not what they are paid to do.
2. Recruiters are seldom the decision-maker determining whether or not you get a job offer.
They often have input into the decision, depending on the organization, and they are often the person who delivers the news to the job seeker. But, someone else, often a committee in very large organizations or the hiring manager, makes the hiring decision.
3. There are two basic categories of recruiters with very different business models.
Understanding the category of recruiter you are working with will enable you to work more effectively and appropriately with them.
The Different Categories of Recruiters
The first category is internal recruiters. They are employees of the organization which has the open jobs. The second category, external recruiters, are not employees of the organization which has the open jobs. External recruiters work for someone else.
In this post, we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of working with internal recruiters as well as the best way to work with them. Next week, we will explore the the advantages and disadvantages of working with external recruiters.
Internal recruiters, also known as “corporate” recruiters, work inside the employer’s organization and usually collect a paycheck (salary) from the employer who has the jobs open.
Their office will typically be on the employer’s premises, and their email and phone will typically be part of the employer’s email and phone system. So, their email will probably be Jane.Doe@[employer] or possibly HR@[employer], recruiting@[employer], or someting similar. To reach them by phone, you may call the employer’s main number and then ask for their extension, or you may call them directly.
Some internal recruiters are “contract” recruiters who recruit for the employer for a contracted period, and are paid by the organization which has the contract with the employer. Contract recruiters typically consider themselves to be on the staff of the employer. Their income is not determined by how many people they refer who are hired.
External recruiters, also known as “independent” recruiters, do not receive a paycheck from the employer who has the open jobs. They work for someone else, a recruiting firm or agency, which issues their paychecks. Some, of course, work for themselves. None are on the payroll of the employer with the open jobs.
You usually know you are working with an external recruiter when you visit their office and it is not in the employer’s premises. Email will often provide good indications, too. Notice the domain name in their email address, if you send or receive an email from them. If their address is not from the employer’s domain, like Jane.Doe@[recruiting company] or JaneDoeRecruiting@gmail.com, they are most likely an external recruiter.
More about working with external recruiters in next week’s post.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working with an “Internal” Recruiter
In most organizations, the internal recruiters are part of the Human Resources or Personnel Office staff. Sometimes recruiting is their only job, sometimes it’s their primary job, and sometimes it’s an additional responsibility, done when needed.
Internal recruiters get paid whether or not you find a job through them. Therefore, unlike most external recruiters, they have no vested interest in helping you get a job. They do, however, have a vested interest in their own continued employment, so they try to do their best to protect the employer and to find – and put forward - the best job candidates.
- If you are introduced to the hiring manager, that is a positive indication that the recruiter thinks you are a good candidate for the position.
- They have an insider’s perspective. They see how the organization works and typically know many of the people inside the organization, particularly the hiring managers.
- A contract recruiter may have the best perspective on the organization – both from the inside, as part of the staff, and also from outside since they usually have experience with many other employers as well as this one.
- They may be your advocate, if they believe you are the best person for the job.
- They may occasionally (NOT often!) coach you in the different personalities and different issues associated with the employer.
- Within limits, they can be a “friend” to someone they view as a good potential employee, but their loyalty is to the employer.
- They are insiders, and sometimes that can cause problems if the job seeker gets caught in the crossfire of an internal political fight.
- Their loyalty is to the organization. No matter how tempting, don’t tell them anything that you don’t want the rest of the organization to know.
- A “contract” recruiter may not have been working with the organization long enough to understand the people or the preferences.
- They can “bar the door,” keeping you from being interviewed or considered, even if (sometimes, especially if) you try to go “around” them directly to the hiring manager.
- They have no loyalty to job seekers or, usually, any incentive to help a job seeker land a job.
How do you work with an internal recruiter?
Very carefully. They are not “on your side” in this process. No matter how friendly, they are not your friend (yet). Always present your “best” self to them. Do not confide in them, or ask them to do you any favors. Be professional and business-like in all your communications with them. Wear your interview attire if you are invited in for a meeting with them.
Understand that they seldom control other employees which means that they don’t usually control scheduling of interviews, timing of decision-making, or salaries. They are often in the position of trying to organize the process, but other factors – illness, business travel, business crisis management, and even other staff vacations – are not under their control. They try to make the process work smoothly and quickly, but they are not in control.
Like anyone else, recruiters have different degrees of competence and different levels of credibility with their “customers” (management and the hiring managers).
Be business-like and professional in your dealings with them, and you will usually be fine if the opportunity is appropriate for you.