Should You Use A Recruiter in Your Job Hunt?


Finding a job has become a daunting process. In the past, a simple cover letter and résumé, usually in reply to a newspaper ad, were all that was required, followed by an interview. Today, there’s significantly more to the journey, with multiple online job posting sites, large professional networks and extended evaluation processes.

With the increased complexity of job hunting, one might wonder whether it’s best to use a recruiter instead of trying to handle the job search alone. To help you decide between a recruiter and a solo adventure, we asked seven members of Forbes Coaches Council to offer their counsel.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council offer insights to help you decide whether to use a recruiter for your job hunt.

1. Balance Your Search

Recruiters can be great assets when used correctly. Find one who specializes in your industry and forge a relationship with them, but don’t stop there. Recruiters, like you, have limited time and resources. Learn how to job hunt effectively and create your own traction. Nobody can sell you the way you can sell yourself, which means you miss opportunities when you leave the search to others. - Krystal Yates, EBR Consulting LLC

2. Ask Your Network First

When a client looking for a new job knows the field they want to work in, I would advise they ask among their network first before seeking a recruiter. Sometimes your family, friends, and professional and social networks have connections in the field of choice who could provide introductions and/or recommendations for job openings. If that fails, then go to a recruiter. - Sueann Freeman, LeaderSpring

3. Handle the Search Like An Investment Portfolio

Even in the same industry, different recruiters have strong relationships with certain companies. Therefore, build up relationships and work with a few reputable recruiters, especially ones who can connect you with the employers you want to work for. At the same time, network and do online immersion, as many cool jobs may only land that way. If you want a great return, then diversify your portfolio. - Amy Nguyen, Happiness Infinity LLC

4. Find A Reputable Recruiter

In 99% of cases, working with a reputable recruiter will benefit your job search. They get paid by the company (there’s no cost to you) and often have a long-term relationship with the employer, which means you have higher odds of getting an interview if they recommend you. I recommend trying to find recruiters who specialize in the industry and function you are aiming for. - Jean Ali Muhlbauer, People at Work

5. Leverage All Your Resources

Recruiters do not work for individuals, they work for organizations, and they will only place you if you are a good fit. Building relationships with recruiters is valuable but is only part of a great job search marketing plan. Enlist the help of a career coach and/or certified résumé writer to polish your résumé and LinkedIn profile. Network strategically and expand your connections for the best results. - Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC

6. Follow the Motivation and Money

Company and third-party recruiters don’t really work for you fiscally. To them, you’re a candidate for placement, and those third-party retained or contingency recruiters work for the company. They may help provide insight; however, don’t be naive. Their loyalty is to the organization that pays them, not you. A recruiter is and can be a very important tool—one of many—in your search toolbox. - John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

7. Be Seen to Be Seen

I find clients who are contacted by recruiters have much more success than clients who seek recruiters. I advise clients to build up their profiles on social media sites that recruiters are scouring for candidates, while at the same time doing their own research on the companies they may like to work for and making direct application whenever possible. - Barrett McBride, Ph.D., MCC, Barrett McBride & Associates

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