How Do Recruiters Work?


how recruiters work

You know that the economy is crazy right now, that the CRE talent war is escalating, and that it can be challenging to find the right hire or open position. You know that recruiters are said to be the best way to cut through the white noise and identify the ideal opportunity. But what you may not know is how recruiters work.


There is a lot of mystery surrounding the art and science of headhunting. But really, the average, effective recruiting firm follows a basic process to match the best talent with the best positions. So, if you’ve ever wondered just how a recruiter goes about making these matches, keep reading. Let’s look at key elements that make up just how recruiters work.


What Do Recruiters Do?

Of course, recruiters match talent with open positions. But just what is the process of effective recruiting?


As a rule, recruiters maintain a database of professionals, whether on the bench or currently employed. They routinely make contact with the people in this network to discuss opportunities, industry needs, compensation norms, and other strategic insights.


In other words, they stay in the know. They are on the front lines of hiring for their industry, and when a position comes open, they can leverage their database to yield a slate of qualified candidates. These databases can be sorted by a myriad of filters and parameters, based on the specifications provided by the clients.


By analyzing resumes and advising both employers and candidates, the recruiter acts as a go-between and matchmaker. They are both a strategic advisor and your inside scoop.


How Recruiters Work for Candidates

If you are a professional interested in working with a recruiter, you need to understand how recruiters work for you and just what it means to work with a recruiter as a candidate.


First off, it’s important to note that recruiters technically work for the company doing the hiring. In other words, they are paid by the employer, not the candidate. This means they are free for you. And though you don’t cut them a check, you can avail yourself of numerous services through the process.


When you submit your resume or CV to a recruiter, be accurate about your skills, compensation expectations, etc. When a recruiter learns of an opening, the first thing they will likely do is search their database. If the position is offering $100,000 annual salary, but you’ve said your minimum is $110,000, your resume likely won’t come up.


When a recruiter surfaces your resume as a potential match, they will reach out to you, typically via phone, but often via email, too. Talk freely with them about your expectations and goals, work/life balance needs and company culture requirements. Recruiters guard the confidentiality of everyone they speak to, and they can be a great sounding board for what you would like from your next career move.


If they choose to present you to the client, they may not reach back out immediately. They are likely discussing your qualifications with the client and waiting for definite feedback. Don’t bug them, but do reach out after a few days to get a status update if you hear nothing back. When you are selected for an interview, a recruiter will likely help you prepare. Listen, ask questions, and take advantage of this free resource.


How Recruiters Work for Employers

If you represent a company in need of rockstar talent, developing a relationship with a recruiter could be your smartest move. But how recruiters work for you may not be clear just yet.


To start with, there are two types of recruiters: contingent and retained. Retained recruiters are typically reserved for high-level, C-suite positions. Retained recruiters are paid up front or on a schedule. For entry-level to middle-senior positions, contingent recruiters are more common. Rather than being paid for their effort, they are only paid for results.


A contingent recruiter in the CRE industry will closely study your candidate requirements and put forward only the best candidates. Because they only get paid if their candidate is hired (typically 30-90 days after to ensure a long-term fit), and because hiring companies sometimes field candidates from multiple recruiters, contingency firms are highly incentivized to surface the best match possible. And they are highly efficient at doing so.


And because they are paid only after their candidate is hired, there is no risk for a company to work with them. It’s exciting to realize that you can maximize your recruitment reach by working with multiple contingency recruiters and source the best match, risk free. While you consider the most qualified candidates, the recruiter will reach out to them on your behalf for clarifying info and to align expectations.


Recruiters are trusted partners in the hiring or job search process. By better understanding how recruiters work and what they can do for you, you’ll be able to get the maximum results and ensure long-term success in your career or company.

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