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Open to Work: How to Best Leverage the Power of Recruiters

Updated: May 5, 2023

Businessperson wearing a suit is sitting at a desk in front of a large monitor while talking on the phone and taking notes.

There are countless strategies to employ during your job search, including getting great professional references, networking effectively, and capitalizing on your transferable skills. One strategy that intimidates some job seekers is harnessing the power of recruiters. Many job seekers shy away from recruiters because they are uncomfortable or unsure of the process. Most often, this discomfort stems from a lack of understanding of how to work with recruiters and the potential benefits such a relationship could bring. We interviewed several local professionals about their recent experiences to get a first-hand account of the process and to answer some of the top questions people have about working with recruiters.

One of the first questions that many job seekers have regarding recruiters is how to get in touch with them. Our interviewees had some great advice: “The best way to get in touch with recruiters is to let them get in touch with you”.

One of the easiest ways to make yourself available to recruiters is to use professional networking sites, including LinkedIn.

Our interviewees were amazed at how many recruiters contacted them after just changing their LinkedIn status to “looking for work”. This simple step resulted in a nearly overwhelming response of recruiters reaching out to them and offering their services.

With the potential of a wide variety of recruiters to choose from, the next question to consider is how to choose which recruiter to work with. One important consideration is how the recruiter will be compensated. The majority of professional recruiters are paid 30 to 90 days after placing a candidate and are typically known as contingency recruiters. There are also many recruiters who are paid in advance of placing candidates; these specialists commonly deal with executive positions and fall into the retained recruiter category.

In either case, it is critical to ensure that the recruiter you choose is focused on and invested in finding you a job based on your strengths and interests.

We also asked our interviewees about the different offers they received from recruiters. They advocated prioritizing recruiters who have a job in mind when they contact you over those who are just building a candidate pool, as that makes it clear that they have done their research and are trying to establish a genuine relationship.

Once a job seeker has made the decision to use a recruiter, there are some key points to keep in mind. We asked our interviewees about the most critical things to focus on. They discussed the significance of making sure the recruiter understands your career goals, talents and skills, and the type of position you are looking for. “Be honest about whether the jobs they recommend for you are a good fit” as it helps the recruiter hone in on appropriate jobs for you.

Another important thing to remember is that many recruiters work with specific companies and that their relationship with the company can elevate your status as an applicant. Make sure to tell your recruiter if you find an opportunity outside of the options they offer you and ask if they work with that company as well. Continuing to search independently while working with a recruiter can sometimes increase your chances of finding an exciting opportunity.

Also, remember that the services of a recruiter do not end when you get a job offer. In fact, recruiters can be a valuable resource in the negotiation and closing process.

There are many benefits to working with recruiters. They can find job opportunities that would not otherwise be available to job seekers and can leverage their relationships with client companies to an applicant’s advantage. With a better understanding of how to find recruiters that are best suited to your needs, you can move forward with confidence using this knowledge as yet another resource in your job search arsenal.


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