LinkedIn reports that social professional networks are the #1 source of quality hires followed by internet job boards and employee referrals. Recruiters fill anywhere from 5-10% of all job openings. So, why use a recruiter? The infinite reach of the internet can be confusing and mind-numbing for you and the hiring companies. A recruiter with the right answers to the following six questions can provide you with greater access, greater information and the targeted support you won’t find elsewhere.


1. Are You a Niche Recruiter or a Generalist?

Generalists have to find you when they have a job that fits you. They may only ever have one job that fits you. You want a niche recruiter in YOUR niche. Visit their website and their job board. See how they brand themselves on the website and how many jobs they have on their job board that are interesting and appealing to you. If they have more than one, this is a recruiter to pursue.

2. What Are Your Metrics?

If they are unwilling to answer these questions, don’t work with them. How long has your firm been in business? How long have you been recruiting in this niche? How many clients do you have? What companies do you work with? What locations do you have positions in?

3. Who Pays Your Fee?

Never, never, never work with a recruiting firm that wants to charge you, the candidate. Recruiter’s fees are paid by the hiring company once you have been hired and started your new job. The fees are substantial and contingent on you accepting the company’s offer. This is the incentive for the recruiter to work on your behalf. They only get paid when you take the job.

4. Does the Recruiter Seem Wise, Honest and Trustworthy?

Does the recruiter interview you comprehensively? Do they want to know what interests you as well as asking pertinent questions about your skill set? Every industry has its own jargon and abbreviations. Do they know them? Do they understand which skills are important for your career niche and do they ask about them? Your gut reaction to their behavior is important. If you feel they are honest and worthy of your trust, as well as understand your niche, work with them!

5. Will You Get My Approval Before Submitting my Resume to your Clients?

You don’t want to work with a resume mill. There are recruiters that send every resume to every client. We aren’t sure why companies continue to work with them, but they certainly don’t give the profession a good name. A good, wise, trustworthy recruiter will get your approval before they submit your resume anywhere. It is in their interests as well. Why send your resume to a client you aren’t interested in working for?

6. What Do You Do During the Interview Process?

Your recruiter should not only confirm your interview day and time, but should offer you in-depth information about who you will be meeting with, inside information about the position, the company and the hiring manager, the reason the position is open and advice about how to handle any salary questions. They should take your post-interview feedback and the client’s post-interview feedback and manage any issues that may have come up when both sides are still interested in proceeding. They should prepare the client with your compensation expectations and inform you of what is feasible and not feasible. They should shepherd you through the offer, background check and reference processes. Their inside track with the client should pay off for you and the client.


Interested in starting a job search? Contact the recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates. For the Midwest, Nancy Darian at [email protected]. For the East and West Coasts, Paul Chatlos at [email protected].


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