Recruiting advice from the front lines

What’s does a Recruiter even do?!

For my first post I thought I would focus on helping you navigate what a Recruiter does, what they are here for, who they serve and why.


What do Recruiters do?

A completely valid question, and its a bit more complicated to answer than one would think; there are two camps which a recruiter typically falls in, Corporate and Agency, and while the core functions of their jobs are the same their approach is vastly different. As with any job, there are “good” and “bad” people; there’s no degree to truly prepare you for being a Recruiter, though I suspect someone who has studied journalism would do well. Recruiting is riddled with good and bad habits, and many of them stem from the fact that Recruiters are tasked with a LOT.


Agency Recruiters:

Every agency structures how their teams work a little differently, but one consistent theme across firms is that they have open positions to fill with their clients. Agency recruiters have the benefit of being able to represent a candidate across many industries with a wide range of companies, but their number one priority is meeting the needs of their client. When going through an agency, your recruiter is most likely working on many different open roles at once in addition to the on-boarding of employees, managing customer relationships, client meetings, other interviews and a myriad of odds and ends that get thrown their way.

As a recruiter at 3 different agencies my biggest concern was always, billing the customer as much as possible; typically agencies will bill a percentage above whatever your hourly rate is, or a flat hourly rate for temporary or contract services. Some agencies are great, they have amazing recruiters who care about you and making sure you’re in the right place for you that offer time off and benefits, others do not, so just be mindful.

Corporate Recruiters:

Corporate recruiters work in teams that are structured a bit differently than that of their agency counterparts, typically there are additional support personnel to help them out, this consists of Sourcers, Recruiting Coordinators and any other combination of HR/Recruiting functions. A corporate recruiter will usually take a different approach, focusing on candidate experience and finding the best possible person for their open roles, spending the bulk of their time talking to candidates to determine company fit and coordinating the extension of formal employment offers.

A corporate recruiter isn’t motivated by bonuses or incentive plans like their agency counterpart, they take pleasure in having happy hiring managers. Another key difference is that corporate recruiters are generally assigned a specific niche, like Hardware Engineers, Software Development, Finance, Customer Service and any combination imaginable and are usually for W2 positions directly for their company.


This of course is not a complete picture of the daily life of a recruiter or even a fraction of the things we are responsible for, but can give you some insight into the differences between the two.


What purpose do recruiters serve?

Recruiters are here regardless of whether they are agency, or corporate to help facilitate the meeting of talent with hiring teams. No matter what the driving force behind our efforts is, we perform an integral function for many businesses across the globe.

We aren’t just the smiling faces you see at career fairs or the people you have to talk to in order to get in front of the person who really makes the decisions and knows all the intimate details about a department or a role. When a recruiter is aligned with a team, they get to know the ins and outs of the job, and often help out HR or whomever is responsible for writing job descriptions ensure that they accurately reflect what is actually needed to be successful in the position.

Recruiters are out there, talking to hundreds or perhaps even thousands of people a year; we are constantly gathering market information regarding total compensation, working environments, technologies, domain specific knowledge. A truly great recruiter will confuse you with their surprisingly in-depth knowledge about things that you know and love, and that is because they see the value in being able to connect with you beyond words on a sheet of paper or a cheesy headshot on your LinkedIn profile.

There are a lot of people out there who say to “ignore the recruiter, go directly to the hiring manager”, this is not an approach that I suggest, and here is why. The recruiter for the position you want, at the amazing company working with all the tools and techniques that you’re just dying to work with, actually knows the people you want to talk to – they will be your advocate. All recruiters are not made the same, and neither are all corporate hiring practices; just because one company requires their recruiter to ensure every person they send over to the hiring manager meets 80% or more of their “requirements” doesn’t mean the next company will.

As an example, at my company our recruiters are rarely given carte blanche to decide if someone makes it into the next step of our hiring process or not; we leave that up to people who would be doing the job alongside them. While this approach does allow a few more people than normal to get precious developer time, it allows us to filter-in rather than filter-out and ultimately, make better hiring decisions.

Recruiters are your advocates throughout the hiring process, we are here to challenge people who might otherwise callously shrug off your credentials, we do this because we have taken the time to get to know you and we believe in you. Sometimes it may not appear this way, as we are all human and occasionally get distracted, but I assure you – it is true, and does happen (frequently, in my case)


Why do recruiters do what they do?

A question I ask every candidate, and the answers for every person are always vastly different so I will say why I personally love doing what I do.

I am fulfilled when I have the ability to help positively shape peoples lives… When I help someone leave a company that just isn’t a good fit for them, I smile. When I help someone who has been under-paid for years, land a position with great benefits and pay, I smile. When I help build a team, who is going to work on amazing things that will enrich other peoples lives, I smile.


In closing, remember that while you may not  always understand what we do, or not always have the best experience, we are all people. If you have a great experience with a Recruiter, share it, if you have a bad experience, learn from it and provide your feedback and move on.

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