Are recruitment consultants for real?

by K B , updated on February 10, 2011

Recruitment Consultants FAQ

Scott Black is a construction recruiter in Sydney and the founder of Black & Co. I asked him to comment on my post about whether recruitment consultants will work hard for you if you’re registered with other agencies. He’s done more than that. He’s also answered some of the most common questions I’m asked from job seekers.  My main take out of his comments is that you as a job seeker have to remember that you have power in the recruitment process. You can choose who represents you. You have to “man up,” to use a slightly sexist term ;-).

But enough from me, let’s put Scott under the spotlight.

When does a recruiter actually represent you?

I’m always surprised when people assume that just because they have submitted a resume or have met with a recruitment consultant that they are automatically represented by this person. I meet with potential candidates every day who tell me they have never met the recruiter or provided references but that recruiter is out in the market place talking to potential employers on their behalf. The fact the recruiter is not meeting with the person or checking the details of a resume amazes me but that’s another blog post all together. You have every right to decline their representation at any stage if you are not comfortable with that person.

Do all the jobs recruiters advertise, actually exist?

I also constantly hear negative comments about the reputation of recruiters. One major question I’m asked is whether the jobs they post on various job boards actually exist. My advice to jobseekers is to interview the recruiter before they interview you. Ask them about their background and details of the job posted. In my experience it is normally a very good sign if the person you speak to has worked in the industry they now recruit in. They have a deeper understanding of the role, but more importantly are generally more passionate about the industry they chose to spend a major part of their life in. I find recruiters that come from a sales background tend to think they are selling people as a commodity and not trying to make intelligent matches for the benefit of you and the client.

What can you do when recruiters will not tell you the name of the company?

When you call a recruiter you may find that most recruiters do not want to give you details of the company or location of a role. You can still ask about the core competencies the company requires so you can get a feel for the legitimacy of both the position and the recruiter. If you are happy to be represented for that role it does not mean you are fair game for anything else they feel you are suited for. Always ask to be informed of any potential employer’s details prior to your resume being sent there.

What does it mean if the recruiter does not want to meet with you?

If a recruiter does not want to meet you in person but is willing to send your details to potential employers it is a very bad sign. I estimate that about 70% of people that come to see me that are registered with another recruiter have never met them. My question to those recruiters is how can they be effective in their job if they fail to perform the fundamental processes of recruitment?

Overall my advice is to find someone you are comfortable with and let them work with you for a positive outcome. Maybe give them a 2-3 week period of exclusivity before you seek further representation.  Remember that being with poor recruiters actually negates what the good ones can do for you.

K B

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