The great divide between job seekers and recruiters stems from the fact that many candidates don’t fully understand what recruiters do and more importantly, how they’re paid.
Many candidates complain that recruiters aren’t responsive enough to their calls and concerns and many recruiters complain that candidates are too demanding.
“They don’t understand that we don’t work for them,” said Greg Bennett, a headhunter at the Mergis Group in Cary, N.C. “We work for the client.”
A review of the different types of recruiters, their role and their compensation may improve your relationship with the profession and make your job search more pleasant.
Executive recruiters (see below) may appear to be on the company’s side, but that can work in your favor, said Harold Laslo, an executive recruiter at Aldan Troy in New York. The longer a recruiter has worked with the hiring company, the better he’s able to evaluate your candidacy, he said.
Types of Recruiters:
- Corporate Recruiters work directly for a hiring company. They are generally salaried or contract employees of the company and typically report to the Human Resources department.
- Executive Recruiters, also called external recruiters, are third parties, either self-employed individuals or an agency, retained by a company to fill positions. They are generally focused on a specific profession or industry, but often recruit for multiple clients. They are paid by the hiring company usually for a flat fee agreed on before they start their search, but can earn commission or bonus based on benchmarks.
- Contingency Recruiters, also called headhunters, are self-employed individuals or an agency, who work on their own to gather hit lists of good candidates then work to place them at a company. Like a realtor, a candidate signs on to work with a head hunter (you can work with multiple headhunters), but if the headhunter lands you a job, they receive a commission – 10 to 30 percent of your first-year compensation – paid by the company. The headhunter’s relationship is with candidate and it is in their best interest to win the candidate a large salary, but their primary role is to please the hiring company enough to the fill position in the first place. One pitfall of working with a headhunter is that it can “put a price on your head.” Any company that hires you will need to add the headhunter’s commission on top of your salary.
- Executive Agents are the rare exception to the rule. An executive agent is retained directly by the candidate to land them a job. Many recruiters say this is how most candidates envision the relationship, but without the expense of paying for their services. Like an agent for athletes, actors and authors, the executive agent usually gets a cut of your salary as payment.
- Career Coaches are not recruiters, but consultants who help a candidate improve their performance in various aspects of the job search such as interviewing, resume writing and networking. The candidate pays a flat fee of hourly rate. Career coaches are a separate entity and often work in conjunction with all four types of recruiter.
For more on the role of executive recruiters read these stories on TheLadders Career Advice: