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August 21, 2017

How Recruiters Can Help Your Job Hunt

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How Recruiters Can Help Your Job Hunt

By Diane Kulseth, Digital Marketing Associate

When you're deep in the midst of your job search, it's easy to feel like you're on your own -- just you and your resume , against the millions of other job-seekers.

But you actually have an ally out there: Recruiters. Some recruiters work with hiring managers at companies, others work as headhunters at a third-party firm -- but their goal is the same: to fill an open position with the right person.

And if they think you're that person, they can be a huge help in getting your resume to the top of the hiring manager's pile. Here's everything you need to know about recruiters -- from what they do to how to find them -- to make the most of that relationship.

The Corporate Recruiter

Who They Are

A corporate recruiter is tasked with screening candidates and filling open positions at the company for which she works. Larger companies often have multiple recruiters for all types of positions and levels of experience, while smaller companies may only have one.

How to Find Them

Typically, a corporate recruiter will find you, either after you submit your resume to the company or by coming across your profile on a professional networking site. You can also contact a recruiter directly to inquire about an open position or to request an informational interview -- many job postings will list the name of the recruiter working on the position, or you can search for people on LinkedIn.

How it Works

If a recruiter thinks you might be a fit for a position, they'll contact you to ask some basic questions or conduct a pre-screening interview, usually over the phone. Then, if they think you're a good candidate, they'll pass your application along to the hiring manager. If you're selected for an interview, the recruiter will often coordinate the meeting, follow up with you as the process continues, and even send you the official offer.

How to Make the Most of It

Assume that any contact with a corporate recruiter is part of the formal interview process. So, show up on time, dress the part, and if they ask you specific questions about your background and what you're looking for, target your answers to the specific company and position.

Also make sure that you follow up regularly. If they ask you for any materials or work samples, send them right away. Send a thank-you note after each interview. And if you haven't heard back yet, or aren't sure where things are in the hiring process, don't be afraid to check back in.

Finally, don't lose hope if you're not immediately placed within the company. Most corporate recruiters will keep your resume on file and contact you if a future position matches your skills.

The Contingency Recruiter

Who They Are

Unlike the corporate recruiter, the contingency recruiter -- aka "headhunter" -- works independently of the hiring company, often at a staffing firm. They're contracted by a company to fill a position, but are only compensated if they find the candidate who's hired.

How to Find Them

Similar to the corporate recruiter, they'll often reach out to you via professional networking sites (and they're usually more receptive than corporate recruiters to being contacted directly). If you reach out, make sure you choose someone who specializes in your field or industry, as they'll have the best connections and openings. And you can definitely work with multiple recruiters at the same time -- don't choose one who wants an exclusive agreement from you.

There are many great staffing firms out there. Ask your contacts or do a quick Google search, then, give them a call, asking if you can be put in touch with a recruiter.

How it Works

The recruiter will call you in for an informational-style interview, either in person or over the phone, to get a sense of your background and career goals. After the interview, they'll contact you if they have a r position that might be a good fit.

At this point, you can decide whether or not you want to be considered. Once you give the green light, the recruiter will send your resume on to the company and help coordinate any interviews. If at any point the company rejects you from continuing on in the hiring process, the recruiter will pass on their feedback.

How to Make the Most of It

As you're going through the process, be honest and open about your background, goals, and how you feel about the positions the recruiter sends your way. It's in both of your best interest that you end up somewhere that will be a good fit, so if the position doesn't sound right to you, ask more about it or let the recruiter know your specific concerns.

Also, stay in close contact with your recruiter. Follow up every few weeks if you haven't heard from them. And if you find a job on your own, respect their time by letting them know.

Which One Should You Choose?

Wondering which type of recruiter you should work with? If you have your eyes set on working at a specific company , reach out to a corporate recruiter. If you have a couple companies in mind, but are open to other opportunities, too, contact corporate recruiters, but also meet with a contingency recruiter, too. If you have no idea what companies would even be a fit for your area of expertise, a contingency recruiter will definitely be your best bet.

Of course, working with a recruiter isn't a guarantee that you'll get hired -- but it can help you out by giving you insider information, finding job openings you don't see elsewhere, and landing your resume to the top of the pile. And at the very least, it'll make the job search process a little less lonely.

Diane Kulseth is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas currently working at Three Deep Marketing as an Interactive Marketing Associate. She has worked with numerous career organizations such as the St. Thomas Career Development Center, the Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development and the National Society for Hispanic MBAs. Follow Diane on Twitter @dianekulseth

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