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Previous lack of success: The company did an earlier search and didn’t get the candidates they were looking for.
Limited internal resources: The employer is looking for a niche or scarce skill set and does not have the internal expertise or resources to do the search.
Speed: Recruiters can often have a short list of skilled candidates for clients to review in a matter of days.
For junior or entry level position most companies will typically hire directly, says Karen Pooley from People First HR Services Ltd. in Winnipeg. “However, when it comes to difficult to fill critical roles, they will more often use a recruitment firms.”
But if a recruiter contacts you, it’s important to ask whether his firm has an “exclusive” or “non-exclusive” relationship with the prospective employer. An exclusive relationship exists when one agency has the contract to conduct the search. In a non-exclusive situation, several agencies may be seeking candidates for the same job.
A non-exclusive arrangement could undermine your chances of getting the job says hospitality industry recruiter Norman Wolfson. “If competing agencies are fighting over who will represent you, in the end you may lose out.”
Because recruiters often get dozens of resumés for the same position, once you send in a resumé, Wolfson says it’s important to follow up at least once a week. “The squeaky wheel really does get the grease.”
Recruiters are typically paid a percentage of your base starting salary plus bonus, which can range from 15 to 30 per cent or more, depending on the nature of the position and the contract between the agency and the employer.
While a hefty commission could impact your starting pay, most employers know they have to pay market salaries to remain competitive. But Poole acknowledges that sometimes, particularly in smaller companies, paying outside recruiters can drive down compensation for the position.
An offer of employment will be communicated to you by the recruiter on behalf of his client. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. “Depending on company policy and your seniority, there may be some wiggle room regarding salary and possibly an extra week of vacation,” says Wolfson.
Related: The ins and outs of vacation pay
Always keep in mind that the hiring company is paying the recruiter’s bill. The contract between the agency and the company will typically offer a “guarantee” on the placement which can be anywhere from three months, to six months or even longer. This means if you leave before the end of the guarantee period, the recruiter will lose all or part of the commission.
So don’t think that if you are unhappy in your new job that the recruiter will welcome you with open arms and consider you for another position with a different company. “”Our rule is that if we place a candidate, we cannot solicit any candidate from the organization, and absolutely not the individual that we place there, ever,” says Poole.
For further hints on working with a recruiter see People First’s 5 tips for candidates which can be downloaded here and Norm Wolfson’s Tips on how to get a job.
Related: How to use LinkedIn to get a job