16 Pros and Cons of Using a Recruiter to Find a Job

Some job searches are easy. You quickly find promising opportunities online, submit your application, fly through the hiring process, and are soon starting your new job.

Most of the time, though, finding the right job can be a real challenge. The excitement of making a career change or starting a new job can be overshadowed by the frustration of not getting interviews or job offers.

Working with a recruiter can streamline the process of helping you identify and land a great job. They can assist you with finding job opportunities that match your experience and skills, help you polish your resume, and, perhaps most importantly, means you do not have to job search alone.

What Are Job Recruiters?

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A recruiter’s job is to fill vacancies within a company. They can either work as an in-house recruiter for one company or for an agency, where they work with multiple businesses. If you have specialized skills or qualifications or work in a competitive industry, you may have recruiters reach out to you.

As a job seeker considering working with a recruiter, you will want to look for an agency recruiter to work with. In most cases, they won’t cost you a thing. The hiring company typically pays these recruiters, and they represent the client’s interest.

To find a recruiter, network with your contacts to find one who works with hiring managers in the industries that interest you. When possible, identify industry-specific recruiters. You’ll also want to look for an experienced communicator who isn’t afraid to give honest feedback about your resume or Zoom presence.

There are many ways that partnering with a recruiter can benefit you.

1. Pro: Recruiters Know Who’s Hiring

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You’ve probably heard that finding a job is all about who you know. If your recruiter is part of a search firm, they can share your resume with other prospective employers that are hiring. If you’re a great, highly sought-after candidate, one recruiter can send your resume to many clients, which can really benefit your job search!

2. Recruiters Help Candidates Access the Hidden Job Market

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A recruiter may be helpful in your job search because not all job openings are advertised on job boards or job search sites. Using a recruiter can dramatically expand your network, providing more access to the non-advertised positions that are part of the hidden job market. I didn’t believe that the hidden job market was real until I was on the other side, working for an employment agency where we often recommended people to fill these positions directly.

3. Recruiters Know More About the Companies That Are Hiring

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Recruiters are experienced and possess deep insight into the companies they are recruiting for. They know more about the organization (or at least they should) and can use this knowledge to better prepare how you are presented. They know what works and what doesn’t and can offer tips to improve your chances of success, like what specific skills each company wants to see on your resume.

4. Recruiters Give Feedback

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Although recruiters don’t write or rewrite resumes, they can give you feedback on your resume and cover letter, which you can use to revise your job search materials. Writing a strong resume takes time, effort, and know-how, so their advice is truly valuable.

5. Recruiters Provide Interview Guidance

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Preparing for a job interview can be rather intimidating. The best way to prepare for one is to practice. When working with a recruiter, they can guide you through the job interview process.

Because they have likely helped others interview for similar roles within the company before, recruiters will know what questions are asked during the interview. They will also know whether or not there are interview assignments or projects included in the hiring process so that you can be better prepared.

6. Recruiters Can Help to Create Future Opportunities

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Say a recruiter takes time to present your experience to a hiring manager, but you aren’t offered the job. In this case, they may add your profile to the firm’s talent pool to provide you with better access to future opportunities. That’s why it’s important to actively stay in touch with your recruiter during your job search.

7. Recruiters Have Access to Temporary Contracts or Trial Roles

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Your recruiter may offer temporary job options. If you’re open to this arrangement, it may be a great way for you to try out the company before committing to them. And if nothing else, it’s a paycheck while you continue to look for another job.

Not all recruiters or hiring companies extend this option to prospective candidates, though, so ask your recruiter about it if this interest you.

8. Recruiters Offer Free Services

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As already mentioned, you probably won’t be asked to pay a recruiter for their services. Because the hiring company will most likely pay a contingency or retainer search fee, their services are free to you.

9. Con: A Company Pays the Recruiter

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If you decide to hire a recruiter or an agency in your search for a new job, be aware of the potential downsides and limitations. The most obvious downside of working with a recruiter is that a hiring client typically pays them. Therefore, their interests rest with the hiring company and not with you, the prospective candidate.

10. Your Recruiter Has a Quota

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Most recruiters have a quota, so they are probably under pressure to meet the contract expectations. If the recruiter is paid on contingency (also called performance), this pressure might result in them sending you on interviews that aren’t really suitable for you.

In contrast, the opposite might occur if the recruiter feels that the client deserves only “perfect” candidates. If you’re missing any of the client’s preferred attributes, the recruiter might not ask the client to interview you at all.

11. You May Not Click with Your Recruiter

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On that same note, your recruiter may want as many resumes as possible for the initial presentation of candidates. However, your profile, background, or personality might not resonate with the recruiter.

This can be a problem for you. A recruiter may request your resume and fail to submit it to the hiring manager because they don’t think you meet the requirements.

12. You Are Not Their Only Client

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You are not the only person the recruiter is working with, so you may not get the attention or clarity you hoped for. If you are interested in a competitive field or role, they may also be assisting your direct competition for open vacancies.

13. What Happens Next?

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After sending the recruiter your resume, what happens next may be unclear. You won’t always know when the recruiter submitted your application or if they didn’t submit it at all.

If the recruiter doesn’t mention a timeline, it’s okay to follow up with them. Generally, you’ll want to connect once a week, but depending on how busy your recruiter is, they may not be available.

When possible, ask for a copy of the job description and the hiring company, but understand they may not be allowed to share the client’s identity.

14. They May Not Provide Feedback

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Ask the recruiter for feedback but know that they’re not obligated to share anything with you. In some cases, the recruiter may not have received any feedback about your candidacy from the company, so they can’t offer you any further insight, even if they wanted to.

15. Salary Negotiations Can Be a Problem

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Salary negotiations can also be problematic when a recruiter is involved. Your recruiter may be so eager to make the placement that they recommend lower than market compensation. You may be paid less than you deserve if you want the job, so do you research and know what a good salary is for the role before you agree to anything.

16. Never Rely on the Recruiter to Find Your New Job

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This is relatively obvious, but finding a new job is often hard work. It’s not your recruiter’s job to find you a job. Even if you’re working with more than one recruiter, don’t expect that they will.

That’s why you should diversify your job search strategy. To increase your odds of finding a great new job, don’t stop networking or applying on your own.

In short, realize the recruiter’s limitations and stay proactive during the job search process. This is your career, after all.

Should I Work with a Recruiter?

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Your decision to hire a recruiter might be yes (if you’ve found an experienced recruiter to drive the process) or no (if the recruiter’s performance with other candidates is unknown). But it’s really up to you.

If job searching on your own hasn’t landed you a new position, adding a recruiter to your job search strategy can certainly help – especially if it’s free!

How to Find a Recruiter

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So, you decided to give working with a recruiter a shot. Now how do you find the right one – or anyone, for that matter? Here are 9 ways to find a recruiter, plus tips on how to let recruiters find you!

Get Free Resume Help

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Working with a recruiter is just one of the many ways to get free support with your job search. With online resources and resume builders to social service and employment centers, there are many different ways to get free resume help.

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