Job recruiters locate candidates on behalf of the company who hires them. It is similar to military recruiters and college recruiters but they focus on the business world finding employees for clients and are sometimes called head hunters. More to the point, the objective of a job recruiter is to find top candidates the company/client would not otherwise find or be able to contact.
If you are considering using an executive search firm , you will find there are any number of executive recruiters out there and it can be difficult to figure out who does what. Simply put recruiters or search firms can be broken down into two major categories and a number of subordinates. The two major categories are contingency and retained search firms. Some firms do both but their major focus is often one or the other.
A contingency search is where a recruiter or head hunter does not get paid until they provide a candidate that is hired by their client, you. A retained search is where the recruiter is hired by the client, you, to find candidates. Some or all of the fee for this service is paid up front, with the balance if any due at the time of hire. They both have their pluses and minuses. For have a look at the page on contingency vs retained for more information on why you might consider one over the other.
The really good job recruiters often are specialists. This allows them to know a specific market and keep a Rolodex of the top candidates within this field or market. Some specialize in a region others specialize in a field of expertise. Some areas of specialty include;
This is not to say that a generalist is not helpful or useful. Generalists are often acquainted with a specific region of the country or metro area. They have numerous contacts and a good sense of the local market. The generalist is also good for filling numerous different kinds of positions. The generalist is sometimes more flexible about quantity recruiting and fees. If you hire a number of different specialties, having a good generalist can be better than a number of specialists.
I get this all the time. Cost means many different things to different people. Here's the short of it, learn all you can about recruiting fees and ask lots of questions about how the fees are structured. Everything is negotiable. However there is one word of caution, recruiters are entrepreneurs, they will often work on the search that has the highest potential for a quick and profitable return. This does not necessarily mean the highest fee so take care to find out how many orders they are currently working on and negotiate accordingly!
Final Thoughts on Working with a Search Firm
A good recruiter can be your best friend in the world. When top talent becomes available, a good recruiter with whom you have a good working relationship can get you access to that talent before he or she hits the streets. Also a good recruiter can find you the people that you would have no access to in normal situations.
The next thing to remember, when shopping executive search firms, look for 2 things, does the recruiter you talk to ask a lot of questions about the job like, the history, the importance, the success factors etc? and do they understand the function of a recruiter is to bring value and a high return on investment. Good job recruiters will do both.
If you have questions about recruiters/head hunters or executive search firms and what makes sense when talking to a new one, please leave me a comment and I'll be happy to let you know what I think or you can certainly contact one of the specialists noted in this section.
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