5 Executive Job Candidate Backgrounds 3rd Party Recruiters Typically Cannot Help

job candidateTwice recently I was asked to make an introduction to any third party recruiters I know who might help the inquirer land the job they sought.

I am asked this question several times per week, since I was a third party recruiter for 13 years and my company is endorsed by dozens of recruiters.

So people know I know people.

However, not everyone can be placed by a third party recruiter.

Why? Companies hire third party recruiters and pay them a premium to find executive candidates doing the exact job they need done. If a company wants to pay 25% of a salary as a fee to a recruiter to find specific talent, the company doesn’t want to see candidates that could do the job, but not currently doing the job.

It’s simple supply and demand economics.

I list 5 types of executive job candidate backgrounds below that cannot typically be placed by third party recruiters.

<Note: this list is not exhaustive. I am certain I am probably missing a background or two that a third party recruiter cannot help.  And the list is also not absolute. I’m sure third party recruiters have helped an occasional person with a background listed here based on their relationship with a particular company. However, this article is stemming from my personal experience as a 13-year third party recruiter and the opinions of the numerous recruiters I hear from in my network. Additionally, not being helped by a third party recruiter doesn’t mean these candidates are unemployable. It means these candidates need to find a job using a different tactic, which I outline at the end of the list>

Here is the list of 5 job candidate backgrounds and the why behind a third party recruiter being unable to help:

(1)   Current Entrepreneurs:

As long as you are an entrepreneur in your most recent job, a third party recruiter will have a hard time presenting your background to justify the company paying a fee. The company didn’t want to pay a fee for someone comfortable working for themselves. They could leave. They didn’t want to risk it – especially after paying a fee. Companies want entrepreneurial candidates—but they don’t want actual entrepreneurs in most cases.


(2)   Long-Term Unemployed Candidates:

There are two reasons why a recruiter cannot help this candidate.  The first reason is a third party recruiter doesn’t exist to partner with a candidate to find them a dream job. Recruiters are paid by a company to find a specific talent and skill set. Third party recruiters should never be paid by a candidate to find a dream job and they certainly can’t spend that time to help a candidate for free. Recruiters have to eat, too. And the second reason is (and it won’t be popular to say, but it’s the truth), a company isn’t going to pay a 25% fee for a 10-month unemployed candidate when they can get the candidate themselves off of LinkedIn.


(3)   Returning-to-work Candidates:

Anyone coming back to work from a multi-year period break from professional employment. The reason doesn’t matter: Stay-at-home parent, care for sick parent, sailed on a boat for a couple of years, returned to get a degree, personal tragedy – the reason doesn’t matter. A company pays a fee to a third party recruiter to find someone currently doing the job, not someone whose skills are two years or more away from the work force.


(4)   Career changers:

Piggybacking off the prior rationale, a company wants to pay a fee to a recruiter to find someone currently doing the exact job well. If you are a Finance Manager wanting to shift into marketing leadership role, you are new at this job – so a company isn’t going to pay a fee for you to learn a new job. They want a proven commodity. So even if you received a recent marketing degree, demonstrate strong liaison work with marketing professionals and do your own marketing work on the side, a third party recruiter can’t help you. Now you could get a job directly through a company willing to give you a chance, but the company won’t pay a fee to give you that chance.


(5)   Jumpy candidates:

Candidates with multiple short term direct hire jobs will struggle to get presented by a third party recruiter. Unfair – yes, I know, but a reality. Great recruiters will know the tough companies to work for and have relationships to possibly get you an interview, but this is uncommon. The bottom line is companies don’t want to pay a fee for someone who has a record of not sticking around long – even if it’s not from the candidate’s initiative why the jobs ended. Pattern is pattern – and they don’t typically want to pay a fee for jumpy backgrounds.

You don’t have to like these reasons, but they are true.

I say them not to be mean, but to help candidates that fall into these background categories not spin their wheels and end up interview-less and flustered.

Here is the good news:

Only 10% of hires happen through 3rd party recruiters. Sites like JobVite, CareerXRoads, SHRM will show you this research.

Most hires are made through employee referrals, social media connections, personal contacts and, lastly, job postings.

90% of hires happen this way. Even at the executive level.

Asking a third party recruiter to find you a job for 90% of people is futile.

I hope this helps you allocate your job search time on the right activities.

If you need to reassess your job search activities and come up with a better plan, especially if you fall into one of the categories I mention above, look to hire us for The Ultimate Job Search Audit.

Let us critique your documents and job search activities. We can set you on the right path to doing the right activities to land interviews for your background.

This way you can get hired using the tactics that result in how 90% of hires are made.

Stop going to the auto repair shop to buy milk.

Recalibrate your job search and start doing the right job search activities using our Ultimate Job Search Audit: https://chameleonresumes.com/ultimate-job-search

Be well!


Lisa Rangel – Executive Resume Writing Services

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About Lisa

Lisa Rangel and The Chameleon Team are the only executive resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and job landing consultancy who has been hired by LinkedIn and recognized by Forbes. Our 4-Stage META Job Landing System stems from decades of corporate and executive recruiting experience to position you to land your next 6 or 7-figure role faster.


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