What You Need to Know About Working with External Recruiters

When you started your career, you may have received new job opportunities by dealing with a company’s Human Resources department directly. Now that you’ve reached an executive level, you’re starting to realize that the process may be a bit different. Simply put, you may be running into more agencies and headhunters than ever before.

When it comes to higher level positions, companies often times outsource the task to external recruiters. These recruiters get paid by the employer to find the best candidate for the job. The information that follows will help you to understand how external recruiters operate, how to avoid misunderstandings during the hiring process and may even lead to your next great job opportunity.


External recruiters do not typically help you with the hiring process.

TheLadders polled a group of recruiters and asked them how job seekers could improve their relationship with them. One major complaint was that job seekers did not understand the role of an external recruiter.

An external recruiter is not getting paid to help you with the hiring process. That is to say, they aren’t really there to teach you how to write a proper resume or coach you for an interview. They are simply there to screen candidates for their clients. With that in mind, if you are clearly not the right person for the job do not try to convince them otherwise. This will only sabotage your chances of working with them in the future.


External recruiters will conceal the employer’s identity.

Do not be alarmed if an executive recruiter cannot give you a company name off the bat as this is completely normal.

External recruiters cannot tell you which company is hiring unless you come in for a screening and advance to the next step. They are protecting the identity of the employer who has specifically hired them to take care of the process.


External recruiting companies vary in many ways.

No two recruiters are the same. Recruitment firms vary in terms of policy, environment, and even the kinds of jobs they have available.

It would benefit the job seeker to know which kind of recruiter they are working with and then approach them accordingly. (Note: If the job ad was posted by external recruiters it should say so somewhere within the ad. You can use this information to research them.)


Recruiters are not the final decision makers.

You must understand that external recruiters are not the decision makers when it comes to an available position. While they do often times have input, the final decision always lies with the company. That being said, recruiters will be a very strong advocate for you when the company is in the process of making big hiring decisions.


There are several advantages to working with external recruiters.

While some people may be skeptical of external recruiters, the reality is that there are several advantages to working with one. For instance, if you are introduced to the company that’s a good indication to the employer that you are solid candidate.

Recruiters also often times have information about company culture, especially if they’ve worked with the company in the past. This allows them to coach you on what you may encounter.

Overall, there’s really only one major difference when working with external recruiters: you have to get screened before interviewing with the company. Everything else about good job hunting practices remains the same.

Be Well!



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