Do you like stereotypes? Most people don’t but there are usually stereotypes for a reason. For instance, let’s say there has been a serial killer on the loose in your area. Should they be primarily investigating old black women or should they primarily focus on white guys in their 30s and 40s? There are exceptions but most stereotypes exist for a reason.
The same thing is true with recruiters but a recruiter is not a recruiter is not a recruiter. Does it matter to you as a candidate? It should. There are three main categories: Head Hunters, Agency and Corporate.
They are the hired guns of the old west. Think of them as Hitch. They can work for a company or the candidate. Usually they are contracted by the company but they usually specialize in a field. They frequently have contacts in that field and have place people in a specific sector in the past; accounting, logistics, HR, etc… They also usually work on higher level openings, VP, C-Suite or E-Suite positions. They are also frequently full of themselves and they charge A LOT of money. I am not saying they are not good at what they do, many are but in my experience they do the minimum it takes to get the job done. They are like realtors, they generally want to show you a house you will buy, but not necessarily the best house for you. Many times they work on an exclusive contract with an employer.
These folks are the deputies of the old west. They set up dates for people. They are sales people. They first have to sell the company on using them, then they sell the position to the candidate, then they sell the company on the candidate. Competition is fierce and you can also draw analogies to bounty hunters. These are usually the people that call you and say something like “would you be interested in a conversation about an exciting new opportunity in….” I am not saying this is bad, it is what it is. They usually deal with a much greater volume of candidates and openings than a head-hunter.
The corporate recruiter works for the company with the opening. I am a fan of these people in large part because this is most of my background. If they hire you they will be your co-worker. But, unfortunately, many of them do this just to get into HR. You see, corporate recruiters are many times the bastard offspring of HR. You hear things like “recruiting is all personality.” “HR is a true profession.” It similar to accounting and sales. You hear accountant blast “a dollar saved is as good as a dollar earned.” Not so. You can always make more money through sales, savings have an end point.
So, if you are a candidate, how to you tell where a recruiter’s loyalties lie? It is hard to do. It is similar to us trying to figure out if you can and want to do the job we are recruiting for. I think a magic 8-ball is involved a lot. Many companies, including Google are always looking for a better widget to decide who is will be a great employee. Just read Work Rules. Google has had several iterations of their selection process and I am sure they will have several more. Each one will be a shiny new coin that everyone will love until it tarnishes.
Unfortunately, as you may have learned by now, I do not have all the answers. I just try to give you more information to help you in your job search.
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships