Recruiters: Not your agents

This is an important topic that I want to hit on early because it's beyond important. And because I think that many, many job seekers don't get this:

Recruiters? We are not your agents.

We aren't sitting at our desks with a roster of favorite candidates, madly dialing up companies to find the perfect job for you. (That, my friend, is YOUR job.)

I know that can be frustrating to hear. Especially when you're in that "Oh shit, I just got canned" manic panic mode. (This, by the way, usually hits just about three days after a layoff, shortly after you've cleared out your surplus of Johnny Walker Red and Ding Dongs.)

But it's the truth, and you shall prevail if you understand how recruiters work before you waste a minute calling every one you've ever talked to.

Generally speaking, recruiting firms get hired by corporations with open positions that they're struggling to fill. Sometimes, this relationship is formed as a retained search; more often today, a contingency search.

What this means to you is this:

Recruiting agencies (and their recruiters) make money by finding the perfect candidates for the open positions that said corporations need filled. When the agency finds the match, the corporation pays the agency a percentage of that candidate's base salary, often between 15-25%. If we don't find the match? It's donuts.

And it's often a race, because recruiting agencies are frequently pitted against other agencies to fill positions. Speed wins.

Given this, recruiters (who, in my observation, tend to really dig money in their pockets) just don't have time nor incentive to shop your resume around town to a list of random companies with whom they may (or more likely, don't) have relationships.

Unless you are a great fit for one of an agency's current openings? You aren't going to be a high priority. We might like you a bunch, and hope like heck that we can find a good home for you, but you won't be the Top Dog until/unless we have something available for you.

This doesn't mean you should avoid recruiters, at all. I, and most other good recruiters,  certainly like to hear from you when you are considering a career move, trying to relocate geographically, etc. I'll keep you in mind as things open up, absolutely.

But the important bottom line is this - you can't expect to find a job today by simply getting a couple of recruiters "on the case."

Proactivity and accountability are critical in today's job race. We'll get to these deets next.