Working with a Recruiter vs. Applying Directly

I first wrote a blog on this topic back in 2018 and felt that it was due for an update.

Candidates often ask me if they should utilize the services of a professional recruiter or apply directly online for positions on the company’s website.  People don’t often understand what the advantages of engaging a recruiter are if they can just apply directly online.  When this question arises, I often share a recent placement story with them:

We were retained by a small biotech company that was looking for local candidates to fill a strategic & vital regulatory role. The search had taken longer than normal because of the specific background the hiring manager required.  While speaking with a candidate, they informed me that they had already applied directly online for this position but had not heard back from the company. I was surprised by this since their resume seemed to be a perfect fit. I asked permission from the candidate to talk with HR to see if they had, in fact, reviewed the resume. After doing so, we found that this person was not in the company’s system and the resume was never reviewed. We surmised that due to the high volume of applicants, it had somehow been missed or possibly rejected due to a poor keyword match. I immediately engaged the hiring manager on my candidate’s behalf and aligned the two to speak. This person was eventually hired for the role.

The reason I share this story is to point out that by engaging a recruiter in the process, your resume is guaranteed to be seen by the hiring manager. You will also have an advocate to make sure your background and experience are represented correctly. Your resume will not just be sitting in a pile (or database) waiting to be noticed. You will be provided with feedback more quickly and more likely get an interview than if you had applied directly.

Here are some of the advantages of using a Recruiter:

  • They know the current trends and can assess where you are in the marketplace as well as what you can expect in a potential career move.
  • They can provide relevant knowledge of company’s culture and the hiring manager’s personality.
  • A recruiter understands what the hiring manager is looking for beyond the job description.
  • They can often help you to cut to the head of the line by sharing information directly with the hiring manager.
  • A good recruiter will prepare you for the interview with appropriate questions and answers as well as ensuring you are prepared with insight on those individuals you will be speaking with.
  • Leveraging the recruiter’s relationships and contacts to find opportunities, which may not be posted online.
  • The recruiter can negotiate the best possible compensation package for you since they often have access to industry salary data and what competing companies in the market will pay.
  • If relocation is required, the recruiter should be able to provide information and resources to help you evaluated the new location, the cost of living, etc.
  • There is no cost to you as the candidate! All recruiter fees are paid by the hiring company.

In the age of COVID19, working with a recruiter now is even more important to help negotiate specific priorities like working remotely.  Good recruiters will know which companies have changed their policies and also how the pandemic has impacted their hiring and daily operations. 

I hope this is helpful and feel free to reach out with questions or comments.

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