What is a Recruiter's Responsibility to an Entry Level Job Seeker?

Publication: CollegeRecruiter.com

October 30, 2008

Sometimes entry level job seekers make the mistake of believing that they are their recruiters' clients, but this is not the case. The employers, who pay some pretty healthy fees, are the clients. The job seekers are candidates, which is not to say that they aren't important. On the contrary, the better recruiters are at providing employers with the best candidates, and vice versa, the greater their chances of attracting more employers and more high quality candidates.
Unfortunately, candidates and employers who seem like a good fit during the interview process end up not working out later on. When this happens, don't blame the recruiter, says Tom Ruff, founder of the Tom Ruff Company, a company specializing in pharmaceutical sales recruiting. A recruiter only suggests what companies he thinks would be a good fit, it's the candidate who makes the final choice. And if a candidate suspects that a recruiter isn't serving his best interests, "find another recruiter," Ruff says.
"Your job is the right job for you. These goals may not be aligned, so if a recruiter is trying to force you into the wrong job for you, find a new recruiter," advises Dr. Rachelle J. Canter, president of RJC Associates. "And more important, don't depend on recruiters as your primary job search strategy."
"The recruiter's loyalty is to the employer," he explained. "The employer is the one paying the recruiter's fee and if the recruiter doesn't find candidates that match the client's criteria, the recruiter doesn't get paid. Period. It is in the recruiter's best interest, however, to build strong relationships with the top candidates in their respective field. When the recruiter is contacted with a new job opening, a good recruiter will already have a pool of well qualified candidates that they can contact for the position."
Canter agrees. "A recruiter's responsibility to the client (the company with a vacancy) is to find the best candidate for the opening, or at least an appropriate candidate for the opening." Their responsibility to their firm is to maximize placements so they generate money for the firm -- and hopefully do so in an honest and professional fashion. And the recruiter's responsibility to you, the job-seeker,," she concluded, "is to present appropriate opportunities. But it is easy to think the recruiter is working for you and that his/her job is to find the best job for you. WRONG! You are the only one with the responsibility and the mission to find the best job for you, so do not delegate this responsibility to anyone else or you are apt to find yourself in the wrong job."
Ruff concluded with some guidelines for working with recruiters that bear repeating:
"Be careful and selective about choosing recruiters to whom you will send your resume.
Meet face-to-face.
Ask the recruiter to secure permission from you before presenting your resume to any company.
Ask for advice about each person you are interviewing with.
Follow the recruiter's advice about preparing for an interview. Do what he or she says to do.
Let the recruiter see your brag book and suggest ways to improve it.
Follow up with the recruiter after each interview.
"Do what you say you are going to do."
"Follow these guidelines," Ruff said, "[and] you will greatly increase your chances of working successfully with a recruiter."