Receiving a phone call from a recruiter to discuss your resume is pretty exciting. However, it is worth considering that not all phone calls might be beneficial. Some might not even be worth taking, and some may not be working in your best interests. So how do you know which one of the types of recruiters are best to work with?

There are three types of recruiters who will probably call you. Learning the differences to their approach will help you figure out who to talk to. It can be based on what you want, and well, to make sure they’re not just wasting your time. 

The In-house Recruiter

The in-house recruiter is easy to spot because they introduce themselves as representatives of their company who is hiring. They are an employee of one specific company, their titles are dead giveaways. If they send you a message, there’s a good chance you see their employer’s logo and official letterheads or emails signatures, and a quick search on LinkedIn will verify who they work for. In-house recruiters have one objective: to find the best person, best fit and best talent for their company.

They should be well informed about the company. They should know its culture, the reason why the role was created, its objectives, the salary on offer, benefits etc. The only drawback is that their objective is to fill their company’s vacancy – not to help you find a job. As long as you are a fit for their company, your objectives will align with theirs. However, getting the ‘inside track’ or advice on how to succeed in an interview may not be forthcoming. Oh, and of course this is the only one in all three types of recruiters who won’t be able to place you elsewhere if you aren’t a fit for them.

The Contingent Recruiter

This type of recruiter will introduce themselves as a representative of their agency, not the company who has a vacancy. Contingent Recruiters have one major priority – quick turnaround. Because contingent recruiters only get paid if they place a candidate in a role – and are the first to introduce that candidate – the pressure to be the first to respond is heavy. So speed is very much of the essence. They are likely to be one of many recruiters representing the hiring company. This means that their influence and inside knowledge on the opportunity, culture, the job description and requirements may be limited.

If you ask about the salary range and they can’t give a definite answer, they may be using you as a litmus test to draw out this information from their client. Also remember that their motive is to place a candidate – ANY CANDIDATE – with the company. That’s how they get paid. Hence, they will work hard for you, return your calls and be your best friend as long as you are the candidate the company is likely to hire. And you’ll know if someone comes along who is a better fit… your calls won’t be returned as quickly!

The advantage of the contingent recruiter is that they may have multiple opportunities to introduce you to. The disadvantage is that they are never actually working for you; you are merely a product they are trying to sell. As long as you understand that from the get-go and channel their energies to your advantage, it could be a win-win relationship. You get placed and they get paid.

The Headhunter 

The headhunter is also a recruiter who works for an agency. But they are retained exclusively to work on behalf of a small number of clients. They will definitely introduce themselves as representatives of this agency and will definitely introduce who they’re hiring for also.

One difference between a headhunter and a contingent recruiter is that headhunters have a better relationship with hiring managers. This is because they work exclusively with the company. Talking to a headhunter will allow you to gain access to more useful information about the job. It can be about history and salary range, without the pressure of having to respond less than a minute after they’ve messaged you. If a headhunter reaches out and presents you to the hiring manager, rest assured that your resume has been thoroughly reviewed and shortlisted.

A huge chunk of the job hunt is managing your time. It’s best to invest time in opportunities you have great chances with. These are where you know your resume has been given time as well and not just a 10-second scan. Hopefully through this guide, you get to figure out who’s worth the investment.

When you’re all ready set up and ready to go to your interview, check out some of these interview dos and don’ts. For more career and job hunting content, visit PivotLane!

About Simon Lader

Simon Lader

I am an almost twenty year veteran of the IT industry. I started recruiting for IT sales and presales people in 1997 and I’ve been doing it ever since. Originally living in Manchester, UK, I now live in Las Vegas and specialize in helping startup and high-growth software vendors find the best sales and presales people in North America, Asia Pacific and EMEA. My three kids and long suffering wife keep me sane (or as close to it as possible) - which, as a Manchester United supporter, isn’t always easy! I probably watch too much Netflix and drink too much Single Malt Whisky, but what’s life without a little misbehavior now and then.
Click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation phone call with me; or click here to send me a message.
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