Whether you’re a job hunter or an employer, the process of finding or filling a position can be overwhelming. Working with an employment recruiter when looking for a new role or finding the best candidates for an opening can make the process easier.
With all the recruiters out there, how do you know which one is right for you? This article walks you through what a recruiter is, how to find one, and how to contact them.
What is a recruiter?
A recruiter helps businesses and organizations fill open positions by searching for qualified candidates for the roles.
Working closely with both job seekers and employers, recruiters are generally part of a contracted firm or agency’s team; however, they may also serve as internal employees for a company’s human resources (HR) department.
Beyond finding job placements for recruits, headhunters can also work with them to craft the best cover letters, improve their resumes, negotiate salaries, and assist with any other work-related issues that might pop up.
While working with organizations in need of staffing, a recruiter often collaborates with a company’s hiring manager, helping businesses craft job listings and other communications, screening job seekers, reviewing candidates, and serving as the initial go-between for applicants.
How to find a recruiter
Those seeking employment or looking for candidates—especially in specialized or niche fields—commonly work with a recruiter during the process. If you’re not sure how to connect with a job recruiter for your industry, interests, or skills, check out these methods for finding one.
- Check out job boards. A great way to find a recruiter is by searching job boards, especially if you’re looking for a position or candidate in a specialized field. If you consistently see one or two recruiters posting the majority of openings in your industry, you may want to connect with them during your job or candidate search.
- Search for staffing agencies. Conducting a Google search with terms like “staffing agency,” “search firms,” and “employment agency” can help you connect with staffing agencies and those working in specific fields. Modify your search by including the field or location you’re searching for. Be prepared to ask questions to fully understand if they’re the right recruiter for your employment or candidate search.
- Consider your professional network. Check in with colleagues, former coworkers, industry peers, and others who may have a similar background and ask if they have a staffing agency or recruiter to refer you to.
- Connect with industry organizations. If you’re part of a professional organization or regularly attend conferences, networking meetups, or other events, use these affiliations as an opportunity to find a recruiter in your field. Often, these groups provide a member directory that you can search to find headhunters in your industry. They might even promote staffing agencies to members.
- Share your resume online (if looking for a job). Make it easy for recruiters to contact you by creating an updated, comprehensive resume showcasing your skills and experience and posting it on job boards and networking sites. Many sites allow you to indicate whether you’re open to hearing about opportunities. Recruiters often use sites like these to browse potential candidates for positions.
Regardless of how you find a recruiter, do your research before reaching out. Consider how long they’ve worked as a recruiter, especially if they’re serving a specialized field. Find them on LinkedIn and other networking sites to see what type of connections they have. Check out their website to see if they have many positions listed and to read the reviews of them and their company. Comments from others could give you insights into what it might be like to work with them.
Best recruiter websites
We’ve already talked a bit about job boards and employment sites being good places to connect with a recruiter. Some of the top recruiting sites you should check out if you want to work with a headhunter or staffing agency include:
- LinkedIn. Recruiters love using LinkedIn to expand their network and connect with talented professionals. It’s easy to upload your resume and let potential connections know that you’re open to hearing about new opportunities. You’ll also have the chance to use the platform to review recruiters’ and staffing agencies’ LinkedIn profiles. How do they present themselves? What kind of testimonials do they have? How many connections do they have? Do you have any contacts in common?
- ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter connects users with millions of jobs across the country and is a great way to form relationships with headhunters and staffing agencies sharing openings for their clients.
- Indeed. Indeed is another platform recruiters use to connect with top candidates. With millions of jobs posted and people visiting the site each month, the job board’s worldwide reach is ideal for both recruiters and job seekers. It’s also free for job seekers to use.
- CareerBuilder. Recruiters turn to CareerBuilder because of its streamlined resume database searches, applicant tracking, screening systems, and other recruiting tools. The platform uses data-driven technology to match job seekers with the best job openings, companies, and recruiters for your background.
How to contact recruiters
Only you know the specific factors that are most important personally during a job search or when filling a position. However, job seekers and employers often find these questions helpful for finding the best match in a recruiter.
Questions job seekers should ask recruiters
Common questions that job seekers should ask to determine whether a recruiter is the right one include:
- Do they specialize in any fields? While some recruiters work with a variety of companies across industries, some specialize in niche fields. If you work in health care, it wouldn’t make sense for you to align yourself with a recruiter who works mostly in the financial sector.
- What is their professional background? If you’re looking for a role in a highly specialized field, having a recruiter who is knowledgeable and has personal experience in that field may be quite helpful. Understanding a headhunter’s background can determine whether they’d be a good match for your career goals.
- How do they find job opportunities? You want to know the amount of effort a recruiter is putting into your job search. Simply searching online job boards for openings isn’t necessarily helpful to you. Those listings are open to anyone; in fact, you may get a useful sense of the job market by sifting through those job ads on your own. You want to find a recruiter who has their own extensive network and can track down positions that aren’t easy to find online. This adds value to their work as they help you find a position.
- What does the recruiting process look like? Ask for a detailed timeline of what the process of working with them looks like. What do they expect from you at the beginning? Do you need to take assessments, provide references, or redo your resume? What steps do they take when they find a job opening that could be a good match for you? Transparency in the process is important and helps you understand what to expect as you work with them.
- How many candidates do they actively work with at once? You won’t want to work with recruiters who spread themselves too thin. Ask if they have a limit for the number of candidates they actively work with at one time.
- What is their vetting process for candidates? How they answer this question can give you an indication of how selective they are in accepting candidates to work with.
Questions employers should ask recruiters
If you’re an employer looking to work with a recruiting agency, consider some important questions to ask when hiring a headhunter to fill an open position.
- What is their area of expertise? As an employer, you want to connect with a recruiter who has a wide network within your company’s industry. If they have an extensive background in education but you’re a manufacturing company, they likely won’t have many relevant candidates for you.
- How do they find job candidates and how do they vet them? As a company that’s hiring, you have an idea of the type of worker you want to hire, including their background and necessary skills. The recruiter should know how to connect with candidates who fit this description. If you’re open to hiring remote talent, you also want to know that a recruiter has a global talent pool. It’s important to understand how headhunters vet potential candidates that come their way to ensure that you’re interviewing only top talent.
- How will they position and promote your company? It’s important to differentiate your job opening from others on job boards and employment websites, especially in a candidate-driven market. You want a recruiter who understands how to help your company stand out and allows you to be part of that process.
- On average, how long do candidates stay at jobs once placed with a company? Unless you’re filling a short-term or temporary position, you want to know that a recruiter has a history of finding candidates who stay with roles long term. A high turnover rate for a recruiter’s candidates isn’t a good sign.
Find top recruiters and vetted talent
Connecting talented job seekers to fill an open position can be a lengthy and overwhelming process for both parties. Working with a recruiter streamlines the process, making it easier to find the best person for these openings.
Whether you’re looking for work with a new client or your company is hiring, Upwork excels at connecting top talent with businesses looking to hire. We’re here to help both parties cultivate a productive, successful relationship by matching job seekers with the most relevant openings.
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