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How To Use a Recruiter to Find a Job (Part 2 of 3)


how to work with your recruiterIn my earlier blog, I explored the first rule of using a recruiter to find a job:

In this blog, I will discuss the second rule:

Rule 2: Are my chances better if I apply to a job recruiter’s ad, or if I apply directly to the hiring company?

There are two scenarios where you may have to make this kind of decision:

(a)   Sometimes you will see a job recruiter’s ad specifying the name of the hiring company. For example, you might see an ad from Acme Recruitment Ltd. stating: “B.C. Electric Ltd. is looking to appoint an Assistant General Counsel to join its 30-member legal team in downtown Vancouver.” Clients ask me whether their chances are better if they answer the job recruiter’s ad, or if they apply directly to the employer.

First, some background info: a recruiter’s job ad specifying the name of the employer signifies that the recruiter has been engaged on an “exclusive” basis. This means no one other than that recruitment firm can be used to fill a particular vacancy.

In exclusive arrangements, all resumes, whether they are sent to the recruiter or to the employer, are reviewed and vetted by the recruiter. Even if you send your resume to the employer, the employer is obligated to forward it along to the recruiter for her review. If the recruiter likes your resume, she will call you.

So the answer, in this situation, is there is no difference whether you send your application to the employer or to the recruitment firm. But to make communication lines less confusing, I recommend you send your application to the recruiter – but only if you meet most of the job requirements.

(If you don’t meet most of the job requirements, but would still like to make an application, you are better off trying to find another way into the company – perhaps through an introduction from someone you know at the company.  Even if the employer has an exclusive arrangement with the recruiter, there is usually an exclusion clause which permits the employer to hire someone through its own network or through employee introductions.)

(b)    Most recruiter ads you see are “non-exclusive” arrangements, which means you won’t see the name of the employer. A non-exclusive job ad might as follows: “ABC Recruitment Inc. represents a U.S. life sciences corporation that is looking to appoint a general manager for its newly established Vancouver offices.”

But what if you see a job ad in a company’s website that is nearly identical to a job recruiter’s ad? Do you respond to the recruiter’s ad, or do you apply through the company’s website?

The simple answer is that it doesn’t make much difference which avenue you choose. If you are a strong match for the job, your chances are good either way.

Again, some background info: a hiring company may engage a recruiter to find job applicants, while posting job vacancies in its own website, or in online job sites such as this one, The employer uses this double-barrelled approach to cast a wide net in trying to find candidates.

There is a notion that an employer might prefer candidates sourced through non-recruiter channels; that is, if an employer had to choose between two candidates – one found through a recruiter, and one that applied directly to the company – the employer would elect the latter on the basis that it won’t have to pay a recruiter’s commission.

This is a fallacy, because for most companies, hiring the most qualified candidate takes precedence over any cost savings.  If anything, it might be slightly more advantageous to go through a recruiter. The reason is this: if a recruiter feels you are right for the job, it can “lobby” the employer to make you an offer. But this depends on the kind of relationship the recruiter has with the company, and whether you are, among the other candidates, the best person for the job.

That’s it for the second rule. The remaining three will be covered in my next blog:

Stay tuned!

Milton Kiang, B.A., LL.B. is a professional resume writer with Channel Resume Services and helps jobs applicants create powerful resumes, enabling them to win job interviews in a competitive job market.

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