I will now proceed to address the remaining three rules.
Rule 3: How many recruitment firms can I use?
When people first start to look for a new job, they may visit with several recruitment firms that specialize in their field of occupation. There are no hard and fast rules on how many recruiters you should use, but the general guidance I give to clients is to choose a number that’s manageable.
If you work with too many recruiters, you tend to forget which recruitment firm sent you out to which job interview; this can lead to communication lines with your recruiters getting crossed. Unless you keep strict notes, you won’t remember which recruitment firm to contact when you want to obtain a status check on a particular job application.
Remember, too, that recruitment firms often represent the same employers for the same job openings. You don’t want to make the mistake of telling one recruitment firm that you’d like to apply for a certain job, when you’ve already asked another to send in your application for that same job. This, obviously, won’t make the recruiters look organized from the hiring company’s point of view; but it doesn’t make the job candidate look any better.
Using multiple recruitment firms doesn’t necessarily mean that your chances of getting a new job will be better. There are only so many job openings available in a certain field, with maybe a dozen or more recruitment firms all trying to fill the same job vacancies. Choose a number that’s manageable – like two or three. If you feel one recruitment firm is enough, then go with one.
Rule 4: After my interview with a hiring company, can I follow up with them directly, or should I go through my recruiter?
Unless a hiring company reaches out to you after an interview (either by email or telephone call), the standard protocol is to go through your recruiter. If you have questions about the position, the hours, or what-have-you, send them to your recruiter.
If the interviewer has given you her business card, and has specifically told you that you may contact her if you have any questions, then you may do so. But keep your recruiter in the loop, so that everyone is on the same page in terms of communication.
Rule 5: A recruiter has called me up out of the blue; shall I give her my resume?
With people posting their occupational profiles on social media sites such as LinkedIn, it is not uncommon to get calls from recruiters asking for your resume to apply to certain job openings. A word of caution: there are many unscrupulous recruiters out there who try to obtain resumes on false pretences. They lie about being retained by a company to fill a vacancy, and only want your resume so that they can build up their candidate database for future job vacancies.
Other unethical recruiters have a tendency to “blast out” multiple candidate resumes to employers, without first getting candidate permission. Their objective is that if an employer shows any interest in a resume, the recruiter can always go back to the candidate and persuade him to attend an interview. The recruiter thinks that this is an efficient way of working, though it is unethical and can be career-ending for the candidate, especially if his own employer gets wind of this.
If a recruiter has called you up, and wishes to obtain your resume for an interesting job opening, you can do a number of things to ensure that the job opening is bona fide, and the recruiter legitimate.
(a) Meet with the recruiter at his or her offices. Ask him to share with you a copy of the job description. Ask the recruiter detailed questions about the job position, to see how knowledgeable he is about the position and about the hiring company itself.
(b) If the recruiter is based in a different city or town, ask him to send you a web link to her recruitment firm, and to send you a PDF or Word version of the job description. Search for her name in the website’s list of recruiters. Also, see if you can verify her credentials by doing a check over the Internet. If the name of the recruitment firm doesn’t sound familiar to you, ask your friends if they have ever heard of the firm. Often, recruitment firms will list job vacancies in their website; try to find the job opening in their website.
There, now you have the five rules of working with a recruiter. In summary, they are:
- Rule 1: When shall I use a recruiter?
- Rule 2: Are my chances better if I apply to a job recruiter’s ad, or if I apply directly to the hiring company?
- Rule 3: How many recruitment companies can I use?
- Rule 4: After my interview with a hiring company, can I follow up with the company directly, or should I go through my recruiter?
- Rule 5: A recruiter has called me up out of the blue; shall I give her my resume?
Now that you know how recruitment firms operate, you will know how you can best work with them in order to find a job. Like most things in life, once you understand how someone or something is incentivized, you quickly figure out what process works best to get optimum results.
Using a recruitment firm should only be one tool among several that you can use in your job search. Networking, word-of-mouth referrals, cold calling, and browsing online job ads are other tools that should be at your disposal. (If you’re in university or in high school looking for seasonal work, you might consider my recommended low-tech ways of finding a job.)
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.