How Interviewing with Recruiters Can Help Your Job Search

How Interviewing with Recruiters Can Help Your Job Search

How Interviewing with Recruiters Can Help Your Job Search

A Job-Seekers Guide to Interviewing with Recruiters

You’ve probably heard of “headhunters”, “recruiters”, and “search firms” by now. If you are new to the job market or a veteran looking to make a move to a new organization, you should know the distinctions between these types of firms. Typically, they are third-party organizations that help individuals find temporary and direct hire jobs. Here’s how it’s broken down:

  • Contract Recruiters: Typically, an employer will hire recruiters from a contract staffing firm to represent them in the recruiting and employment function. The recruiters have an arrangement with the organization to “place” contract workers at the customer site for a period of time, sometimes ranging from as short as a few weeks to longer periods, in some cases a year or more. This might be important information for someone applying for a contract position at a company.


  • Employment Agencies: Employment agencies work with companies that seek to hire professionals. The employment agencies submit resumes of qualified candidates to the companies, which interview the candidates and ultimately pay a fee to the employment agency if a selected candidate is “placed.” In most cases, the placement fee is paid by the company (client) working with the employment agency. In very rare cases, the candidate pays a fee to the employment agency to be placed at an organization. If you come across a job listing that does not include the phrase “fee paid”, be sure to ask who pays the fee before signing any papers. The types of positions that you might see a candidate paying a fee to an agency is retail sales, customer service representative, or a laborer position. These specific types of agencies can be found throughout the country.
  • Resume Referral Firms: A resume referral firm collects information on job seekers and forwards it to prospective employers. This information can be contained in resumes or on paper or electronic data forms. The employer, job seeker, or both might pay fees. You must give the firm written permission to pass your resume on to employers. Your permission should include a statement that expressly states to whom and for what purpose the information can be used.
  • Contingent Search Firms: A search firm contracts with employers to find and screen qualified applicants to fill a specific position. Contingent Search firm representatives will disclose to the candidate which employer they represent in the interview qualifying process. The fees for these firms are paid by the employer. The fee charged is either a flat fee equivalent to 20% to 30% of the candidate’s first year salary, or an hourly fee paid to the search firm to locate a qualified candidate. 






Questions to Ask a Recruiter


Here’s where you need to be a wise consumer. While third-party recruiters exist to help you in your job search, read all materials carefully before signing anything.  

Here are some general questions you may want to ask:

  • How many job openings are there for someone in my field? If you have the opportunity, inquire about the positions being filled or the number of openings related to your field. These are important questions because, in some instances, recruiters may not really have the type or number of openings they advertise. They may be more interested in adding your name to their candidate pool as a means of attracting more employers or clients to their services. Or they may be collecting resumes for future job opportunities.
  • How is this information being used? A third-party recruiter is legally allowed (with your permission of course) to share your resume with the contract employer for positions that you are actually seeking. The recruiter must tell you, in clear terms, that your materials and information will not be shared outside the organization or used for any purpose other than with the company they represent at the time they interview you. The third-party recruiter cannot sell your information to anyone else. You may choose to authorize the recruiter to share your data elsewhere, but your authorization should be given to the recruiter in writing.
  • Are candidates treated equally and fairly? If you are qualified for the job opportunity (after an interview screening of course), the third-party recruiter must pass your information to employers without regard to your race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Who pays the placement services fee? Before you agree to anything or sign a contract, ask the recruiter who will pay the fee. He/she will normally tell you upfront who the fee is paid by, but you must ask anyway to be clear.


Career Job Boards and What Every Job Seeker Should Know

Career Job Boards and What Every Job Seeker Should Know

Career Job Boards and What Every Job Seeker Should Know

After you post your resume, it is usually out of your control. Generally, job sites do not have the ability to track or control how a recruiter or employer uses your resume after it has been downloaded. Most sites are pretty good about watching for problems.

These practices are frowned upon and enforced by the terms of use agreements with employers and recruiters. But keep in mind there are risks involved in posting a resume in a database.

Watch out for job scams
The job offer you see might not be for a real job. After you post your resume, you may be contacted by someone trying to scam you with a fake job offer. This is becoming a very serious problem in online job searching. Here are some red flags that should alert you to these scams.

Have you been asked for your social security number? Have you been asked to scan your ID or driver’s license and send it in? Have you been asked to do a money transfer as part of your duties? Have you been asked to respond to e-mails that describe high-paying jobs that require you to sign up for an eBay, PayPal or Western Union account, and to transfer monies in any one of these modes?

If you answered yes to any one of these, then this is likely a scam. It is best to report them to the job board where it was posted.

General job descriptions usually don’t offer much of an opportunity

After posting your resume, you should start getting responses. Be wise and selective about offers, because not all offers are worth your time.

If you get an e-mail that asks you to send a resume to a new email address or to “update” your resume on a new job site, think twice, especially when you do not see a credible job being offered with a verifiable company. Some companies get you to send a new resume just so they can put it in their resume database.

Resume posting options

You have a few options when you post your resume. You can do an anonymous posting, which lets you hide your contact information or e-mail address when you post a resume. This resume posting option allows you to control who contacts you.

You can also get selective and only post information about your background that specific employers are looking for. Unfortunately, few job seekers take advantage of this option. You can also post your resume online for the world to see.

This method is normally used by job seekers who are not working and would like to explore opportunities by a variety of companies.

Some resume job boards are better than others
You’ll find a variety of job boards and resume databases online, and some only serve specific industries or occupations. Before you post your resume to any database, read the site’s privacy policy. This will tell you if your information is being protected and how your information is being used.

Some of the better job boards will state that they do not sell your private information to marketing companies. If you post to boards that sell your information to marketing companies, you will probably start getting bombarded with spam soon after.

If the website does not have a privacy policy posted, you should be especially cautious about posting a resume to that website.

How frequently should you check the website where you have your resume posted?
You should pay attention to how long a resume website says it will keep or store your resume. Many job seekers overlook this.

Some sites state their retention time in their privacy policy, usually between one and six months, after which the site will delete your resume.

Without specific written statements about how long your resume may be kept, your resume can be searched for years. Most job seekers do not want resumes circulating after they have secured a job, so check to make sure there is a limited posting time before you post a resume.

If you are not sure about how long it will stay on the website, contact them to ask. You should have the option to delete or change anything on your online profile at any time.

Keep good records of your job search
Make sure you keep a record of where you have posted your resume online. Include in that record all e-mail correspondence and any online profiles you compiled.

You should print out a copy of the posted job advertisement, save a snapshot, or cut and paste to a Word document so you can refer to it if you are called for a phone or in-person interview. Don’t be in a hurry to delete old correspondence from your record.

Some employers keep resumes on file for a period of six to 12 months in case new positions come up.

Different e-mail addresses for website posting advertisements
There are a few good reasons why you should have different e-mail addresses. You should set up an address for responding to “blind” career opportunities, or those from companies that post ads without their company information.

In essence, you are doing the same thing. Using an e-mail address that you can cancel anytime is a good way to keep your information private. Expect to be inundated with spam, so don’t give out your name, phone number, or home address when setting up these e-mail accounts.

Two important things to omit when applying online
You may end up going to quite a few career websites, and you will probably create resume profiles that can be searched by recruiting firms and employers directly. Never volunteer your social security number or references on any websites. These can be furnished at a later phase of the interview process.

For other job related statistics and relevant data, you can visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website at