I’ve fallen off my cadence with answering reader questions of late, so I’d like to correct that today. The question in question is a fairly straight forward one about how to find good recruiters. This one is actually lifted from a comment some time back that I thought would be more conducive to a post than a comment response.
I would like to ask you how you get to “good” recruiters? My experience with recruiters has been rather negative and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong here.
First of all, it’s had to imagine that you’re doing anything wrong. From the perspective of the job seeker, this is not a difficult transaction. It’s a lot more likely that the problem lies with the recruiting field in general.
What Makes Them Good?
I’ve had a lot of experience with recruiters, both on the hiring and applicant ends — enough to know well how the game works. I’ve explained this before, about a year ago. Short form version is that the typical recruiting firm will take nothing from the applicant, but will take 15 – 20 percent of the first year’s salary from the company that makes the hire. This cut will be refundable if the applicant leaves within something like six months. The recruiter’s game is thus to make a match and hope it sticks for 6 months.
Recruiters’ customers are thus hiring companies, and not you. It’s like Facebook — you’re the product, not the customer. The majority of recruiters are in the business of selling humans (that happens to be developers) to companies. The good recruiters are in the business of selling a match to both the human and the company, since this is the best way to build reputation and avoid the six month refund blues.
But most recruiters are not good — they’re shooting for quantity over quality by treating you as the product.