What is a recruiter?

What is a recruiter? Should you use one? How can a recruiter help you?

At the most basic level, a recruiter is someone who helps an individual find the right job or who helps a company find the right talent for an open position. Think of recruiters as business-career matchmakers.

For professional job seekers, recruiters are liaisons to hiring managers/companies.

For companies and HR managers, recruiters are full-time industry-focused (usually – as opposed to company-focused) salespeople of people.

There are three different types of recruiters:

  1. Headhunters – Also known as agency recruiters or third-party recruiters, headhunters have an industry focus rather than working for a specific company, meaning they work with all sorts of different companies within their industry. At Hire Education, we’re headhunters. (And yes, it’s okay to use that term, it’s not a negative thing.) Our bread and butter is finding the right talent for edtech companies and finding the right job for edtech applicants.
  2. Internal recruiters – Also known as talent acquisition, internal recruiters sell their specific company, not an industry. This used to be synonymous with the Human Resources (HR) department or an Office Manager, but nowadays talent acquisition is much more robust and sophisticated. Internal recruiters are salaried employees, not commissioned. They are not headhunters.
  3. Contract recruiters – Contract recruiters are just like internal recruiters, only they’re external. They work only for the specific company but they bill for time spent. Contract recruiters are shorter-term, often higher-volume players who tend to help during a period of heavy growth for the company.

Recruiting is like sales in that recruiters are measured by results in the same way salespeople are. It’s all about filling an open job position with the right person.

Since this is what we do, let’s talk more about the Headhunter type of recruiter.


What do recruiters do and should I use one?

Headhunters live and breathe their industry and its job trends. If you’re looking for a job, it helps to have someone who really knows both of these. If you’re a company seeking talent, it helps to have someone who truly knows the skills required to succeed in your business’s specific industry. At HireEdu, we specialize in the education technology industry, also known as edtech.

The fact that headhunters have an industry focus rather than a company or individual focus is beneficial whether you’re looking for a job or looking for talent. It’s what sets us apart from individual job seekers/companies, who typically don’t know as much about the industry as a whole.

Recruiters do a lot to make the best match. They could be responsible for:

  • Writing ad (job listing) copy
  • Building lists of prospective candidates
  • Conducting campaigns to call/email/text those candidates
  • Determining if the candidate is truly qualified
  • Assessing the driving motivations of a candidate to determine alignment
  • Liaising with companies in need of talent
  • Selling the candidate on the position
  • Selling the candidate to the company
  • Working the candidate through the hiring process
  • Negotiating or brokering the offer
  • Onboarding

If you’re a job seeker, there’s really no risk to you to try using a recruiter. Recruiters make their money from the company, not from the talent. Using a recruiter is like the difference between using Yelp to find the best restaurant or a concierge, except it doesn’t cost you anything. It’s just more personalized and thorough.

If you’re a company, the best candidates aren’t actively seeking work. They’re not pushing themselves on LinkedIn. They need to be recruited. Job postings only attract people actively looking for a job. Plus, time is money. Is digging around trying to find the best talent really the best use of your time? The size and age of the company don’t matter; even startups benefit from using headhunters.


What should I look for in a recruiter?

Good recruiters should provide:

  • Job counseling to job seekers regarding salary expectations, required skill sets, personal marketing materials (communications, resume, interview habits), and company culture, benefits, and products
  • Insight into industry trends
  • Data and insights into the hiring market for companies

Finding an experienced recruiter is great, but also consider giving a rookie recruiter a chance. Rookies bring energy and new ideas and you may end up with an advocate for life.

If you’re working with a poor recruiter, some red flags might be:

  • They habitually set expectations they don’t meet
  • They have been in the industry 5+ years and don’t seem to know the industry
  • For job seekers, they oversell relationships with hiring managers and can’t provide interviews
  • For companies, if they say they know the industry and then disappear for two weeks and don’t come back with any resumes
  • If they don’t seem to have a set process
  • Any unprofessional behavior
  • Any hint of dishonest or unethical behavior, for example, if they’re not forthcoming with you

Trust your gut – you can usually tell pretty quickly if a recruiter is a good fit for you or your company. The results should drive everything. For example, we’ve known amazing recruiters with terrible spelling and grammar. If they’re effectively advocating on your behalf, sometimes that kind of unprofessionalism can be overlooked.

Job seekers, realize that recruiters will ask you some specific and personal questions, such as salary/financial information, work history, and goals. This is not a red flag, it’s their job to fully understand you so they can find the best fit for both you and the company.

Interested in giving a recruiter a try? Want to learn more? We would love to connect with you! Email us at info@hireedu.com or give us a call at 877.Hire.Edu.

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