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May 29, 2013

And the answer is… No, you can’t hire a Recruiter to find you a job

by Judi Wunderlich

In homage to the game Jeopardy, the answer is No, and here are the questions. (These are actual job-seeker keyword search queries I found when reviewing WunderLand’s web site analytics).

• does your recruiter really give the job you want?

• do recruiters work for you if you are unemployed?

• do recruiters really help you find a job?

• do recruiters help you get a job?

• can you hire someone to find you a job?

• can recruiters really help in finding you a job?

• can recruiters help me get a job?

• can i hire someone to find me a job?

• can i hire a headhunter to find me a job?

• should i pay for a job recruiter?

• how much do you pay a creative recruiter to find a job?

• will recruiter help me get a job?

• what does it take to get a headhunter to find me work?

• how to hire a recruiter to find me a job?

• where to find a recruiter to help me get hired?

And here are some other search queries that lead job-seekers to the WunderLand web site:

• people who get paid to find you a job

• pay someone to find you a job

• pay someone to find me a job

• i need a headhunter to find me a job

• hiring someone to find you a job

• hire someone to find me a job

• hire recruiter find me job

• hire a recruiter to find me a job

• writing to recruiter to find me a job

The fact that people are asking these questions and using these queries means the staffing industry has a long way to go to educate the job-seeking public. When someone’s expectations, real or imagined, aren’t met, it leads to frustration and anger – usually directed at the Recruiter.

(In this article I’m referring to independent or staffing firm Recruiters, not the internal Recruiters who find candidates for their own company.)

So here’s the reality: Recruiters are People-Finders, not Job-Finders. They work for, and are paid by, businesses who need to hire personnel. They may be able to help you with your job search, but it’s not their job to find you a job.

But where did this misconception about Recruiters come from?

Let’s look back in history, during the industrial revolution and then during World War I and World War II, when there were more jobs than people. Employment Agencies were established to find people a job, and it was the job-seeker who paid the Recruiter a fee. Hiring a Recruiter back then helped a job-seeker navigate all the possible opportunities that existed, opportunities they may not have found on their own.

Unfortunately, it proved extremely difficult, often impossible, to find jobs for everyone who paid their fee. If you’ve ever struggled to find employment by cold-calling on companies you want to work for, imagine the near-Herculean task Recruiters had to find jobs for hundreds or thousands of people regardless of their qualifications.

When jobs didn’t materialize, disgruntled job-seekers started to give the industry a black eye. Having to refund fees to countless job-seekers, it was clear that this business model was not sustainable. And to add insult to injury, many Employment Agencies had a policy of not issuing refunds.

Indeed, even the government stepped in to regulate the Employment Agency industry. Workers at these agencies had to pass a test and be licensed in order to ‘counsel’ job-seekers. There were many do’s and don’ts if you were an Employment Counselor. One rule was it was illegal to advertise non-existent job openings, which was done to lure candidates into their office where they would get the hard-sell to sign up and pay their fee.

Eventually this doomed model changed to one where hiring companies pay a Recruiter a fee, but only if they hire one of the Recruiter's candidates.

Job-seekers can use the services of a Recruiting firm for free, and these services may include resume advice, interview coaching, and most importantly, learning about job openings that aren’t advertised to the public.

So that’s the model we have today. When an employer advertises a position, they are overwhelmed with resumes and job applicants. Hiring a Staffing firm (still sometimes called an Employment Agency) to help them quickly find the top candidates makes good business sense.

As a job-seeker, registering with a Staffing firm is just one weapon in your arsenal, but a valuable one. It is still up to you to get a your own job.