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While the current unemployment numbers still look bleak, companies are, nevertheless, hiring. And recruiters are reporting that they are now busier than they have been in several years. That could be good news for you if you’re looking for a job; unfortunately, many people have misconceptions about what recruiters do. Let’s bust some myths! 

MYTH: A recruiter’s job is helping jobseekers find work. 

FACT: Recruiters work for employers, not job hunters. Their job is to find the best talent for the position an employer is seeking to fill. They aren’t paid to help people transition to new fields; rather, they’re looking to find talented individuals who’ve done the job already or ready to move up in their same career path. 

MYTH: All recruiters are paid the same way. 

FACT: There are essentially two types of recruiters for full-time permanent jobs: 

  • Contingency recruiting agencies aren’t paid unless their client company hires a candidate they submit. Competition among recruiting firms in this situation is fierce, as employers will offer multiple recruiters the opportunity to work on the same job posting —only paying a fee to the recruiter who actually finds the right talent. 
  • Retained search firms are paid by a company to take on an exclusive role in a given search, with the understanding that the hiring company will receive a higher level of service and more complete candidate vetting than is typically the case with contingency firms. Fees earned for retained searches are generally much higher than for contingency searches and are paid out at specific points in the search process. 

MYTH: Recruiters are rude and unresponsive. 

FACT: Recruiters, like anyone else with limited time, prioritize getting the most “power for their hour.” They’ll likely be the most responsive to clients who have job orders for them to fill and people who they see as strong candidates for those job orders. And they’ll probably be less responsive to individuals who aren’t good fits for the roles they’re trying to fill. That doesn’t make them rude. 

MYTH: Recruiters aren’t out to get job hunters the best possible compensation. 

FACT: Recruiting fees are most often calculated as a percentage of the new hire’s first-year base salary, meaning the more you earn, the more they earn. In fact, they may have inside information about what a company is willing to pay and may be able to obtain a higher salary than what a job hunter initially thought they could get.  

MYTH: Recruiters don’t care about creating long-term relationships. 

FACT: Recruiters are essentially in a relationship-building business. Their long-term success is based on building their network of relationships — both with employers and job hunters. They particularly appreciate job seekers who, realizing they aren’t a good fit for a current job, go out of their way to introduce them to someone who will be.  

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