Monday, August 13, 2012

Working with Third Party Agents--An Inside Look

Working with a third party agent in your job search can be a very vital strategy if you understand the world of third party recruiting. It is a great opportunity to get your resume circulated to many different people with little effort on your part, and gain visibility for positions that may never get advertised. I recently sat down with Sarah Burke in our Co-op and Career Services Office here at RIT to discuss the nature of this type of recruiting. Sarah worked in the Staffing and Recruiting Industry for over 20 years before joining RIT’s Co-op and Career Services Office, and offers some great insights.

There are a variety of different agencies that a job seeker might work with in executing their search for employment. These include, but are not limited to, Temp Agencies, Staffing Firms and Head Hunters. Sarah started off with two very important pieces of information:
1.       The search firm exists to help client companies find employees, NOT to help people find jobs. That is just a resulting outcome.
2.       An employee candidate should NEVER pay a fee for working with a Search Agent. The client company ALWAYS pays the fee, which is a percentage of the employee’s salary.

Sarah points out many advantages to working with a third party agent. Working with an agent allows you to be in more places at once and gains you additional exposure to unadvertised positions that you wouldn’t be considered for otherwise. Some companies only hire through third party recruiters, so that is the only way to get your foot in the door. Building a strong relationship with recruiting agents also keeps you well-informed on industry trends and keeps you connected within your industry. You should establish those relationships well in advance of needing them so that you have a well established reputation and have developed rapport with the recruiter. The recruiter will be more inclined to refer you to their client if they respect you.

From the perspective of a former third party recruiter, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind:
1.       Don’t spread yourself too thin. Develop relationships with 3-4 firms.
2.       Identify one person at each firm as your main point of contact and develop rapport with him/her. Keep in touch with that person. Follow up, and if a job is not a good fit for you enlighten the recruiter as to why and possibly recommend a friend or reputable alternative candidate for the recruiter to contact if applicable.
3.       Make sure your resume is tailored to the type of work the firm does. Identify which firms typically recruit for people within the industry that you are looking to work in, and partner with them.
4.       Try to avoid the overuse of acronyms, especially if they are company specific.
5.       If staying local is your goal, don’t overlook contract positions. They could be your foot in the door to a company or industry that you are trying to get into.

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