The Job Hunter’s Guide to Recruiters

If you’ve been job hunting for some time now, you’ve likely stumbled across a recruiter at some point. Whether they slid into your messages on LinkedIn, or you’re thinking about reaching out yourself, recruiters can be a significant step in getting you through the door for a job interview. But before you jump right into it, let’s make sure you understand exactly what recruiters do.

What they are.

A recruiter’s job is to simply act as a representative for a company and fill their job openings. There are two basic types of recruiters: internal and external.

Internal Recruiters

Internal recruiters work within the company they’re recruiting for. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have about the company, its culture, and the position they’re trying to fill. You’ll want to keep your interactions with them as professional as possible. They’re not trying to find a position that fits you best. Rather, they’re trying to find a candidate that fits them best.

External Recruiters

An external recruiter usually works for a hiring agency or firm and fills positions within multiple companies. They want to get you hired, and they typically have a more long-term relationship with job seekers than internal recruiters do. Be honest about your interests and experience, and they’ll see if they have any open positions that align well. Keep in mind—they still technically work for their client and not for you, so don’t expect them to direct you toward a job if you’re not the right fit!



What they’re not.

They’re not your golden ticket to a job offer.

Recruiters aren’t the ones making the final hiring decision. Their job is to simply put forward some candidates. Remember—recruiters don’t work for you, so they’re not going to coax anyone into hiring you! Once they get you through the door for an interview, it’s now up to you to put your best foot forward and secure the offer.

They’re not giving you a formal job interview.

Recruiters will likely set up a brief phone call or schedule an in-person meeting with you after they first reach out. This is not your interview for the job. This is simply their initial screening where they can explain the open position in a more formal manner, get a better idea of your expertise, and make sure you’re both on the same page in terms of expectations.

They’re not a career coach or cheerleader.

Although recruiters hope that they can find you a role, it’s not their job to teach you how to get there. They’re not going to give you insider tips, they’re not going to help you with your resume, and they’re not going to put in a good word for you to give you an in. Landing the job offer is completely on you!


How to get connected.

Recruiters scope out candidates all the time on LinkedIn, so definitely make yourself a strong profile and keep your eyes peeled—they’ll likely pop into your InMail messages if they like what they see! You can also find recruiters at career fairs, through job boards, and on social media. Reach out, say hello, and don’t be afraid to form a professional relationship with them.

Have any more questions about recruiters? Drop them in the comments below!


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