GETTING THE MOST OUT OF WORKING WITHSTAFFING FIRMS AND RECRUITERSTo help you get the most benefit from using a staffing firm or independent recruiter as a job search resource, which is freeto you, you need to understand exactly what they can – and cant – do for you, and how to make your relationshipmutually beneficial. In this document, we’re referring to recruiters who are independent or who work for staffing firms oragencies, not corporate HR recruiters.Staffing firms give you access to opportunities you can’t find on your own.They have helped thousands of companies, from Fortune 100 corporations to start-up businesses, hire people withcertain skill sets to handle a specific contract (freelance) assignment or to fill a full-time position. Sometimes thesefreelance projects are special jobs that their regular employees don’t have the expertise to do. Sometimes the hiringcompany simply needs someone to take up the slack for a missing employee for a day, a week or longer. More commonlythese days, contract employees might be the only kind a company can hire because of a corporate hiring freeze or fearthe economy will tumble. Whatever the reason a company turns to a staffing firm, their main function is to solve thatcompany’s immediate staffing problem.Since most of their contract employment opportunities are unplanned and unexpected, and because companiessometimes don’t publicly post their job openings, you would probably have no way of learning about them in time to takeadvantage of them. Nor could you possibly contact, let alone interview with, all of the companies a staffing firm serves. Soregistering with a staffing firms instantly expands your potential for freelance – and also full time – employment.Do they guarantee you’ll get a job? No. Do they take your resume and then pound the pavement trying to find a companywilling to hire you? Nope. Instead, they’re just one helpful tool that a job seeker should use in his/her search.They are not job-finders. They are people-finders.A common misconception about staffing firms is that they exist to find you a job of your choice. Sorry, not true. You don’tpay them anything, so how long would they be in business if you were their customer? Instead, their customers are thecompanies who pay them to find the specific Talent they need. Recruiters find people for jobs; they don’t find jobs forpeople.Another thing to keep in mind is that staffing firm clients are often very demanding about a candidate’s skills andexperience, and rightfully so since they are paying the recruiter to find the perfect candidate. For example, they may onlywant to see resumes of people who have worked for a minimum of 3 years at one of the major advertising agencies. Orthey may only want to see someone who has graduated from a particular university. Or they only want to hire people withbubbly, outgoing personalities.Recruiters dont list all of their clients’ demands in their job postings, but that’s what they screen for when they consideryour application. If they present your resume to their client and you don’t meet these requirements, they’re wasting theirclients’ time, and yours. So while you may be perfectly capable of doing a particular job, and may have done it before, youstill have to meet all their clients other criteria.That’s why recruiters are constantly sourcing, screening, interviewing, and checking references of new people to add totheir ‘looking for work pool. Then when a job comes in, they review the backgrounds of all of the people they’ve alreadytalked to or interviewed to find 3 or 4 candidates whose skills, experience and employment preferences are the bestmatch for their client. If you fit their client’s criteria for a contract assignment, they’ll certainly present you after they speakto you about it. But if you don’t, then it just makes common sense to wait for a job that’s a better fit for you. So you maysee your staffing firm post a job opening that, on the surface, seems to fit you, and you wonder why they haven’t calledyou about it. Now you know!They may be able to help you get freelance work or a full-time job.The vast majority of the jobs staffing firms get from their clients are for temporary (contract) workers, but some firms alsorecruit people for full-time jobs, or a temp-to-hire arrangement. With temp-to-hire, if you proceed through their client’s
interview process successfully, you will start work with that company on a probationary basis, and the staffing firm paysyou as their employee while their client evaluates you and you evaluate them. After the probationary period, if you andthey both decide its a good fit, they will hire you. This has become an increasingly favorite way to make strategic hires –that stick – in todays business world and downturned economy.Because of the solid relationship they have with their clients, companies also turn to outside recruiters when they need tohire permanent full-time staff, often called direct hire. The recruiter will assist you with preparations for your interviewsand offer guidance on how you can be most successful. They will also assist you with salary negotiations and give you afair and honest appraisal of what they think you can realistically command in todays marketplace, and how you measureup against the other candidates.Most staffing firms will ask you to sign an industry-standard agreement that you will not accept work from the companiesthey present your resume to, or for whom you contract with through them, for a period of 12 months after thatpresentation or work assignment. This does not hinder in any way your ability to work for any other companies or for yourown clients. And the contract should not prohibit you from working with multiple staffing firms. If it does, don’t sign it.Three ways to increase the likelihood of their calling you about a job.First, be as flexible as possible, easy to get a hold of, and responsive. If you’re willing to work in the suburbs as well asthe city (or vice versa), will consider short as well as long term freelance assignments, are negotiable about hourly rate,work hours and types of working environments, you’ll expand the number of opportunities they can consider you for. (Forexample, if you’ve told them you prefer to only work downtown, they won’t call you about a job in the suburbs even if youhave the right experience and skill set.)Second, expand and deepen your skills. For some jobs, the more software programs you know and the better you are atthem, the more likely they are to call you. Hiring managers, especially those using temporary staffing companies, oftenare looking for people who can do several things well without a lot of instruction. So going back to school to learn newskills or improving on those you already have, may make you more marketable – and employable.Third, if you’re a Creative you should have an online portfolio, but the truly savvy job seeker also has one or more PDFportfolios to share via email. Staffing firm recruiters like this because many of their clients want them to email suchportfolios to along with your resume. Speaking of resumes, make sure you give your recruiter any updated versions thatyou create. And if you really want to make your recruiter love you, take the time to remove all contact info, except yourname, from your resume and PDF portfolio before you send it to him/her.Fourth, be honest and transparent with your recruiter. If you are interviewing at 3 other companies, tell her. If you’vereceived an offer but aren’t sure whether to accept it, tell him. If the recruiter tells you about a great job at company X,and you interviewed with them last year, then tell the recruiter. The more upfront you are, the better then can help you.Lastly, develop a reputation for being a great worker. Recruiters check in with their clients as well as their talent to find outhow things are going shortly after every placement, and continue to do so as long as you are on the job. The workers theytend to place again and again are those who seem to fit in well with diverse groups and who make themselves likable toeveryone they work with. In short, playing well with others pays off (and you’ll make your Mom proud). What you do andsay while youre on a job always manages to find its way back to the recruiter, the bad things often more frequently thanthe good.How to make sure you don’t get lost in the system.Let’s face it. You’re not the only great candidate on their roster. That’s why clients love working with staffing firms;because they have so many pre-screened candidates to choose from.Of course, not all of the people in the pool will be considered for the same job you might be right for, but still, gettingyourself firmly entrenched in a recruiter’s top-of-mind after you’ve interviewed with them is always a good idea.Here are some tips on how to keep in touch with your recruiter so they think of you first for jobs fitting your skill set: Make sure you update your contact information regularly in their system. If you’ve moved, changed your phone numberor e-mail address since you first talked to or interviewed with them, let them know immediately. Otherwise, they maycall or e-mail and be unable to reach you.
Let them know what your availability is every other week if you want to be considered for freelance gigs. Emails,Tweets, Facebook messages, instant messages and phone calls all work. Send your recruiter periodic career updates when appropriate. For example, if you publish a book or blog, learn a newsoftware program, win an award, write or design a project for a new industry, etc., that news may be enough to makeyou eligible for more jobs, and it puts you in front of the recruiter again. Let them know when you go ‘off the market’ and then update them again when you are ready for freelance work oremployment.You have rights.Most recruiters love their job and are in this line of work because they like to help people. But some recruiters or staffingfirms have gotten a bad reputation. This usually happens because a job seeker’s expectations of what they will do forthem (i.e., find them a job), and the reality of what they can actually do, haven’t been discussed in detail. That’s why wecreated this document; so there will be no misunderstandings.But there are some recruiters who are, well, a tad bit too eager to make a job placement, and they do things that giveother recruiters a black eye. You have rights when you deal with recruiters or staffing firms! Insist on them. Here they are: You have the right to be treated respectfully and courteously. If you aren’t, don’t work with that recruiter. You have the right to insist that recruiters never send your resume to a company as a candidate for a specific jobuntil they’ve talked to you about it first. After all, it might be a company you’ve already worked for, or a companyyou would never want to work for, or a company where an employee knows your current boss and tells her you’relooking for a new job! If a recruiter or staffing firm who you’ve never talked to calls you and says their client wants to interview or hireyou, be wary! They probably pulled your resume from an online site and sent it around to their clients withoutyour permission. Don’t work with someone who does this. You have the right to know where you stand in comparison to other people with backgrounds similar to yours –they are the people you’re competing against for a job. Just ask your recruiter how you stack up. You have the right to negotiate any contract or agreement the staffing firm asks you to sign – and be sure to readsuch documents carefully. You have the right to register with as many other staffing agencies as you want. If you do, then just rememberthat it’s the first recruiter to call or email you about a job opening who gets to present you to that company. This isimportant to know since a company may have as many as 10 staffing firms all recruiting people for the same job,and so you may be contacted multiple times by different recruiters. To make sure that multiple recruiters dont tryto submit your resume to the same job/company, you have the right to know the name of the company when arecruiter calls you about an opening. You should insist on knowing that. You have the right to say ‘no thanks’ when they call you about a contract job, without them feeling slighted ormaking you feel bad. You have the right to know that for contract jobs, recruiters mark-up the hourly rate they pay you anywhere from50 to 75% and that is what their client pays them. The difference in the pay and bill rate is what they use to paytheir staff, rent, utilities and other bills, and hopefully make some profit and stay in business. You have the right to know that if a recruiter places you in a full-time job, the hiring company pays the recruiter afee that is a percentage of your salary, usually from 15 to 25%. Once you’ve started working a contract job through a staffing firm, you have the right to change your mind andquit, as long as you give the staffing firm two weeks’ notice just as you would give to any other employer.www.wunderlandgroup.comSan Francisco | Chicago | New York