Working With Personnel Counselors and Recruiters

In the professional world, there are several basic ways you can get hired:

1. Personal initiative: You send your resume in response to an online job posting or newspaper ad or hand it to a corporate representative at a career fair.

2. Personal referral: A friend or relative alerts you to a job opening with their employer. Employers often reward the referring employee when you are hired so make certain that you fill in the application line, “Referred by____” completely.

3. Personnel Agency, Personnel Counselor or Staffing Services: A personnel counselor recruits a job order from a company and then either matches the job order to an existing candidate OR advertises online or in newspapers for that candidate. A personnel counselor does NOT call you at work to recruit you for a job-that is the principle difference between a personnel counselor and a recruiter. A counselor has to wait for you to make the first contact while a recruiter does not.

4. In most states, a personnel counselor is NOT allowed to take a fee from you (the candidate) but always verify that BEFORE you go on the interview. Until 1982 in California, a personnel agency could charge the candidate as well as the company a fee for the placement and thus split the fee between the two. That has changed. In 2009, many agencies state up front in their advertising and on their web sites that they are 100% employer paid.

5. Personnel agencies, such as Snelling Staffing, Abbott Staffing Group, and Apple One, usually have both a store front and an online corporate web site on which they post jobs. You can search for jobs next door or in the next state.

6. Recruiters and Headhunters: “Recruiter” and “headhunter” Recruitment IT are interchangeable terms for a person who not only recruits job orders from companies but also actively recruits candidates through personal phone calls and e-mails. Recruiters are 95% paid by the corporate client, not by you, but it is always wise to verify.

The Ground Rules:

A personnel counselor waits for you to walk in the door. He or she matches you up with a job order that he or she already has or finds a job that fits your specifications. If the person does not understand what you do now or what you want to do in your next job, it will be very difficult to make a job match. Therefore, be willing to educate this personnel counselor on your career field, the intricacies of your job, and the type of company you would like to join.

A recruiter or headhunter is hired by a corporation to find exactly the person the company needs. Most recruiters are hired for their sales abilities. A few agencies hire someone with extensive experience in a field (e.g., electrical engineering) and teach him or her how to recruit and place candidates (like you). Because recruiters know the field, they can tell whether the candidate is “blowing sunshine up their skirts” or if the candidate actually knows the subject.


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