The average Singaporean under 35 changes job every 3.4 years. Unless you plan on being abused by your current boss for the rest of your life, it’s worth your while to make the job hunting process as efficient as possible. Some of my friends swear by job recruiters or headhunters and do none of the legwork themselves, while others prefer to trawl through JobsDB on their own.
But what does a job recruiter actually do? Here’s the lowdown on what headhunters can and can’t do for you.
What do recruiters do?
While most job hunters have the misguided impression that the only thing headhunters can do is to try to find job vacancies for them, that’s not quite the case. A headhunter is not a guy who sits behind a computer screen helping you to apply for jobs on JobsDB. For that you’ll need to pay some poor schmuck on Fiver.com.
Eunice, 31-year-old managing consultant of recruitment firm Jadeclover, shares with us some of the things recruiters actually do for you.
- Tidy up your resume – “Most of the resumes we receive look awful. We tidy up resumes to make them easy for employers to read, and we help candidates emphasise their strengths and relevant experience. A lot of times they don’t know what an employer is looking for and each employer could be looking for something different,” says Eunice.
- Match you to exclusive jobs – No matter how hard you look on JobsDB, you’re not going to find many of the jobs that recruiters can match you up with. “Some jobs may be exclusive to recruiters only,” says Eunice. Companies often outsource headhunting to recruitment firms so they don’t have to bother posting and managing job ads.
- Give you inside info – The recruiter’s real clients are the employers, and not the job hunters. So they are privy to lots of inside info that a regular job seeker wouldn’t otherwise have. They know exactly what the employer is looking for, and most recruiters will give you tip-offs before an interview concerning the employer’s preferences and concerns. “Recruiters can also share information about the company such as the benefits, working culture and stability of the business,” says Eunice. They can also provide information on what time employees usually knock off, whether the employer is very strict about working hours and why the last hire left.
- Negotiate salary – It’s often in the recruiter’s best interests to negotiate a higher salary for you as they are frequently paid commissions according to your earnings. “When it comes to negotiating for a higher salary after receiving an offer it helps when there is a recruiter. There have been many cases of candidates not getting a job because they didn’t know how to negotiate the salary,” says Eunice.
How much does it cost?
The good news is that job candidates can usually enjoy recruitment services for free.
“Some agencies do charge a fee, however,” cautions Eunice. “But you shouldn’t have to pay more than $50.”
Who should be using a recruiter?
While technically anyone can send their resume over to a recruiter, in practice recruiters tend to be able to find jobs more easily for certain kinds of people.
First of all, you need to ensure that the recruiter you engage has the types of jobs you’re looking for. Some recruiters specialise in a particular field—for instance, Legal Labs specialises in Legal Hires while Jadeclover specialises in the oil and gas, construction and environmental industries.
“Usually employers will engage recruiters because they have urgent openings, and can’t find people to fill them,” says Eunice.
Such positions often require some years of experience or specialised skills or qualifications. That means someone with at least 3-4 years of experience in a particular field is likely to have much more success using a recruitment agency than a fresh grad.
If you’re open to a wide range of positions, you just might be in luck. Eunice says, “Usually recruiters will have a pool of job vacancies, so even if the candidate cannot fit position A, he might be able to fit position B if he is willing to considering something slightly different.”
So if you’ve got a few valuable years of experience behind you and your main objective is just to get the hell out of your current job and you’re not too fussy about where you end up next, you just might be a headhunter’s dream come true.
Have you ever used a recruiter? Share your experiences in the comments!