Working with a Recruiter

Recruiters, sometimes referred to as headhunters, find qualified applicants to fill open positions at a company. Many recruiters work exclusively with companies and clientele in a specific industry, such as information technology or pharmaceuticals. Some recruiters only work to fill high-level executive positions while others seek applicants at lower levels. Oftentimes, recruiters are former industry professionals who understand job expectations and the types of candidates their clients need. Recruiters either work internally or externally. Internal recruiters work for companies as members of the human resources team. External recruiters work for independent recruitment firms.

Candidates should know that recruiters serve employers rather than job seekers. They research applicants to find the best candidates and present them to the company’s hiring manager. The hiring manager makes the final decision. The recruiter introduces the job seeker to the company and gives them an opportunity to showcase their skills to the hiring manager. Recruiters are liaisons between job seekers and companies, scheduling and conducting interviews, answering questions, and helping with negotiations. They communicate with the potential employee to let them know the hiring manager’s timeline for interviews and completing tests, as well as address other concerns. Recruiters can help psychology professionals secure competitive positions at prestigious companies and universities.

Finding Psychology Recruiters

Many recruiters use the internet to find candidates by posting positions on major job boards, like Indeed, and contacting qualified applicants. Recruiters also use job boards to scout for job seekers. Recruiters initiate contact with candidates through email or by phone. To get a recruiter’s attention, post your resume on multiple job boards and create profiles for networking sites like LinkedIn. Be sure to post your picture and your contact information. If you’re on a site that allows you to post your geographic location, like LinkedIn, be sure to include that to attract recruiters in your area. To find recruiters on your own, visit online directories like the Online Recruiters Directory and Searchfirm.com and perform a Google search for local employment agencies. Typically, recruiters do not charge a fee. Instead, they take a percentage of your earnings once you land a job placement. If you’re seeking a more personal approach, consider joining professional organizations and speaking with colleagues that can introduce you to industry recruiters.

Initial Interview with a Psychology Recruiter

Candidates must remember that recruiters work for the employer. Therefore, job seekers should refrain from oversharing. Certain things you share with the recruiter will boost your hiring prospects, while other information may remove you from the running. Generally, recruiters schedule a phone screening before meeting candidates in person. Typically, they email clients to set up a phone screening or call them directly to ask if they have time to speak about a job opportunity. During the phone screening, recruiters give a full description of the job, including responsibilities and expectations, and take any questions you might have. The recruiter will also likely ask you questions regarding your salary expectations, current job, career goals, and the type of job you’re looking for. Additionally, recruiters will review your resume and ask you to discuss your positions and duties at previous companies. At this stage of the interview process, be sure to only highlight your strengths. Avoid discussing your current financial situation, lowest salary offer, or the fact that you don’t have any other job prospects.

The Job Interviewing Process

Despite multiple interviews and screens with the recruiter, job seekers still need to meet with the company's hiring manager to secure a job. Typically, the recruiter sets up the interview by coordinating schedules and facilitating a meeting. Clients either conduct interviews onsite or at the recruiter’s office. After the interview, recruiters speak to candidates to learn their thoughts on the employer and the position, and they may offer some advice. Sometimes, clients allow recruiters to conduct interviews on their behalf to narrow down the list of candidates. Under these circumstances, the hiring manager meets with the top two or three candidates and makes a final decision. Recruiters assist the client at each stage of the interview pipeline. If clients need candidates to complete tests or send documents, the recruiter handles it. Recruiters are also in charge of submitting the final job offer to the potential employee.

Advantages of Working with a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter can greatly increase your job prospects. Oftentimes, companies use recruiters to hire multiple candidates for various company positions. A good recruiter understands your strengths and wants to ensure that you are a good fit for the position. It’s helpful to discuss salary expectations during the phone screen to ensure you and the recruiter are aligned on expectations. Many companies pay recruiters through commission, which incentivizes them to get you the best possible job offer. Ultimately, recruiters should alleviate the time and energy you spend searching for jobs by sharing salary expectations and information about the company’s culture. Sometimes, employers seek intangible qualities like a certain personality type or attitude. Therefore, it helps to ask the recruiter as many questions as possible about the company and its employees to get a clear picture of what they’re after. A good recruiter will be able to field your questions and provide tips to help you look more favorable to employers.

Potential Disadvantages of Working with a Recruiter

Candidates hope recruiters have their best interests in mind, but they must remember that recruiters do not get paid unless a job placement is secured. As a result, some recruiters encourage candidates to take jobs that might not be a strong fit. Job seekers should be discerning and refuse offers that are not aligned with their goals. Furthermore, well-intentioned recruiters reach out to certain candidates because they view them as a good fit for the company, but be sure to conduct your own research on the company in case it is not the fit that the recruiter thinks it is. Headhunters don’t always tell candidates everything about the position and its requirements initially, so it is prudent for candidates to ask questions to gain further insight into the company. Recruiters typically put the company’s needs first, so job seekers should do the same for themselves; leave any negative commentary out of your feedback, because recruiters may relay it to the client.

  • Don't Take a Shotgun Approach to Finding Recruiters
    Candidates should be selective about the recruiters they work with. Find someone that you feel confident will help you advance your career.
  • Dress Professionally for In-Person Meetings
    Presentation is important. Recruiters and employers may turn away candidates who are not appropriately dressed for the position.
  • Send Thank-You Notes
    Sending thank-you notes to recruiters indicates an appreciation for their hard work, which helps to build a strong rapport between the job seeker and recruiter.
  • Develop a Rapport with Your Recruiter
    Whether a candidate secures the placement or not, it’s a good idea for them to stay in touch with the recruiter in case the recruiter has a promising opportunity in the future.

How Many Times Do You Meet with a Recruiter, on Average?

Job seekers meet with recruiters at least once before moving down the interview pipeline. The recruiter may also call the job seeker after an interview with the hiring manager.

What Kind of Qualifications Do Recruiters Typically Have?

Most recruiters used to work in the field they recruit for or currently work in a company’s HR department. As such, many psychology recruiters have degrees in psychology or the social sciences.

Can You Work with Multiple Recruiters at the Same Time?

Candidates can work with more than one recruiter as long as they do not sign any non-compete clauses with a headhunter or agency. Most recruiters expect clients to field job offers from multiple clients.

What Are the Signs of a Good Recruiter?

Good recruiters offer solid advice to candidates, provide good referrals, and use their industry contacts to help job seekers find other opportunities.

What Are the Signs of a Substandard Recruiter?

Substandard recruiters tend to encourage candidates to take jobs they are not completely qualified for. They may also reach out to candidates without properly reviewing their resume.