Recruiter Confessions: Insights from being a staffing recruiter

How becoming a temporary recruiter opened my eyes as a job seeker

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If you’re seeking for a job, you have most likely ran across a staffing recruiter who posted a job online or saw your LinkedIn profile and thought you would be a great fit for a position they’re looking to fill. Staffing recruiters differ from internal recruiters. Internal recruiters work for the company and work with the hiring manager to fill a vacant position. Staffing recruiters are outsourced by companies that don’t have the bandwidth or time to search for candidates on their own.

For a long time, I didn’t know their role in the job search until I became one. I worked as a temporary recruiting coordinator at a small staffing agency. Being a recruiter changed my outlook as a job seeker and now I’m going to reveal to you some of my staffing recruiter insights.

  • Little mistakes on your resume can count against you: I cannot tell you how many small mistakes ruined the chances of getting a candidate a job. I’ve seen resumes that were fantastic, but have no email or phone number listed. I’ve seen emails misspelled and phone numbers missing digits. Make sure you thoroughly proofread your resume before submitting.
  • If you piss off a recruiter, you will be blackballed by the agency: Even though it’s a staffing agency don’t think you could disrespect them try to use them again. As a recruiter, I’ve been hung up on, cussed out and talked down to. Most likely, they’ll have your name on file and won’t consider you for anything if you contact them again. If you’re not interested in an opportunity just politely decline.
  • They pay you a little bit, but they’re billing their client in double: A staffing agency makes its money in billable hours. For example, if a job order for a data entry analyst is needed and you’re hired, they might pay you $15 an hour, but the billable rate might be $25-$30 an hour. It truly makes you reconsider your own value and worth. If you took out the middle man, you are worth double the amount they pay you!
  • Recruiters can be biased: I hate to say this, but recruiters just like many people are biased. Being the only black girl working among my white coworkers, I can literally think of some cringe-worthy moments. For example, I remember overhearing one of my coworkers whispering to another – “Did she sound black?” A candidate shouldn’t be overlooked because of their name, tone of voice, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or anything. Recruiters should look at each resume as an equal candidate to consider for a position.
  • Dress for success even if the staffing agency isn’t hiring you: Even though the staffing agency isn’t the one hiring you, they are the liaison to getting you a job. While you don’t have to come in a full-business suit (even though you would get brownie points if you do), you have to look nice – even if it’s business casual. I’ve seen candidates come in sweatpants, leggings, tank tops and wonder why they weren’t considered for a job! Dress as if you were coming to meet the hiring manager. Also, hygiene is important! Take a shower, clean your fingernails, make your hair look nice. It might seem like we don’t notice these things, but we do.
  • Recruiters work for clients, not you: A lot of times candidates get frustrated at recruiters for not getting them a job, but the truth is they can’t hire you. They might have thought you were the perfect candidate, but the hiring manager might have other qualities that they’re looking for and unfortunately, they can’t control it. So please don’t leave any angry emails or voicemails to them. They are simply the liaison between you and the hiring manager.
  • Persistence is key: Follow up will keep you top of mind. I’m not saying to follow up every day, but a weekly or bimonthly follow up to a recruiter does keep your name at the top of their mind. Remember they might talk to dozens of candidates a day and receiving over hundreds of resumes per week – so they won’t remember you off the top of their head. However, a follow-up email would help cut through the cutter.
  • Be courteous when you have the job: Once you are hired, be a good employee. This goes for short assignments as well. You might receive a two-week assignment and the hiring manager likes you so much that they’ll extend your stay a couple weeks or perhaps months. Be on time! Don’t take two-hour lunches if your lunch break is an hour. These simple tasks could lead to a permanent position.
  • Clients aren’t exactly fair, but recruiters can’t do much: Remember recruiters are liaisons. Unfortunately, if a client is kinda crazy or difficult, they can’t do much about it. And mostly they want you to stay there so they can still get paid. But I would say be honest with the recruiter and request another assignment – and hopefully, they’ll find you another one. If the staffing agency doesn’t understand you might want to find another one.
  • Be honest: For certain positions, I was required to ask some very personal questions i.e. credit history, criminal records, etc. Most people were honest with me, but some were not and trust me, it will backfire if you lie. This also goes for your past jobs. If you worked at a job for five months, don’t say you were there for a year. Lying only makes the recruiter not trust you. Honesty is the best policy. We’ve all made mistakes, but it’s a matter of being upfront and moving forward.

Remember staffing agencies usually want you to interview with them first before they have you interview with their client. But remember that with staffing agencies it’s a numbers game – the more placements they get, the more money comes to the agency. So the recruiters might not think the best at heart when it comes to your career. Make the decision that would be the best for you.

Hopefully, these tips will be of help to you as a job seeker. Working with a staffing recruiter is a great way to get your foot in the door and generally, they have great clients from a variety of industries. Have you worked with a staffing agency? If so, how was your experience? And are you a staffing recruiter? What tips do you have for jobs seekers?

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