Have you been contacted by an outside recruiter about a potential job opportunity? You're not alone. More jobs were filled by third-party recruiters last year than in each of the past eight years, according the CareerXroads Source of Hire report, released last week.
Incorporating recruiters in your job search strategy yields another source to hear about opportunities that you may not have learned about otherwise. Another way to get sourced for opportunities is by having the right online reputation.
Many job seekers are confused about how recruiters work, or they have unrealistic expectations of what a recruiter is supposed to do. Learn about the different types of recruiters and review how their roles are slightly different. While the role may vary from recruiter to recruiter, these general guidelines offer a place to start:
This term applies to people whose primary responsibility is to find and hire the best candidate for job openings. There are two types of recruiters: inside recruiters and external or third-party recruiters. While their mission is the same, how they are compensated is different. Inside recruiters are salaried employees with a full load of positions to fill. External recruiters are usually paid commission based on jobs filled.
They are often called "in-house recruiters" or "corporate recruiters." Companies with numerous positions to fill often have internal recruiters who are solely responsible for hiring, whereas smaller companies have human resources teams that oversee all aspects of talent management. Inside recruiters are typically employees of the company, but sometimes they can be contracted employees.
The pros and cons: What's nice about inside recruiters is that they know the culture and overall needs of the organization or company. However, inside recruiters may not know the true nature of the job if they don't have a close relationship with the hiring manager or haven't previously placed people within that department. Also, inside recruiters often serve as filters that screen candidates who don't fit the criteria.
External or Third-Party Recruiters
External or third-party recruiters are hired by a company to fill positions. Almost 6 percent of new hires were attributed to using third-party recruiters in 2013, according to CareerXroads. A company may decide to use these types of recruiters for a number of reasons: There's been an increase in the number of jobs to be filled; the position is very specific and difficult to fill; or the company wants to keep the opening quiet.
The main responsibilities for both external and internal recruiters is to find and present the most qualified candidate. External recruiters fall into two camps: retained or contingent. Retained means that that the recruiter or agency has a contract relationship with the company (either exclusive or not) to help find the right talent. Contingent means contingent on placement. In other words: If a recruiter provides the candidate who gets hired, he or she gets paid. If the candidate presented is not hired, the recruiter is not compensated. You may even notice several recruiters competing to fill the same job. You should only partner with one recruiter in this case.
The pros and cons: An external recruiter serves as a middleman between you and the company. If one job doesn't work out, he or she may have other opportunities for you. Plus, if you meet the qualifications of the job the recruiter is trying to fill, he or she will be extremely interested in you. But keep in mind that not all recruiters are created equal. Some have less than scrupulous reputations and recruiting practices. Also, if a recruiter doesn't place many people with jobs like yours, you may not hear from him or her again.
In some cases, companies have specialists known as sourcers. These professionals do the digging to find the very best candidates and then pass the candidate information to the recruiter. Sourcers are known for their masterful sleuthing and research abilities. More than 60 percent of the companies surveyed in the CareerXroads report said they have a separate division or group that only does sourcing. Imagine the difference in workload if you were a recruiter who didn't have to find candidates.
The decline in resume database searching gives candidates one more reason to enrich their LinkedIn presences. CareerXroads reported that when hiring from a job board, 50 percent of companies hired from job postings rather than resume searches. Spend time refining your LinkedIn profile, which almost 60 percent of companies said has a critical impact on sourcing and recruiting candidates.
The number of new hires sourced from referrals, job boards and career sites decreased last year, but it's still significant. One of the few sources of hire expected to increase is direct sourcing, which grew by 5 percentage points between 2012 and 2013, according to CareerXroads. So what does this mean for you? To be a sourced candidate, you want to be recognized or well-known within your industry or role, connected to the right people or have optimized keywords in your LinkedIn profile and other places online.
Hannah Morgan writes and speaks on career topics and job search trends on her blog Career Sherpa. She co-authored "Social Networking for Business Success," and has developed and delivered programs to help job seekers understand how to look for work better.
More From US News & World Report