Professional recruiters (the companies that are hired to help corporations fill specific openings) mostly work on a “bounty hunting” model. They are paid a fee when they place someone in a job, and conversely are paid nothing if they don’t succeed. It’s a logical question for job seekers to ask whether they can help, although few truly understand that recruiters live in a commission-only free-for-all.
There are often five or six recruiting firms vying to fill the same job, and they don’t have time to waste getting to know unemployed job seekers. They are typically working on 5-6 assignments, and if you’re not a fit for one of those jobs, your chances are nil.
Now, back to the question: Should you call a recruiter?
As a general rule, I’d say “no,” although that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get your resume in front of them. Generally speaking, recruiters call candidates and not the other way around. Recruiting firms are inundated with candidates calling and sending resumes. As a result, recruiters mostly ignore inbound candidates.
So, what’s a job seeker to do? Here’s the trick: have a trusted intermediary introduce you to the recruiter. A simple email from someone they know and trust gives you much better odds for making the connection. Recruiters live in a networked world, and it often helps to find the intersection point between your network and their network.
As a final thought, many recruiting firms advertise their openings on popular career sites. The next time you see one that looks interesting, consider working your network of friends and colleagues to get in front of the recruiter. If you can find a connection that will introduce you and your resume, your odds of an interview will rise dramatically.
Should You Use a Recruiter? by Harrison Barnes