If your job search is proving less than fruitful, and you’ve applied directly with dozens of companies with no results, you may be missing out on a slew of jobs not advertised through traditional means. Many companies do not post all of their open positions - for confidentiality/replacement reasons, or because they know that working through a staffing firm will fill the position quicker without having to deal with the pre-screening.
The benefit to working with a recruiter is that, as the recruiter gets to know your specific skillset, she can consider you for multiple positions, all of which you may never have found on your own.
There are a few different ways you can work toward permanent placement with a staffing firm:
Starting With Temporary or Contract Work
Many people associate staffing agencies with temporary or contract positions. That’s because many companies start employing a new hire on a temporary basis to ensure he’s a good fit. From there, the recruiter may be able to offer you a permanent placement if the company likes your work.
Contract work is a good opportunity for you as well. It gives you the chance to see if you enjoy your role at a company without feeling tied to it. Many roles are listed as “temp-to-perm,” meaning there is the potential for a job to turn into a permanent role. You aren’t required to accept the position if you aren’t interested beyond the contracted period.
On the flip side, contract work is, by nature, less stable than a permanent position. You may be working month-to-month, and never know when your contract will end. Many people can’t handle that instability
Many recruiters, also known as “headhunters”, work on a permanent placement basis. This is what we do at Paradigm Staffing. Companies hire the recruiter to work on a specific search on a contingency or a retainer basis. Sometimes the relationship is exclusive, many times it is not. It’s not uncommon to hear about the same position at the same company from different staffing firms (although there are many reasons a company shouldn't farm out searches to many recruiters!). For permanent placement recruiters, it’s about finding the best candidates for the client’s needs, regardless of job seeking status.
While it’s important that the staffing agency has relationships with candidates in their industry, most “placements” come through networking with industry contacts and directly approaching potential “passive” candidates working at competing companies. In short, the staffing agency does not actively source companies to place a candidate, it’s the other way around.
How to Find a Recruiter... and Be Found
There are several ways to find a recruiter who can help you with permanent placement. A Google search will reveal plenty of results, but you’d do better to ask colleagues for a referral to a reputable firm. You’d be able to quickly identify individual recruiters by doing an advanced title/keyword search on LinkedIn. Most recruiters will have a LinkedIn profile and should have some keywords included that will help you identify their area of speciality.
If you aren’t actively looking, you should keep up active profiles where recruiters may be looking. It’s not necessary to post your resume on the major job boards to be found. Enough information on your blog, LinkedIn, or Facebook profiles could make it easy for your name to come up in a search result. Even if you’re not currently looking for a new gig, maintain relationships with recruiters so that you can check in when you’re ready with an update on your professional goals. Send an occasional email update, or just a quick tweet to stay in touch.
If you’re a temporary employee of a company and were placed by a staffing agency, you will likely be paid by the agency. If you receive benefits, they probably come from the agency as well, not the company you’re working for. You’ll submit your time worked to the recruiter and update your schedule with her.
Once you go permanent, this may change. Often you “change hands” from the recruiting firm to the employer at this point, and will go into the company’s payroll system and receive company benefits. This varies by situation, so talk to your recruiter to better understand her process.
If you are placed directly into a permanent gig, you’ll most likely be employed directly by the company. There should never be a fee associated with your placement. Industry standard compensation practice between companies and recruiters is the company pays recruiting fees apart and directly to the recruiter. It’s not a conversation the employee every engages in at any point in the process.