Several entry-level job seeking readers have inquired about the possible role of executive recruiters in their searches, while a couple have complained about never hearing back from them. So, with the help of two of the best PR recruiters in the business, here are some insights into the world of “headhunters.”
“I think young professionals should do their homework on the recruiters first,” recommends Lisa Ryan of Heyman Assoicates. “Find out what level they handle. Companies tend not to use retained search firms for more junior-level searches, but rather post online. It’s cost prohibitive.”
There are two types of recruiters — retained and contingency. Retained search firms are hired by companies and agencies to find specific talent, while contingency firms identify people and then try to place them with organizations. Contingency recruiters get paid when and if they are successful making a placement. With both types of firms it is a good idea to have someone recommend you rather than trying to contact them directly–unless you are responding to a specific job that they are attempting to fill.
As for recruiters not returning messages, KornFerry’s Don Spetner explains: “The problem is that recruiters are being inundated with resumes, thanks to email and web posting technology. It is virtually impossible for them to respond to all submissions, and thus they only respond when there is a likelihood of a true match with an open position.”
For entry-level searches, I recommend that you stick to the basics and not spend too much time pursuing recruiters. While Lisa Ryan says Heyman responds to all inquiries, executive recruiters aren’t being hired to find you. Focus, instead, on traditional search channels through company and agency postings, job boards and your own network of college and personal contacts.