Are You Better Off Using a Recruiter or Self-Search for Your Next Job?

According to recent surveys by Microsoft and McKinsey, around 40 percent of workers are considering leaving their jobs, and if you’re in that number, you may be wondering, what’s the best way to find your next opportunity. What are the advantages of using a recruiter versus applying on your own? Well, the answer really does depend on what you are looking for.

Are you better off using a recruiter_In Article

Self-search advantages: The quality of your opportunities

We have all gotten the flood of emails with jobs we have no interest in—in fact, it can almost put you off the job search all together. Has the recruiter even read your resume? Well, to be honest, it might not matter if they did—a recruiter may have a certain type of role they are assigned to work on, and they are trying to get that position filled, without much thought regarding your capabilities or interests. They are hoping that in throwing out a wide net they will get a sizable number of responses. When you self-search you can look for specific opportunities that appear to be a great fit for you—roles that will allow you use your skills and grow in your career without being distracted by a flood of options you know will not work for you.

Self-search advantages: Direct communication

Like a game of telephone, a recruiter go-between is not always the best thing for quality communication. You have to wait for the recruiter to send you notes from the employer, and for them to ferry your responses back. And what if they miss an email along the way? They are juggling a lot of candidates, and likely do not have the bandwidth to keep up with a flood of messages. When you are managing the relationship with your potential employer from the start, your communication has the opportunity to be much more direct.

Self-search advantages: You get the real job description

Recruiters work on commission, so it is in their best interest that you do not take the job description they have given you, find the post on your own, and apply for it via the company’s website. However, this means the job description and the description of the company in general can become so vague and unhelpful, you cannot even tell if you will be a good fit or not. When you find and apply to a job on your own, you know exactly what the employer is looking for and why you would be a good fit.

Recruiter advantages: The inside scoop

There are times when a recruiter will be able to give you really valuable information about your potential employer that you might not have access to otherwise. If they have a relationship with the company they may know details on the salary range available for the position, the pros and cons of the culture, who your competition is, and special skills they want that aren’t necessarily in the job description.

Recruiter advantages: Not as much competition

When you are applying on your own, you are potentially up against a huge pool of candidates, and it will be difficult to rise to the top. When you are collaborating with a good recruiter who has a trusted relationship with certain employers, you will be in a much smaller group of options, and, if it is a really, really trusted relationship, you may even get opportunities to apply for roles that are not posted yet. There are arguments about the percentage rate, but we do know that a good number of roles are part of the “hidden job market”—positions that are filled through networking as opposed to traditional job postings. In these situations, a talented recruiter is constantly matchmaking behind the scenes, and it is possible, if you are a really good fit, you will have no competition at all. 

Clearly, there are advantages to using a recruiter and advantages to striking out on your own. Honestly, it is probably smart to use a combination of both, but if you do go the recruiter route, do your due diligence to find one who is experienced and knowledgeable and can truly help you grow your career by connecting you with the best opportunities. In the meantime, there is no time like the present to dive into trusted resources to find your next great position!


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