Understanding The Role Of The Recruiter

So you are attending a job fair. The room is filled with booths and tables staffed by human resources representatives, or recruiters, from a wide range of companies in a wide range of industries. Before you start making the rounds, it is important to understand the role of the recruiter and how he or she will affect your job search.

The recruiter’s role

Some job seekers do not fully understand the role of the recruiter. They view recruiters as getting in the middle or in the way of their job search, preventing direct contact with the hiring manager(s) for available positions.

These job seekers are going to have a long and frustrating job search, because the vast majority of companies now use recruiters almost exclusively to facilitate the hiring process. The recruiter has four main roles to fulfill:

  • Company representative
  • Gatekeeper and screener
  • Inform and educate candidates
  • Negotiate offers

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Company representative

The recruiter is the company’s representative to potential employees – the “face” of the company at job fairs and such. His or her job is to promote the benefits and advantages of working for their company in an effort to attract the best and brightest job candidates. This role has grown tremendously in importance as the job market has become more and more competitive. In some industries where qualified workers are difficult to find the recruiter’s job takes on many of the characteristics of a marketing professional, trying to “sell” workers on the company and get them excited about working there.

Gatekeeper and screener

The recruiter also serves as the primary gatekeeper and screener of resumes and job applicants. This is particularly important at job fairs as they usually have the opportunity to meet the candidates and learn a bit more about them. One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is to be dismissive or impatient when speaking with recruiters. This is a very poor choice indeed, as the recruiter will consider personal interactions with candidates as one factor in whether or not to grant an interview.

Inform and educate candidates

The recruiter is an important source of information and education for job candidates. They can provide important details and insights about specific jobs and responsibilities, as well as provide a good overview of the company culture and what to expect when employed there. The recruiter is also a critical source of information about benefits and other aspects of overall compensation, which can be very important indeed when considering more than one job offer.

Negotiate offers

The recruiter often plays a role in negotiating the specifics of job offers. They work with hiring managers to ensure salary ranges are appropriate based on internal and external factors, and they may also act as the primary negotiating contact for salary issues. In many companies, the hiring manager has to gain the approval of the recruiter in order to extend an offer or alter the terms of the offer extended.

Putting it all together

The extent to which a recruiter plays each of these roles will vary from company to company. They may share some of these responsibilities with the hiring manager, or they may take on more of a consultant role to the hiring manager. Either way, no job seeker can afford to dismiss or ignore the role of a recruiter if they hope to have a successful job search.


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