Looking for someone to help you find a job? There are thousands of recruiters to choose from, each with his or her own style, strengths and weaknesses. Some of the differences between staffing firms may be subtle, while others are more obvious – but all are important to consider when you're selecting a partner to help you in your search for work.
Generalist versus specialist recruiters
Generalist recruiters will take on candidates and clients from all walks of life. Specialist recruiters are experts in staffing for a particular industry or line of work – finance and accounting, technology or administration, for example. There are big benefits to partnering with a specialist in your field. These recruiters are experienced at working effectively in your industry because they've developed contacts and relationships that can be used to your advantage. And specialist recruiters are often among the first to know about job openings in your field.
Large versus small recruiters
Some agencies employ hundreds or thousands of recruiters; others consist of just one, two or a handful of staffing experts. Though any size firm can effectively place candidates in jobs, recruiting agencies with more resources and broader networks are more likely to find the best employment fit for you. Plus, individual recruiters who have colleagues in multiple offices typically communicate with each other about openings and share information on how to place certain candidates. In other words, a bigger recruiting firm's "base" of shared knowledge could give you a better shot at getting placed.
Established versus startup recruiters
There's something to be said about staying power. While a newly established recruiting firm could, by all means, achieve incredible future success, this could take time. And, when it comes to your career, you may not be in the mood to gamble. The nice thing about firms that have years of experience is you can see a proven track record. Many will be more than happy to share candidate success stories and testimonials with you – if they're not, consider it a red flag. Established recruiters are also more likely to have survived all sorts of market twists and turns and to have forged deep and trusting relationships with employers and will take a long-range view to finding you the right job.
When you're looking for work, a recruiter can be your best friend, but you need to choose wisely. Take your time, ask questions and research different types of recruiters on your own. The payoff of meaningful employment will be well worth it.