JOB HUNT: RECRUITER OR NOT?
Almost a year ago, as I was about 4-5 months from graduation, I decided to start to get a feel for the job market and hopefully land myself a job even before getting my diploma. Interestingly, right as I was about to check out the APTA job site, I got a call from a gal who had called me a year earlier. I remember she had said she was a recruiter and wanted to know if I was interested in having assistance with job hunting. At the time, I told her I still had a year and a half to go, but if she wanted, she was welcome to call back. . . and call back she did.
I told her, in general terms, what I was looking for, in that I thought my primary interests were in the outpatient orthopedic area and I wanted to start working right after graduation. Talk about gasoline to a fire. Within a week, I had more interview contacts than I knew what to do with, and I soon realized that I had to be very specific and firm with how the recruiter could help me. Long story made short (too late for that, you may say), I found a job on my own and am very happy with my decision here in Colorado Springs, CO.
From the above experience (and many other similar ones not shared along the way), I would like to share my perspective of the pros and cons of going through a recruiter.
1) THEY ARE USUALLY FREE. . . . KIND OF.
Although their services to you may be no cost out of your pocket, they usually get a fee/percentage by the employer who hires you. It may be worth asking the recruiter how much they charge employers who end up hiring you.
2) THEY WILL BE LOOKING FOR JOBS FOR YOU WHILE YOU ARE BUSY ON INTERNSHIPS.
It’s nice having someone checking out what is available while you are doing other things. However, be VERY specific with what you want, where you want, and when you want it. Otherwise, they may bring you everything under the sun. Remember, they have to pay their bills too.
3) THEY MAY HAVE ACCESS TO SOME INTERNET SITES/ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU ARE UNAWARE OF.
Although this may be true, all of the job opportunities I was given could be found on the APTA or hospital sites.
4) THEY MAY BE HELPFUL WITH INTERVIEW COACHING AND SALARY NEGOTIATION.
I got some good ideas that helped me present myself more professionally.
1) There is a certain independence taken out of the picture and I sometimes felt like I always had to go through the “middle-man” recruiter before making any decisions.
2) I thought I was smart when another recruiter called and offered his services. So, I let them both look for jobs, for about 2 days. Way too overwhelming; a little awkward when both were trying to contact the same employers for me. It just doesn’t work.
3) Again, I didn’t like the idea that although a company/employer was willing to pay me a sign-on bonus, part of that could have potentially gone to the recruiter, all because he/she responded to an email on the APTA about a job.
Although my con list may be too negative, I have nothing against recruiters. They can be a valuable resource as you get a feel for what your first job will be. I found recruiters for specific PT companies were much more helpful and less aggressive when it came to applying and looking at their company jobs.
Recruiters can be a mentor, give great advice, and will work night and day for you. I just learned it wasn’t for me. I wanted to present my experiences because I was never taught about what the purpose of a recruiter may be. With how competitive the job market is, having a recruiter ally may go well in the long run. Either way, I wish you the best with whatever route you go. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org