Many companies have a definite pecking order of recruiters - some recruiters will have calls returned quickly and gain candidate feedback while others may have little hiring manager communication. Some hiring managers play favorites with certain recruiting vendors, so determining if the recruiter calling you is a favorite or at the bottom of the pile can be helpful. Some companies will assign HR to working with most recruiters, while the hiring manager may choose one or two to work with more closely.
Here's a list of some of the major types of client relationships a contingent fee recruiter may have:
- Primary: This is the recruiter you want to work with, who has the primary staffing relationship with the hiring manager. The recruiter speaks to the hiring manager directly (rather than to HR) and the recruiter has staffed a number of different positions for that specific hiring manager. The leading indicator of this type of relationship is a track record of successful hires for a specific hiring manager. Ask the recruiter how many positions they have staffed for this hiring manager in the past 12 months, if the primary relationship is with the hiring manager or with HR, how often they speak and meet directly to the hiring manager.
- Approved: This is a recruiter who has been approved by the company's contracting or procurement process. If the company uses approved vendors it may be difficult for a recruiter who has not yet been approved to place you. Just because the recruiter is approved does not mean they have a relationship with the hiring manager. Just because a recruiter has a "contract" doesn't mean they are favored - most companies work with 3 or more recruiters per position (some work with over 10). If your target company uses approved vendors, look for a recruiter who is both already an approved vendor and who has a direct relationship with the hiring manager.
- Vendor Management: Companies who employ vendor management for the hiring process use an outsourced firm (usually part of a large recruiting firm) to outsource managing recruiters, managing the HR database, managing pre-screening, and other parts of the hiring process. Typically the recruiting firm who controls the vendor management system has an inherent advantage in placing their own candidates. Ask the recruiter who contacts you if the company uses a vendor management system, and which system they use. Work directly with recruiters from the firm controlling the vendor management system to get closer to the hiring manager.
- New: If this is a new client relationship with the hiring manager, the recruiter is at the bottom of the pile. While the recruiter may be willing to work harder to earn the placement, realistically they have less direct hiring manager contact than a recruiter who places people with this hiring manager consistently. If you choose to work with recruiters in new relationships, be prepared to be their learning curve.
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