While very occasionally, as most are versed on the job hunt process, I sometimes receive an initial message response from a candidate asking to have the company reach out to them directly.
The way an individual interacts with me often will determine their ability to provide valuable customer service in the sales process as well as expose temperament and critical thinking skills, but sometimes albeit rarely, these are decent candidates who have not worked through a recruiter before or have had a poor experience.
I personally like to clear up any misconceptions and explain why the company is not contacting directly, as it can be due to a variety of reasons. The last thing a well qualified candidate wants to miss out on is an excellent opportunity due to a misunderstanding.
Most of the companies I personally work with are well backed start ups or growing subsidiaries with a well established parent, and in many cases I am working directly with the CEO. In this type of scenario they will likely never have time to personally prospect, source and screen candidates as well as obtain all of the information they need to in order to make an informative decision while running their company. Therefore, they use third party recruiters who specialize in finding talent for a living to track down their dream team player.
I did not contact you to solicit something to you. I reached out to you because I felt you were valuable, and wanted to see if you are well matched for a career that could change your life for a company that I believed in enough to accept working for. I’m not selling snake oil, but your career changes and makes up who you are.
Companies that are larger such as those in the Fortune 100 space also often use third party recruitment agencies when they are unable to find the right candidate, want to ‘cover all of their bases’ and not miss out on anyone, or are too busy and need the extra help. Recruitment agencies often even reach out to each other for assistance, because they understand all too well the value of ‘covering all of those bases’.
Another reason is the contingency scenario. In many cases a recruiter does not get paid if a candidate goes around them, and it also causes question to be brought onto the candidate’s ethics, which is certainly important when making a solid long term hire.
There are also confidentiality factors that range from everything to replacements (companies need to protect themselves in the same way an employee does in leaving a job) and anything associated with confidential internal changes that may be not able to be disclosed to the public for a variety of reasons.
I think it’s important that recruiters take the initiative to ensure the candidate is provided a positive experience, even if only for their client’s sake as it will affect them later on down the road. Far too often I am told that the experience I provided was different from other recruiters, and while it should be taken as a compliment it makes me sad that more recruiters aren’t advocates for their candidates in a way that keeps the sometimes ridiculously frustrating job hunt simplified.
There are other reasons a company might use a third party recruiter other than not having an established recruitment department, not wanting to miss anything or not having the time. Recruiters from another company are often less biased than those working directly for the firm, so feedback is often more honest allowing for a more focused match. Recruiters are able to serve as a sort of advocate on the candidate’s behalf, but as the client is the one who contracted them they also need to ensure a long term fit. Even when candidates are not sent forward, the connection that they made with the recruiter can prove valuable for other openings.
Lastly, not all recruiters are working in temp agencies. I only work on direct hire opportunities personally. Don’t discount us before you’ve had a conversation, and be sure to answer questions when you are confused.
I should probably keep my mouth shut as this is a good way of screening out people that don’t have the ability to come to these conclusions themselves, but honestly, the job search process is a job in itself and I’d like to ease the pain in any way I can. Fortunately this is a problem I don't encounter too often, as those who see recruiters as their enemies are often the same employers who keep losing employees by not keeping them satisfied. To that, I have to digress to my 'Bad Manager' article.