Using a Recruiter
Recruiters are now heavily involved in the accounting and finance hiring process. This is especially true for job seekers with some work experience. Think of a recruiter as a real estate agent except instead of trying to get you to buy a house they are trying to help you find a job opportunity. It is important to understand and always remember that they are sales people. They make their money by getting you to take a job opportunity with one of their clients. Recruiters are paid a commission by their clients to fill positions with qualified candidates.
Should you use a recruiter? – This depends on what your current work situation looks like. Did you just get laid off? Are you moving to a new geographic area not related to work? No job upon graduation? Tired of your job? Do you want to know what other opportunities are out there?
If getting a new job is urgent and you don’t have time to do your own job search, I would definitely consider reaching out to a job recruiter who specializes in accounting jobs. In my opinion I would also NOT use a recruiter who does general job placement. Try and find a recruiter who has accounting job placement experience. Using a recruiter will help speed up the hiring process if you are a qualified candidate. They can help avoid your resume getting lost in the sea of resumes. Recruiters usually have some sort of personal relationship with their client and can help get your resume pulled to the top of the stack.
Finding a good recruiter – This is a crucial step that will make you feel more confident in the job opportunities that the recruiter will present to you. I recommend meeting any recruiter in person. Most good recruiters will set up a phone call with you once you reach out and then an in person meeting after the phone call. The recruiter will most likely meet you for coffee or lunch and pay. In my personal opinion, if the recruiter does not pay for the coffer or meal, you may want to steer clear of using them. The reasoning behind this is that if they aren’t willing to make a small investment in you, then why should you invest your time in an opportunity with them.
During the in person meeting expect to talk about:
-Past work experience
-Current job situation
-What kind of opportunity you are looking for
-Why you are interested in leaving your current job if you are currently employed
-Willingness to travel
-Have you applied to any jobs yet
-How long have you been searching for
This in-person meeting is almost like an interview, so have some idea on how you would answer the questions above. The good thing is that this is not an interview, so you don’t need to be as ready as an interview. The meeting is more of an information gathering session for the recruiter, just the way a realtor would inquire about what type of home you are looking for.
Just because the recruiter is asking you all the questions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be asking any questions to the recruiter. Three questions I would always ask an accounting and finance recruiter:
-Have you worked in the accounting field before? I recommend this question because I think it is better to use a recruiter with accounting experience. You will find that many recruiters recruiting for the accounting industry were former accountants and will be able to give you a better idea about job descriptions. I would recommend avoiding general recruiters. When buying or selling a house you wouldn’t use a realtor that has no experience in your neighborhood or the neighborhood you are considering moving to.
-What types of companies do you typically work with? This is a great question because it gives you a good idea of what types of connections and clients this recruiter has. If they name a lot of small and mid-size companies and you want to work for a Fortune 500 company, they may not be the recruiter that can help you.
-How long have you been a recruiter for? I recommend using an experienced recruiter. Experienced recruiters usually have established relationships with clients you may be interested in. This can help get your resume to the top of the stack or help negotiate salary. New recruiters don’t typically have these relationships and therefore don’t have as much pull. It’s your career so you should never feel as if you need to settle. Find a recruiter with some experience and established relationships.
Can you use more than one recruiter? – Using more than one recruiter can get messy. If you are pressed for getting a job, my recommendation is to use no more than two recruiters actively at one time. There will be several job opportunities that multiple recruiters will working at one time. If you use two different recruiters from two different recruiting firms for the same job it can complicate things as well as lessen your chances of getting the job. It stems from which recruiter gets paid what. Knowing that this is a situation that will come up could be a turn off for a potential employer. Stick to only one or two recruiters and do not apply for the same jobs at either one.
Recruiters can be a big help when trying to find a new opportunity. It is always important to remember that they have a stake in it and are ultimately sales people. When a recruiter approaches you about an opportunity be sure to do your own research on the potential opportunity and company. When the recruiter describes the opportunity to you they are going to mention all the positive aspects of the job and won’t emphasis the drawbacks. This is why it is important to do your own research. I recommend trying to see if the opportunity is out on the company’s official website. Make sure the description the recruiter gave you matches what the company’s website says. I also recommend using Glassdoor to see what other people are saying about the company. Glassdoor is an independent website where former and current employees can give feedback about the past and present employers. Some of the feedback on Glassdoor can give you some insight on culture, benefits, future outlook, and salaries.
Lastly, remember this is your career so take the time to invest in a reputable recruiter because ultimately you are responsible for your own career.