There's a common misconception job seekers have about working with executive search firms, recruiters and employment agencies: They think these agencies are in business to help them land a job. It's important to remember that these firms work for employers, not for you -- and they are merely channels through which you may secure an employment opportunity, says Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of "Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring."
First, it's helpful to understand the differences among recruiting professionals, Myers says. Placement agencies that charge a fee should be avoided completely, he says. Contingency-fee recruiters are paid a percentage of the candidate's salary -- but only if they actually place a new employee, so proceed with extreme caution if using a contingency recruiter -- they're out to make a placement, any placement, regardless of fit. Retained executive search firms are the classic headhunters, who are granted an exclusive right to conduct a search on behalf of their client company and are paid a consulting fee even if the search is unsuccessful.
"When working with any type of executive search firm or recruiter, you must maintain control. Even though the search firm is not working for you, I tell my clients to supervise the work of recruiters as though they were managing a group of employees," says Myers. This means following these important guideline.