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Why settle for 1? The best response for recruiters that demand a commitment? Take a hike. (Career Care).

I RECENTLY RECEIVED a call from a candidate who had responded to an ad on a well-known comprehensive job board. A third-party recruiting firm retained by the hiring company had posted the position. The candidate submitted his resume and the recruiter called. After a lengthy interview, the recruiter told the candidate he had passed and might be submitted to the company for consideration.

What a surprise it was, then, when the recruiter directed the candidate to work only with them for any job the candidate was seeking. The recruiter wanted this candidate to sign an agreement saying he would not work with any other recruiting firm. Decline, I told the candidate. He was clearly dealing with the wrong recruiter: A recruiter should never "own" a candidate.

In this market, finding a good job is more difficult than ever. You must use every tool available, including good recruiting firms. And don't limit yourself to recruiting firms to find a job, as you need to apply to as many jobs as possible when unemployed. You need to network and conduct research to find companies that have job openings. Recruiters can frequently help speed the process for you as a candidate.

Why do companies use a recruiting' firm? Many are flooded with resumes for job openings. For big projects or revised hiring needs, sometimes a corporation finds it necessary to use third party, whether a contingency firm or retained firm. Many human resource professionals can be hesitant to pass these all-important duties to an entity outside the company--often for good reason. Some recruiting firms have bad reputations, but overall most recruiters are professional. As with any service, you, the candidate, must decide whether the recruiter meets your needs.

Keep in mind that many recruiters are hired straight out of college and try to recruit in industries that they know absolutely nothing about. Some recruiters have also gained bad reputations as a result of their commission-based employment. The more positions they fill, the more money they make. Consequently, they may not always have the best interests of the candidate in mind.

Here's how you can identify a good recruiter. First, find out how long the recruiter has been in the business. Good recruiters have built reputations for customer service and effectiveness over time. If your recruiter is a 21-year-old trying to fill an $80,000 a year job, odds are the recruiter may not know what he is doing, other than trying to match the words on your resume with the words on the job description.

A reputable recruiter brings better exposure to the industry and established relationships. Good ones know your industry and what is involved in your job. If the recruiter does not understand your industry jargon, beware.

You'll have to do some research to make sure your recruiting firm has your interests at heart. A good place to start is one of several associations that represent recruiting firms, such as the National Association of Personnel Services, or NAPS ( A recruiting firm that is a member of NAPS must abide by certain ethical standards and be open to investigation if complaints are filed. NAPS also certifies recruiters, much like the Society of Human Resources Management does for human resource managers.

At a minimum, call the Better Business Bureau and local chamber of commerce to make sure there are no complaints against the recruiting firm. You can also ask the recruiter for references. Try to talk with employees the agency has placed.

Ultimately, you should feel that the recruiter you select is working for you. Do your homework, find the best and stay involved in the recruiting process. Using a recruiter can be very beneficial to finding your next job, but there's no reason to limit yourself to just one.

TED DAYWALT is CEO and president of VetJobs, the largest comprehensive military-related job board on the Internet. He holds a bachelor's from Florida State University, a master's from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Emory University. Daywalt can be reached at
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Author:Daywalt, Ted
Publication:Printed Circuit Design & Manufacture
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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