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Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:42 pm
by Jerry B.
Hi all. I'm a PhD chemist currently working in industry but looking to make a move to a different part of the country for personal reasons. I was recently contacted by a recruiter looking to fill a position that is a good fit for me both scientifically and professionally. Interestingly, a position with the same company and the exact same job description provided by the recruiter is posted on the company's website. Is it normal for a company to hire a recruiter for a position that is publicly advertised? I'm wondering if they are just providing a public announcement for legal reasons and are planning to rely on the recruiter to vet candidates or if the advertisement is legitimate and I should apply via that route. I'm currently leaning towards going through the recruiter but would appreciate any advice. Thank you in advance.

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:04 am
by Dick Woodward
Jerry:

I think that it is entirely reasonable to ask the recruiter what the relationship with the company is. Is the recruiter retained or on exclusive contingency? If the answer is "yes" to either, ask why the position is being advertised. My bet is that the answer is "no" and that you have run into a contingency recruiter who has seen the ad and hopes to get a fee from the company by presenting you for a publicly-advertised position. My experience has been that if you are presented by a contingency recruiter and someone of equal qualifications has responded to the ad, they will get the position so as to avoid paying the commission to the recruiter.

In addition to asking the question, try to do some networking to locate the hiring manager. This is still the best way to proceed. If, however, the recruiter says (and you believe them) that they are either retained or exclusive contingency, then going through the recruiter may be the way to go.

Good luck,

Dick

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:10 am
by RSD
I don't think this is unusual at all. I've been contacted by recruiters on several occasions regarding positions that were also posted on the companies' websites. On each occasion, the conversation with the recruiter led to a phone interview with the hiring manager.

I think some companies use an "all of the above" strategy, but probably assume that their best chance of finding a strong candidate will come actively via a recruiter, rather than passively through an online ad.

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:13 am
by Dave Walker
Hi Jerry,

Thanks for your question, it's very interesting. Dick's reply is good advice; you should be able to get in touch with the recruiter directly.

I have a question: did the recruiter give you the name of the company after talking to you and reviewing your CV?

This is a dilemma I pose to Dick and the forum at large: do you think that a job seeker has an obligation to stick with the recruiter once they reveal the company's name? If we presume that the job seeker was contacted with a job description without the company name, sent the recruiter their CV and and the recruiter talked to them later...at what point would it be considered unethical to apply directly to the company?

This is another point I've always wondered about "exclusive contingency" where the company is advertising the job separately from the recruiter. If a job seeker can find the hiring manager separately, is that a bad move?

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:45 am
by Dick Woodward
Dave:

You pose an interesting ethical question - what do you do when the recruiter provides the name of the company? If it is a retained search, the recruiter is the exclusive connection to the company. Trying to go around him/her will likely get you nowhere, and will seriously damage any chance of a future good relationship. I would say that the same goes for an exclusive contingency search. Ethically and practically, let them do their job.

As far as the contingency people go, I would say that it is a different story. I am sure that there are ethical ones out there; I've just never seen them - perhaps they are busy riding their unicorns. If you are contacted by a contingency recruiter (and they admit it), it is up to you to assess whether the person is ethical - as opposed to the ones who hope to submit your name and a resume made up from your LinkedIn profile. If the latter (also referred to as "flesh peddlers"), I don't think that you have any particular obligation to them. You can always go to the company web site to see if the position is posted - many times there will be a note saying "no recruiters", which means that going through a contingency recruiter will get you rejected.

When contacted by a recruiter, ask them if they are retained, exclusive contingency or contingency. Also get the name of their firm. Regardless of what they tell you about their compensation, go to their web site to confirm it. If the first two, see the suggestion above and work with them. If the latter, you have some decisions to make. If they represent themselves as retained or exclusive contingency and they are not, you clearly have no obligation to them.

One man's opinion...

Dick

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:45 pm
by Dave Jensen
I have two clients that post everything to their website, both those searches they are handling on their own and those searches they've given to me. We're a retained firm at this end. So, them posting their open positions doesn't do anything but pose a slight aggravation from time to time -- it's not going to affect whether we get paid or not. If someone applies directly, the H/R team just sends me over the CV's.

But -- when I call someone about one of this client's needs, and they end up applying directly at the company website -- that's really bad news! Sure, we'd get paid if they hire the person. And, we're still the company that has to do the job of interviewing that person.

While I honestly try to deal with that candidate in the same manner as all others, it can't help but hurt him or her in some subtle ways that they went around us. At some point, that doesn't look good and it affects their chances.

Dave

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:06 pm
by BMK
I must say, I really appreciate this information; academia doesn't really teach you about this kind of etiquette, so it's good to see this kind of discussion in print.

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:58 pm
by Jerry B.
First, I'd like to thank everyone who replied for their rapid responses. I was actually initially not contacted directly by the recruiter. They contacted someone who I had worked with in the past about an open position, but that person wasn't currently looking for a job. So, after asking my permission, my colleague gave them my name, knowing that I was trying to move to a particular part of the country.

It was a little strange because the recruiter told my friend what company the position was at, but later removed the company name from the job description. I checked the website of her employer and it looks like they do both contingent and retained searches. Anyways, I scheduled a phone call with her later in the week so we'll see how it goes.

If nothing else, it's been an interesting learning experience about some of the intricacies of the hiring process. My first and only job after my postdoc was obtained through a contact that had previously worked for my adviser. Since that strategy worked well in the past I've been dedicating the majority of my time to networking with past colleagues, but since the recruiter thing came up I figured I'd look into it a little further.

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:25 pm
by Dave Walker
Dick Woodward wrote:Dave:

You pose an interesting ethical question - what do you do when the recruiter provides the name of the company? If it is a retained search, the recruiter is the exclusive connection to the company. Trying to go around him/her will likely get you nowhere, and will seriously damage any chance of a future good relationship. I would say that the same goes for an exclusive contingency search. Ethically and practically, let them do their job.

As far as the contingency people go, I would say that it is a different story. I am sure that there are ethical ones out there; I've just never seen them - perhaps they are busy riding their unicorns. If you are contacted by a contingency recruiter (and they admit it), it is up to you to assess whether the person is ethical - as opposed to the ones who hope to submit your name and a resume made up from your LinkedIn profile. If the latter (also referred to as "flesh peddlers"), I don't think that you have any particular obligation to them. You can always go to the company web site to see if the position is posted - many times there will be a note saying "no recruiters", which means that going through a contingency recruiter will get you rejected.

When contacted by a recruiter, ask them if they are retained, exclusive contingency or contingency. Also get the name of their firm. Regardless of what they tell you about their compensation, go to their web site to confirm it. If the first two, see the suggestion above and work with them. If the latter, you have some decisions to make. If they represent themselves as retained or exclusive contingency and they are not, you clearly have no obligation to them.

One man's opinion...

Dick


Thanks Dick -- you crystallized my point. I think it's obvious to repsect the retained recruiter, and probably to ignore the pure contingency recruiter. But it was exclusive contingency in the middle that had thrown me off. But you are right that if they have a relationship with the hiring manager then it's best to let them do the job.

Re: Contacted by recruiter for advertised position

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:18 pm
by Dick Woodward
Dave:

As far as dealing with them is concerned, I treat retained search and exclusive contingency recruiters the same. The major difference between them is how they get paid.

Dick