Navigating the job search can be quite a challenge, and that goes double for anyone who’s currently unemployed. When you’re in need of a job, you may find yourself sending in resumes for positions that aren’t a good fit for you. What’s more, you may not even know what sort of qualities you want in a new job, leading to a more scattered approach to your search.
Many job seekers overlook a potentially useful job search option: recruiters. They genuinely want the best for you, as a candidate. They also want the best for their client, your potential employer — which is why it’s smart to cultivate a relationship with a “search partner” that can help you with your hunt.
But before you do, we thought we’d clear up some of the most commonly asked questions about recruiting. We hope the following will help:
1. What’s the difference between contract, direct hire, and contract-to-hire jobs?
A contract job is just as it sounds: You’re brought in for a limited basis, often during peak times of the year when an employer needs help in handling additional workload or a special project. With direct hire, you’re hired for a permanent, usually full-time position and are eligible for all the benefits that come with being an employee of that company, like insurance and PTO. Contract-to-hire is kind of a hybrid of the two, where you’re “contracted” as a temporary worker which gives you the opportunity to evaluate whether the company and position are a good fit before being hired on internally.
2. What’s the difference between headhunters, recruiters, and hiring managers?
Headhunters work for third-party agencies and are hired to fill roles at companies. They are often brought in to fill a critical or urgent vacancy, like an executive position. It’s also possible to hire a headhunter to find you a job. Recruiters can work for either third-party agencies, like a headhunter, or in-house for a particular company. Hiring managers work for the employer and often team up with recruiters. They’re responsible for hiring talent and will often be the person you’ll work with on a daily basis if you become an employee.
3. What are the different types of recruiting agencies?
As a job seeker, you’ll encounter five types of recruiters: corporate, contingency, retained, outplacement, and staffing agency. Corporate recruiters are the most common, and their job is to fill full-time positions. They may work for the employer or a third-party agency and earn a salary for their work. Contingency recruiters are also responsible for filling full-time positions. But unlike corporate recruiters, they’re only paid if they fill a vacant role and their fee is usually based on a percentage of the placement’s first-year salary.
Retained recruiters are similar to those that work on contingency. But instead of earning a percentage of the placement’s salary, they’re paid a retainer for their search efforts. That said, they must make a successful hire to earn the full retained amount. Outplacement recruiters usually work with displaced workers. They’re often hired by the employer to help exiting employees find new jobs.
Staffing agencies work in a variety of industries and specialize in placing workers into contract, contract-to-hire and direct placement roles. If you’re placed by a staffing agency on a contract or contract-to-hire role, you’re considered an employee of that agency — not the company where you’re working the job.
4. Should I submit my resume as a PDF or Word document?
How you submit your resume will depend largely on the employer. Some will ask for only PDFs, while others may request a Microsoft Word document. What we do recommend is having your resume available in multiple formats, so you can apply for a position at a moment’s notice. The various formats allow you to do different things with a resume. Word documents, for example, are quite easy to copy and paste, while PDFs print better than other formats.
5. Do I need a cover letter?
Sending a cover letter is almost always a good decision. It gives you a chance to highlight the reasons why you’re the strongest candidate for the job. It also provides an opportunity to explain away any potential concerns an employer might have with your experience, like a gap in your employment history.
Even if employers don’t ask for a cover letter, chances are good that they still expect one. It’s always best to weigh on the side of caution — unless, of course, there’s no means in submitting one, as is sometimes the case with online application forms. In this situation, you may find there’s no field to upload a cover letter. Although a well-written cover letter may increase your chances of getting an interview, it is not always necessary to submit one.
6. What should I do about gaps in my experience?
Rarely will recruiters or hiring managers take issue with gaps in your experience — as long as you have a reason for those gaps. It’s always best to be upfront and honest about why you weren’t working. Before meeting with recruiters or hiring managers, make sure you take the time to prepare your answer. Even if it’s something as simple as “needing time away to recharge” or “raising my children,” it’s an explanation, and most employers won’t take issue with the gap.
7. Does it really matter if I’ve job-hopped?
As with anything, job-hopping comes with both pros and cons. When you move from job to job, you gain a diverse background of experience, which can be attractive to a variety of employers. You’re also building a larger professional network, and it’s often who you know that gets you the job. Plus, people can earn more money from changing jobs than they would from internal pay increases or even promotions.
That said, a potential employer may question whether you’ll be around for the long haul, and choose instead to hire a candidate with a longer tenure. Your job-hopping can also make you seem unreliable, especially when you’re making lateral moves. And then, of course, you could be burning bridges and not building a network when hopping around.
8. How can Hunter Hamilton help me with my job search?
Obviously, one of the main benefits of working with a Hunter Hamilton recruiter is that we make it a little easier to find employment — be it contract, direct hire, or contract-to-hire. The option is entirely up to you.
But beyond the obvious, we also provide guidance on resumes, portfolios, interviews, etc., and provide a number of resources you can use to better prepare you to find the right job for your particular background and skills.
If you do choose to go the contractor route, we not only help you find a job and earn a competitive wage, but also offer benefits, including health insurance, 401K, holiday pay, and even referral bonuses. And while you’re working that job, our team is already busy trying to line up another position for when that one ends.
If you’d like to learn more about Hunter Hamilton, and what we can do to help you in your job search, let us know today. A member of our team would be more than happy to answer your questions and discuss what you’re looking for in order to help you advance your career.