– An interview with Andrew Taylor, Recruiter and Manager at ProLink Staffing in Phoenix

Q:  What are the advantages of working with a recruiter as a return-to-work professional?
A:  Recruiters have exclusive market insight. Once you vet the recruiter through internet searches and interview and determine they are an expert in your area of interest, that recruiter could provide job access you might not otherwise have.  Recruiters are focused on relationship-building and establish those relationships with the employers as well as the applicants in order to find the best matches.
Q: How do recruiters benefit return-to-work professionals?
A:  They get to know your background in detail including prior work experience (for-profit and non-profit), soft skills, and, of course, goals and objectives in the job search. A recruiter’s main responsibility is to build a relationship and understand each candidate in order to be the eyes and ears in the marketplace. Timing and access are the challenge and a recruiter is actively engaged in markets to help make an effective match for employers and applicants.
Q: Is the recruiter just a job-broker? 
A:  The recruiter’s reputation is also on the line when an applicant is presented to a company so the short answer in my opinion is “no.” Recruiters are trained to understand their applicants, prepare them for interviews, and alert them to things in their background that employers might challenge. Good recruiters also provide coaching tips and offer to conduct mock interviews.   The success of a good recruiter is defined by placing the right candidate in the right position and to do that requires knowledgeable interface with the applicant and the employer.
Q: Why should I think recruiters are on my side?  Am I better off applying through an online posting?
A: Recruiters can proactively pursue companies on your behalf.  They can target the companies you have always wanted to work with but have been unsuccessful gaining access to. This illustrates why doing the homework and finding the best recruiter for your interests makes sense.  Specifically, where client relationships are strong, recruiters have the ability to reach out to hiring managers directly which offers much higher probability of receiving an offer. Online applications confront many other hurdles including Applicant Tracking Systems with sophisticated sorting mechanisms, overwhelmed and under-informed hiring staff, and a process that is unable to measure the qualitative value that time away from work activities might add to someone’s experience.
Q: What role do recruiters play in helping identify salary/compensation and the negotiation process?
A:  Recruiters are able to identify the average compensation for others with similar backgrounds and coach their applicants on how to approach this subject in job interviews. In addition, depending on the relationship with the employer/client, the recruiter may also be able to effectively negotiate on your behalf.
Q: What are the costs of working with a recruiter?
A: There is no cost to working with a recruiter.  The cost of job placement is borne by the employer.   The challenge of a return-to-work professional who wants to work with a recruiter is to identify the best fit and partner with a group that can support personal goals.