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Employment recruiters can offer some valuable tools in assisting with a job search, but it’s imperative you first know how they work.

First, know that recruiters get paid from the employer – from you. So if you use one, make sure you fully understand the fee structure, which in some cases can be pretty steep. (By “steep,” I’m talking a half-year’s salary or more.)

An employment recruiter’s job is to speak on behalf of those seeking work. A good recruiter will do all the pre-screening for you and understand a candidate’s qualifications, salary requirements, have followed up with references, etc.

Ideally, they will offer you a plug-and-play candidate who’s ready to work immediately.

But with any professional relationship, it’s important to remain cautious of the services being offered. Many recruiters are fine people who are thorough and committed to helping you. But if any ambiguity exists among the terms of your agreement or fee structure, the experience can sour quickly.

What’s the cost for accepting a resume from the recruiter? What if it’s a resume from someone you’ve already met and interviewed? What’s the fee should you hire someone you met through the recruiter? And what if that person doesn’t work out and he or she is gone in three months?

These are some of the questions you need to ask before accepting any help or information from any and all employment recruiters.

While they can be valuable partners, a good rule of thumb is to avoid using a recruiter unless you’re hiring for a higher-level position or one that’s traditionally been difficult to fill.

If you have any questions at all about working with a recruiter or, in general, dealing with your own staffing emergency, we can help. Contact a consultant at Vantage Clinical Solutions, and we’ll work to make your hiring experience a positive one.