New graduates often ask about recruiters. They want to know how recruiters  get paid, should they try to find one, and how much information should they share with with a recruiter Like so many career related questions, the answer is, “it depends”.

There are two different types of recruiters. Internal recruiters work for the company doing the hiring and are often a member of the Human Resources Department. Internal recruiters receive a salary from their company.  External recruiters can work for a recruiting company or be self-employed. External recruiters earn their fees in different ways; they can get paid for conducting recruitment for a specific position or for referring the job candidate who is hired. We recommend new graduates avoid working with recruiters who want to charge the new graduate a fee.

If you have attended a college career fair, you have met internal recruiters. Sometimes internal recruiters attend job fairs because they are trying to fill specific positions and other times just to build a pool of qualified applicants the company can contact when they have an opening. Consider your interaction with internal recruiters at job fairs as a “mini-interview” or “speed-interviewing.” Stay professional and do not express interest in other companies.

The most common way for an external recruiter to contact you is via LinkedIn or phone. They may be vague about the job and not provide the company name in an effort to protect the company and prevent job seekers from applying directly. An external recruiter will be marketing you to the company. They will want a copy of your resume and to find out about your specific qualifications for the job. It is acceptable to share information about your ideal job, salary, and location. Recruiters often work with multiple companies and it  is in their best interest to connect you with a company that can use your skills and where you will be happy.

Most new graduates will interact with multiple internal recruiters as they move through the job search process. The few new graduates, who interact with external recruiters in the process of finding their first professional position, are usually in highly competitive fields and candidates for jobs companies are having a difficult time filling.

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