Recruiters - What Do They "Do" Exactly?

I have been in recruiting for 15 years...the entirety of my adult post-college career. Roughly 90% of the personal relationships I have in my life have no idea what I actually do. I'd say most people know my job title. But having conversations? It gets awkward. I'm fairly certain my mother has no idea what I do on a daily basis or how I generate income. On many holidays when relatives are catching up, or if I am talking to family friends, I am always asked "How is business?" That is always followed by

"What is it exactly that you do again?"
"I'm a recruiter."
"Oh, so like HR?"
"No but I work WITH HR sometimes."
"Right, I knew it was like HR."

At which point most people usually leave to freshen up their drink.


"What do you do as a recruiter?"
"I help people find jobs."
"Oh, like a social services kind of thing?"


"Who hires you, the company or the applicant?"
"Well, the company is who pays my fee, but I act as an facilitator between the two. Like an agent in sports, but I take my % from the company."
"Ohhhhhh. Like an agent. SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!"

At which point I usually leave to freshen up my drink.

Professionally it's not that much different. Potential candidates and people that I network with know I am a recruiter. I put it right out there. It seems they already know if they like recruiters or not, regardless of my approach. But the more I talk to them, it's apparent they still aren't quite sure what we actually do for candidates. Yes, the client pays our fees, but without candidates we are nothing. We are here as a resource for you...take advantage of it! Don't just assume we have nothing to offer.

Look - I know this is coming off as an advertisement for recruiters, but hear me out. Recruiters are like a good library. *EDITORS NOTE - Give this a chance, it makes sense. I promise* Most people think of the library and they are like "Oh. Right. Books. Well, if I want a book, I'll go to the library." But the library offers you so much more than books. Most people have no idea of the potential benefits...which means they aren't taking full advantage of this free service. Libraries have all kids of free lectures and seminars. They offer free memberships to other museums and attractions. They host meetups for people with similar interests. Notice a common theme? Knowledge. So many different avenues to acquire knowledge.

So what kind of knowledge can a recruiter give you? What does a recruiter actually do for you?

  • Resumes - We can do resumes in our sleep. We know how the hiring managers look at resumes and what they are looking for. Want a resume that will actually get results? Ask a recruiter to modify yours...its free. *COUGH*
  • Interviews tips - Is your resume getting you in the door. But no offers? Something must be up with your interviewing, plain and simple. No interviews = bad resume. No offers = interview issues. Role play with a recruiter. They'll be able to pick up on your mistakes/flaws easily. **COUGH COUGH**
  • Inside intel - How do competitors feel about your current company? How do your co-workers feel about your company? Are you making enough money? Oh, that's right, we probably know your co-workers, your boss, owners, ex-coworkers. We won't breach confidentiality. We aren't going to name names. We won't be too specific. But you know that feeling you have about your company? We can tell you if its paranoia or legit.
  • Actual career advice - How do you feel about how your career is progressing. How should you approach your company about a raise or flex-time situation? Have any questions about how your career should be going, or what factors may positively or negatively affect its growth? Recruiters have the answer. We understand the marketplace because we are in the marketplace every day. I talk to 30 "you's" every day. I know what you make, what you should make, and what another company wants to pay you.
  • Decisions - Deciding between two offers? What about *GASP* a counteroffer? Ask a recruiter you trust for their opinion. Odds are, if you have built a relationship, the recruiter can be objective (Yes, I said the words "recruiter" and "objective" in the same sentence. It happened.) and maybe see things you can't. "Oh, that's easy! Never take a counteroffer! What is there to talk about?" "Easy," you say? ***COUGH COUGH COUGH***
  • Therapy - Studies show that profanity helps to reduce the sensation of pain. Use some of that profanity and let off some steam with a recruiter. Odds are we've heard it before and can offer some insight. Or no insight at all. Why would we listen? Are we inherently kind people? I can neither confirm nor deny that. But I WILL say we like knowing about as many companies as possible It helps our job. So if you think your spouse, family, friends are sick of hearing you complain about're probably right. Take a seat on a recruiter's couch for some career therapy.
  • Free Job Leads - Yes, I'm sure you found that one funnier than the others. But it's true. Many good recruiters pass leads out for free. Or make intros. We're like human rolodexes (rolodexi?). Example One: I recruit accountants. You are an accountant. We develop a relationship. Your wife is an actuary. I don't place actuaries. But I know 3 people that work at companies that employ actuaries. BOOM. Intro made. Example Two: I recruit accountants. You are a tax accountant. I don't have any tax openings. I dial up my contacts at various firms, network, and find you a tax accountant opening. But...does it make more sense for you to apply yourself or thru me? Hmmmmmm......

"But Adam, there are sooooooooooo many recruiters out there. At least 5 contact me each day. How am I supposed to find the one for me??" I'm just going to leave this here

In case you were wondering, yes, I plan on emailing this to my mother.

If you have any questions about anything I discussed in the above article, looking for a job and/or working with a recruiter, just ask! Shoot me an email at

For more about me or my firm, please visit or I am always looking to network with good professionals that share my values in recruiting, so shoot me an invite if you agree with me!

You can find 10 daily job postings, as well as loads of content on Karpiak Consulting's Facebook page Please "like" or follow the page to be kept up to date on all of new content daily. I re-post articles of interest I find online regarding recruiting & public accounting, and I also post emails & messages I get (redacted of course) regarding recruiting that I think are of interest, including stories from candidates about other recruiters doing bad/confusing things.

I am also featuring a Daily Job Candidate. If you are interested in being featured in one of my daily LinkedIn posts, shoot me the following info in an email (I've created a Gmail account to stay organized: with the subject: Daily Job Candidate. Tell me your desired position, industry, and geographic area. This way my entire network of recruiters and networkers could see if they could help out the candidate in any way with leads or point them to someone else that might be able to help. Just by reading the post, people in my network would be able to:

1) Reach out to the candidate directly if they think they can help them.

2) Like or share the post with their network, in the hopes someone in their network can help the candidate.

3) Tag a person in the post's comments that may be able to help the person.

Views: 1426

Comment by Claudia Sender on June 9, 2017 at 9:31am

Hey Adam,

Great Article!

The ATS System fills gap between the Recruiters and candidates, the ATS System helps to acquire different candidates from the different job boards, social media etc. It is a best way to find and acquire the talented candidates within a minute. Staffing Software like iSmartRecruit helped me a lot to acquire the talented candidates and it is completely secure.


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