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Risks Involved in Applying Direct and Circumventing Staffing Agency Recruiters

You’ve arrived at the decision to find a new career, whether you’re looking for more responsibility, looking to be closer to home or you are uneasy about your current company’s outlook, you know it’s time.

Past colleagues, friends or even neighbors will all offer you advice if you elect to share with them that you have decided to start the search. One of the decisions that you need to make early on is if you are going to partner with a staffing agency near you or try to navigate the complicated landscape on your own.

If you haven’t worked with a staffing agency in the past, you may not have all the information you need to make the right decision. Or maybe you are under the assumption that employers prefer candidates not represented by a staffing agency due to associated placement costs. The truth is employers turn to staffing agencies for highly-skilled vetted candidates. Hiring managers welcome the streamlined  recruitment process staffing agencies offer and find a boosted new hire ROI when compared to traditional internal recruitment efforts.

Evaluating risks also needs to part of your job search strategy. When I’ve asked job-seeking friends if they’re aware of the risks of going in blind, they are usually stunned and promptly reply, “What risks, there aren’t any right?”  At first I was surprised that this had never crossed their mind, but as I continue to talk to more and more people on the journey, I’ve come to realize this isn’t something that many people talk about nor was this part of any class we took no matter how recently or far back our education goes.

First, I’ll ask them what they know about the company and the position. Maybe they’ll pull up the “About us” page and then show me the job description on their phone. In my most non-discouraging way, I’ll explain that where I work our recruiters have direct access to hiring managers and inside information about the position and can provide insight into the company and position well-beyond what’s in the job summary. Ears perk up and at that moment they realize they may be at a disadvantage right from the start, compared to someone applying for the same position using a staffing agency.

For my overly confident friends, they just tell me their resume is good so it shouldn’t make much of a difference. When the conversation goes in this direction, I’ll ask, “How do you know your resume will land in the hands of someone?” This is proceeded by me explaining to them some companies use machine programs that scan resumes and often files them to the database with no one ever seeing it.

On the flip side, a staffing agency recruiter will first offer you a complimentary resume review and provide suggestions to ensure you’re truly highlighting your skills and experience for the position. Next, a staffing agency recruiter will deliver your resume directly into the hiring managers inbox. With this established relationship, the hiring manger will review your resume. Plus, staffing agency recruiters then follow-up with a phone call to the hiring manger to further promote you as good candidate for the position.

Lastly, for my “I’ll try it myself first,” friends I explain to them how the relationship between a staffing agency and client works. To represent a candidate to the client, a staffing agency must ensure you do not have a history with the company. If you have applied directly to a company in the past, HR departments will advise a staffing agency that you are already in their database and that the staffing agency is unable to represent them given a preexisting relationship. So, by trying it yourself first, you may preclude yourself from being represented by a staffing agency.  In this scenario, you will lose the opportunity to work with staffing agencies and the benefits they can offer.

While there are many considerations, a good staffing agency will offer you a free consultation. This is an opportunity for you to understand the array of career coaching services offered and to see if you feel that they are the right match for you. In turn, staffing agency recruiters will be upfront with you, help you set realistic expectations, give you local salary insight, know the ins and outs of benefit offerings and ultimately, let you know if they think that they can place you.

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