I'm graduating college in May, and I keep getting emails from recruiting agencies and I'm kind of skeptical. I've read that dealing with recruiting agencies can be a real hassle and that you’re better off finding a job on your own.

Is it a good idea to give them my resume or should I steer clear of them?

  • Remember that recruiters don't tend to take no for an answer. If you use them, be prepared to stand up to them and say no if you're not interested in a position. Apr 16 '15 at 13:35

By all means use recruiters. However, remember that you are not the recruiters' customer. You are a product the recruiter is selling to their customer, the hiring organization. Recruiters are often only interested in you for roles they have or to network with other candidates they can place.

That said, some companies only hire through recruiters so you have no choice. Recruiters often have a good perspective of the industry so they can help fix up your CV, prioritize skills or otherwise make yourself more hireable. They can also be better salary negotiators that you, since most people do it poorly.

Therefore, I would work with recruiters but treat them as a resource like any other. Use them and talk to them but do not delegate your job search to them - that is your responsibility.


For many jobs, corporations or government only use recruitment agencies. I certainly would not discount them and in fact would register your CV with a few to get your name out there. I have used recruitment agencies for most of the past 15 years for various contract or permanent roles and they have generally been perfectly fine to deal with.

Just remember, the cost incurred with a recruitment agency for placing a permanent role is incurred by the COMPANY, not by you. It can't adversely affect you to use a recruitment agency, but it can if you avoid them.

Good luck!

  • 1
    I generally agree with this answer, but I am curious which government agencies use recruitment agencies. I would have guessed strict civil service rules would effectively preclude recruiters.
    – emory
    Apr 21 '15 at 20:42
  • @emory In my country (Australia), the preselection process is outsourced to recruitment agencies. You can not apply directory as an external applicant to most local, state or federal government departments.
    – Jane S
    Apr 21 '15 at 21:00
  • On the in the US I know NASA aften uses recruiters as well. May 12 '15 at 14:25

It depends.

Yes, dealing with recruiters is filled with a whole lot of wasted time, frustration, and not getting a job. Unfortunately, dealing with companies is filled with a whole lot of wasted time, frustration, and not getting a job. Personally, I have found recruiters to be worse than companies - companies at least interview me.

But I have also gotten 2 jobs through recruiters (and 4 myself). In some locations, almost all of the jobs are filled via recruiters, so you would be foolish to ignore them totally.

So work with them, but be cautious - you are a resource for them to turn into money. The best recruiters are the ones who want you to be happy so that you'll use them again and make them more money. The worst are ones who spam your resume to everywhere hoping to make as much as they can off of a job you could've gotten yourself. Every one of them will try to take advantage of you, most often by quoting you a much lower hourly rate than the hiring company is paying. (Though it should be noted that companies will try to do the same thing.)

But starting out from college, you're likely not in a position of leverage. Recruiters can help you get a job, and very few of them are worse than unemployment.

  • Why would they try to pay us lower? Aren't they paid a percentage of our salary? Or do they get paid in a different way?
    – Thihara
    Apr 16 '15 at 4:09
  • @thihara - they are, but that percentage is negotiable. Usually they just quote you a number ($25/hr), without mentioning how much they are charging the company ($30/hr? $50/hr? $75/hr?). The less they pay you, the more they keep for themselves.
    – Telastyn
    Apr 16 '15 at 11:40
  • You mean like being outsourced or something? Yeah in that case they surely will try to screw us. Sorry I thought you meant where recruiters get us in touch with the company etc., but we are hired directly by the company.
    – Thihara
    Apr 16 '15 at 16:44
  • @thihara - if you're a contractor rather than the recruiter acting like a placement firm.
    – Telastyn
    Apr 16 '15 at 17:05

Yes & no. Your first priority is to get a job, and the channel is not important.

A recruiter's ideal position is to place an appropriate candidate profitably and satisfy the customer enough to be called for the next round of hiring. Your interests are to get a job which pays you well and develops your skills for your next job. The company's interest is to use you and your skill to make more than it costs them to recruit and pay you, perhaps to a point where they need to hire more people. And these interests can play against each other.

Some recruiters are scummy, and only want to make a quick buck. In my experience they come from big recruiting shops which churn and burn recruiters regularly. That hurts client companies and candidates. They'll lowball the salaries to get the placement, or take a huge cut of the salary as their fee, or place an inappropriate candidate to get the job done quickly. But some recruiters (especially 1 or 2 person boutique recruiters) want to build a strong brand, so they're more likely to work in the interests of the client company and the candidate.

Some companies are scummy. They say that they want to hire somebody, but they often post jobs to signal their competitors that they are prosperous. Other companies want people to join, but have unreasonable performance expectations. If they get a candidate who doesn't immediately walk on water, heal the sick, and raise the dead, they'll fire the candidate. This is where recruiters are valuable. To use a recruiter, a company must pay 20% of the candidate's salary as a fee. The only companies using recruiters will be well-capitalized ones. And when they spend that much money to hire you, they'll have confirmation-bias in your favour and you'll get more time to come up to speed. Applying through a recruiter restricts your search to companies able and willing to pay a good wage.


It is indeed tricky. I myself got my first job very recently. I tried with recruiters and also applied myself online. I got interview calls both ways. But, I would say recruiters can trick you because you are never in direct contact with the potential employer. As such, if the recruiting agency has presented multiple candidates to the potential employer for the same position they might favor the one who is getting highest package. And they can tell the company that other guy is not interested. Later on they tell you that the company is not interested. You can never tell what went wrong because you cannot contact the employer. Even if you do contact the employer directly, there is a rare chance you would get a reply. This is my personal experience.

  • Generally it's a several step process. First you get your name into the recruiter, they pass your name (and others) on to the perspective employer, the employer then decides which canidates they do or don't want to interview. After that point you are either working with the company, or you're out. My advice is if a recruiter doesn't sit down at least talk to you for 15 to 20 minutes, they aren't taking the time to properly vet their people which is a point of concern as it means they also likely don't vet their potential employers. May 12 '15 at 14:29

Probably not.

I am going to take the contrary position for a couple of reasons

1) You can do it yourself Why introduce a middle man? If you can, communicate with the company directly.

2) Recruiters aren't free - There aren't doing what they do for fun. Their goal is to make money, just like you. The problem is often their motivation is to find you a job as quick as possible. Also, a lot of head hunting agencies take a commission of the employee salary for a set amount of time. Imagine losing 5 - 10 % of your salary.

3) Recruiters are not you friends They don't want to find the best fit for you. They just want to find a fit and get their commission. It's all about motivation.

Also, here is an article from the Huffington Post

It might depend on location, culture and whether or not you have to use them to get a job. Personally, I have never used one and I don't intend to.


You will be graduating in just a few weeks. I hope that you have used all the resources available to you at the university including resume help, practice interviews, and job fairs.

Recruiters come in two flavors: One that is a member of the staff of the company where the work will be done; and a 3rd party that finds employees for the prime company.

With graduation approaching you should be looking at maximizing the use of resources that might lead to a job. While it is true that using a particular recruiter may not lead to a job, but it might. So pick one or two that seem to have leads that interest you, and that you qualify for, and start talking to them.

I would focus on ones that are offering for permanent hire positions: they offer benefits; and no need to figure what you need to charge to be able to cover benefits.


The recruiters make money off of the margin(what their client paid them minus what you're getting paid) so if you can negotiate to a good salary for yourself, it's not a bad choice

  • 1
    You are talking about temporary staffing agencies. Some recruiters place people in full-time positions. They get paid a fixed commission at some point after placement. Apr 21 '15 at 20:01

Let us start with what is your objective. As a fresh graduate, stepping into the professional world, you are not just looking for a job. You are laying foundation of your career. You ought to be quite careful about what role you are going to pick out of the options available. Talking about the options, you ideally should keep all your cards open just to make sure you don't lose out on the opportunities that might come your way just coz you opted not to go through a recruitment agency. Mind you, in this global economy, there is a huge competition out there for good talent.

Yes, it is a fact that recruitment agencies make business out of placing a candidate but that doesn't mean they are there to trick a job seeker. Professional recruitment firms very well understand the value of long term relationship they need to maintain with a candidate. Having said that, there is no denial that some candidates have bad experiences with recruiters/recruitment firms. As a job seeker, you sure need to do your homework on which firm you chose to represent your profile. There are tons of forums, e.g., Glassdoor.com to check the reviews about a recruitment firm.

Also, recruitment industry has been seeing a lot of change itself. Many Fortune companies prefer to go the staffing/recruitment firm way - either via RPO or MSP model.

Closing statement: Do go with IT Staffing firms to bag a good offer in the software vertical.

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