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I am looking for a position in CS and data science around NYC and Bay area.

I posted my resume on indeed.com, and some third party recruiters contacted me.

They recommended me some companies which I never heard of, but after some search, I can't find anything illegitimate about the companies.

Are third-party recruiters reliable and helpful for job hunting?

  1. How can we distinguish between good ones and bad ones? Does having a Linkedin profile increase the chance that a third party recruiter is good?
  2. Is it better to submit application to a company directly or indirectly through third party recruiters?
  3. Which way will be helpful to have shorter waiting for interviews and, if successful, enrollment?

Thanks.

  • 1
    This is opinion based, some are good, some aren't. I can see this turning into just a list of horror stories about recruiters so off topic-voting to close – The Wandering Dev Manager Nov 2 '16 at 16:19
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    @TheWanderingDevManager yes but the OP also asks how to tell between the two, which is important. Those of us who have been around the block a few times can help the youngsters out here. – Retired Codger Nov 2 '16 at 18:10
  • besides which, we like the horror stories :-) – Mawg Nov 3 '16 at 18:48
  • DONT use indeed for serious professional job searches - they are basically scrapers with low quality inventory this is a direct quote for my former boss who was a director at RELEX who used to won a lot of the major job sites in the UK – Neuromancer Oct 13 '18 at 19:59
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Yes and No.

First, your questions:

  1. How can we distinguish between good ones and bad ones?

Good ones read your resume and make an effort to match you to a specific position they have in mind. Bad ones try to link you to every position they have, whether you are a good fit or not.

Does having a Linkedin profile increase the chance that a third party recruiter is good?

Hard to say. Probably, but it's no guarantee.

  1. Is it better to submit application to a company directly or indirectly through third party recruiters?

If you have the choice, apply directly to the company. If you apply through a recruiter, the company has to pay the recruiter. That can be expensive.

  1. Which way will be helpful to have shorter waiting for interviews and, if successful, enrollment?

Which ever path gets your resume in front of the employer that eventually hires you. In other words, there is no hard and fast rule.

  • 1
    Regarding paying the recruiter: It can be expensive, but ultimately it's a service that the company agreed to pay for when they gave the position to the recruiter, so they should be prepared to pay the recruiter if they successfully place someone. Beyond that, if the recruiter does manage to find a great match between you and an employer, then it was a job well done, and they deserve to be paid. I would think any attempt to circumvent the company having to pay the recruiter for work he completed in an attempt to look more marketable/competitive to the employer is fundamentally unethical. – Dogs Nov 2 '16 at 17:47
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    Not suggesting that you were advocating this, btw. I wanted to make sure it was unambiguous. If a recruiter talks to you about a position, you shouldn't then go and bypass the recruiter to apply for the position in order to save the company on the recruiter's cost. – Dogs Nov 2 '16 at 17:50
  • It's also worth noting that recruiter fees are a planned expense and part of the hiring budget. Since it's a one-time cost, it doesn't really have much bearing on the annual salary offered (which winds up dwarfing the recruiter fee in the long run). – 17 of 26 Nov 3 '16 at 13:12
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"They recommended me some companies which I never heard of, but after some search, I can't find anything illegitimate about the companies."

There are probably plenty of Fortune 500 companies you have never heard of either. I work for an IT consulting firm whose world HQ is in Chennai, India. It's a $US 12.5 billion company and I never knew it existed until it recruited me.

You'll most likely spend part of your career working for occasionally excellent companies you've never heard of. Get used to it.

"Are third-party recruiters reliable and helpful for job hunting?"

It depends what you are looking for in a recruiter. My working definition of a good recruiter - that is, the definition that serves me - is that they have a good position to offer and they can be relied to act with confidentiality. You don't want word of your job search to get back to your current employer's HR, do you? Paradoxically, a good recruiter may not want to have anything to do with you - that's because they caught on that you lack experience or skills that they are recruiting for. I fully accept that a recruiter may not want to have anything to do with me. Saves me time until I get the experience and skills they are looking for. Not the end of the world.

Recruiters work first for their clients, which happen to be your prospective employers. Second, recruiters work for themselves and their bonuses. Third, recruiters don't work for you because you are not the one paying them. So if you get dumped by a recruiter, don't take it personally. Being on Linkedin makes it more likely that a recruiter will find you. Whether that recruiter is good or bad, you can find that out only if you work with them.

"Is it better to submit application to a company directly or indirectly through third party recruiters?"

It depends. If there are tons of people with your skills set and experience that a company can recruit simply by showing up on campus, chances are pretty good that the company won't find it necessary to talk to a recruiter and pay a premium for hiring you through a recruiter. If people with your skills set and experience are in demand and hard to find, then the company bites the bullet and pays the recruiter to get their hands on you.

"Which way will be helpful to have shorter waiting for interviews and, if successful, enrollment?"

Answer: unknown. Answer varies with demand, availability of candidates and recruitment time lines.

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Yes, good recruiters can be extremely helpful. Bad recruiters are useless.

Good recruiters will ask you about your skills, experience, and what you are looking for in a company (size, culture, work content, etc). They will then match you to appropriate positions.

Bad recruiters will try to fill positions as quickly as possible, even if it's a poor match.

I've been a software developer for 20 years and have used third party recruiters to get most of my jobs.

Here are the benefits to using a recruiter:

Recruiters will do the leg work for you

They will find positions that match what you are looking for. You don't waste your time applying for jobs that you are not qualified for or are not a good match.

Recruiters usually have a working relationship with the hiring manager

This has a lot of benefits. They can give you tips on what to expect in the interview, how to dress, etc. You will generally get better feedback post-interview; hiring managers are typically more comfortable giving honest feedback to a third party rather than directly to the candidate.

The recruiter will also keep you up to date during the application/interview/hiring process. When dealing directly with companies, it's very common to hear nothing and be left wondering what your status is with them.

Recruiters know the salary range and current market

When companies enlist a recruiter, they give the salary range to them. Recruiters are also familiar with the current market and know what your skills/experience can command. This means you're not flying blind when it comes to negotiations.

I once got a much bigger salary offer than I expected because the recruiter knew the current market and I did not.

Some companies hire exclusively through third party recruiters

There are companies out there that don't want to deal with sifting through hundreds or thousands of resumes and will only hire through a third party recruiter. If you don't use recruiters, you will never see these job openings.

  • 2
    Bad recruiters are not just useless, they are worse than useless, they can actually make you less likely to get the job if they become involved. Your other points are excellent though. – Mark Booth Nov 3 '16 at 10:25
  • @MarkBooth I would have to agree with you on that. – 17 of 26 Nov 3 '16 at 13:13
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  1. How can we distinguish between good ones and bad ones?

A good recruiter will try to match you to a job and try to get the best fit possible. A bad recruiter will try to shoe-horn you into a job because they have an opening. A BIG red flag for this one is that the recruiter will ask you to "edit" your resume in such a fashion that it will bear little resemblance to the original. If a recruiter ever asks you to lie, walk out. I actually had one tear up my resume and throw it at me because I refused to lie. Needless to say, that was a bad one.

  1. Does having a Linkedin profile increase the chance that a third party recruiter is good?

No, it just means he can used LinkedIn. In fact, a complaint about LinkedIn as of late is that recruiters are scumming for contacts by linking to as many people as they can. Disregard LinkedIn as a plus or a minus.

  1. Is it better to submit application to a company directly or indirectly through third party recruiters?

It is always, 100% of the time better to apply directly where possible. Employers don't have to pay a fee when they get a direct applicant. This gives you an edge and makes you a cheaper hire.

  1. .Which way will be helpful to have shorter waiting for interviews and, if successful, enrollment?

As a rule, neither, but sometimes going through an agency can actually delay the process as happened to me. I went in for a three month contract and immediately got a hire offer. The agency wouldn't release me from my contract.

  • 3 is ok but remember many jobs especially more senior ones do not get openly advertised and are headhunter only – Neuromancer Oct 13 '18 at 20:00
0

Most are good. CS and data science is hot right now. You don't want a bad recruiter spamming your resume.

Talk to them and start with specific interview(s). Don't give them permission to spam your resume. Ask them some questions and be sure they at least know what data science it.

Scour the job boards and also apply direct. Companies don't have to pay the recruiter fee if they hire you direct.

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