Some of my readers have *ahem* politely encouraged me to move away from dealing with the recent news stories and related criticism. I agree. I would like to get back to the focus of this blog a bit more. I'm not sure why so many people read a blog they don't like - in the words of Lisa Simpson "Why would they show up just to boo us?" - but in any event, thanks for the constructive criticism.
Today, I'd like to to discuss working with recruiters -sometimes known as headhunters. One decent piece of advice I did receive from my career services office is that entry level graduates from law schools really can't make use of recruiters. The reason is that as recent graduates we "don't have heads to hunt".
This is reasonable advice. There's little value to recent graduates (of any institution) aside from their degrees and whatever honors or achievements they earned while seeking those degrees. Therefore, a firm or company doesn't really need a middleman to help determine if a recent graduate will be right for the job. The employer can just evaluate the applicants course of study, internships, etc. It's also fairly easy to advertise an entry level position and have a number of recent graduates apply for it.
For those of us with pre-law, professional backgrounds, however, there may be some benefit to working with recruiters. You see, while the path to becoming a first year associate is a narrow one (you either get recruited at OCI or your don't), there are a number of different avenues people with some substantive work experience can take to get into different fields. For example, I recently spoke with someone with only a few years of work experience who was looking to relocate, she spoke with a headhunter who was able to get her a bunch of interviews (which led to a job).
One thing to keep in mind is that recruiters usually make their money by collecting a fee from the company which hires their recruit. This makes it more expensive to hire a recruited candidate rather than one who applies to the company directly. In this economy, with so many people seeking work, this could put you at a disadvantage.
On the other hand, given the volume of applicants, head hunters may be a good way of sorting through unqualified candidates and zoning in those who reliable head hunters have recruited.
If nothing else, if a head hunter is willing to work with you, it seems like there could be other benefits besides possibly landing some interviews. A recruiter is likely to offer you significant advice on both your resume and your sales pitch. After all, the more marketable you are, the more likely he is to place you and collect his fee. He may also be able to help spin your law degree with employers in ways that you are not able.
I'm going to speak tonight with a guy who's going to put me in touch with some friends who are recruiters. I'll let you know how things work out in later posts.
Readers, have any of you worked with recruiters/headhunters in the past? Any advice or information you'd like to pass along? Please post in the comments below.