Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Question:

How does one find a good recruiter (i.e. good for them)? I need one!

(What can a recruiter do for you? What can you expect? How do you choose someone? How would the relationship proceed? How much does it cost? What information do you need to know before you go searching?)

Story continues below advertisement

The Answer:

Recruiters can be a great support for both job seekers and employers. Here are some tips to find a good recruiter and maximize the value you get out of him or her.

For job seekers:

Many recruiters today specialize in a particular area. It may be industry-specific (e.g. accounting, advertising, engineering, etc.), or it may focus on other employment needs, such as bilingual French placements (my area of specialty). As a first step, research recruiters who work in your employment area – they are more likely to be connected to your target list of employers and the type of job you are looking for.

Use recruiters as just one tool in your job search arsenal. Remember, recruiters are not agents working on behalf of job seekers. They will not charge you anything for their services (it is against the law in Canada for them to do so). They focus on their client's needs (employers), and work to find the right person to fill those needs.

Maximize what you get out of recruiters by:

•Entering your profile into their database (this can often be done online)

Story continues below advertisement

•Connecting with them through social media and checking their website often – most recruiters will immediately post available positions online

•Keep in touch with recruiters regularly to keep yourself top-of-mind – especially when they've just posted a job for which you may be qualified

•Don't be offended if you don't get a call back – recruiters will usually contact you only when they have a job in mind for you

•If you are short-listed and called in for an interview with a recruiter, take that opportunity to seek out additional advice. This is your chance to see how you can strengthen your résumé, and polish up your presentation and interview skills, etc.

Finally, a good recruiter won't waste your time if they can't help you (e.g. if they don't have the types of jobs for which you'd be qualified). They will tell you up front exactly what they can do for you.

For employers:

Story continues below advertisement

First off, let's consider the question: Why use a recruiter? There are two very valuable benefits that recruiters offer: 1) they can tap into talent that companies do not have access too (e.g. approaching workers who are currently employed, scoping the competition, etc.); and 2) they can save a company considerable time on the search and prescreening process. This allows executives to focus on what they do best, while leveraging the "finding a needle in a hay stack" search skills of a recruiter.

When it comes to finding a good recruiter, here are some considerations:

•Ask recruiters where their expertise lies. It's best to hire a recruiter whose focus complements your hiring needs

•In recruitment, success is more closely tied to quality than quantity. Beyond years of experience, or size of a firm, successful placements are key (even if a recruiter was able to fill 150 positions in a short time, if many ended up not working out, that can't be deemed a success)

•How responsive is the recruitment firm? Will your recruiter put you at the top of the list? Ask if they have service level commitments in terms of getting back to you within a certain time frame, etc.

•Also ask: Should a new hire not work out, will the recruiter support you in finding someone else?

Story continues below advertisement

Recruiters should really operate as an extension of your HR department. They will do all of the prescreening, liaise with short-listed candidates, schedule interviews, check references, assist with negotiations, etc.

In terms of remuneration, outside of some executive search firms that have retainer fees, most recruiters operate on contingency, meaning the recruiter essentially works for you for free until they have successfully placed someone in the job for you. Once a candidate is hired, a fee is paid to the recruiter based on a prenegotiated percentage of the employee's salary.

If you work exclusively with one recruiter (as you generally would with a doctor, dentist, real estate agent, etc.), you are more likely to get their full attention and effort, and the best service from them. In addition, the more open you are in sharing your company's culture and the nuances of your workplace, the greater the chances that your recruiter will find the best candidate for your team.

The best hires are found when the company and recruiter commit to working together as if they were on a joint venture.

Julie Labrie is the vice-president of BlueSky Personnel Solutions in Toronto.

Have a question about careers, labour law or management? Send it to our panel of Your name and address will be kept confidential.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies