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Old 25.03.2015, 09:00
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Re: Recruitment agencies/headhunters

I've worked with many many many many recruiters and agencies in the advancement of my career - a few tips for CH:

Screen recruiters as they would screen you. Ask them if they have placed anyone in the company they are recruiting for, ask if they are in direct contact with the hiring manager, ask if they an exclusive contract to fill the job.

For the latter point, many don't have a contract and they are looking to gain one by use of your dossier as a door opener (if you are a well qualified candidate). You should be able to find one that has a direct relationship or at minimal a contact to the hiring manager (not just HR).

Many recruiters, especially in Switzerland and those in the UK who place in CH, don't go beyond the job title on your CV for placement. Therefore many will be completely and utterly useless if you're looking at a job that's slightly different from your background - i.e. in the case you're looking to do a lateral move or switch to a different Subject Matter, but you're carrying some experiences within your target opportunities.

There a some jewels who will be able to really dig deep into your dossier, try to learn about your, and proactively chase you, and present you in a way that gets you an interview. These are far and few in between. There are others who are just a waste of time (majority).

The goal of the recruiter is to get you an interview - that 's it after that..its all on you, just for the record.

If you do go for a recruiter, make your choice carefully. Per Swiss law, your dossier is "owned" by the recruiter for about a year. So if you are introduced to company ABC Pharma by them (see things didn't work out) and you see another opportunity say a year later, which you decide to apply independently, that can cause complications. ABC Pharma may have to pay the hiring fee to your recruiter irrespective - etc. etc.
So be aware. Same goes for the opposite, if you apply to a company for one role then use a recruiter for another role in the same company, you can get yourself into complications. In that case, the company "owns" your dossier, the recruiter will get nothing and you put both in an awkward predicament.

So, in CH, not all recruiters and headhunters are the same, some are what's called RPOs or Procurement Organizations, some are part of larger "Executive Agencies" that have specialty departments, and others are independent, I tend to like the smaller, niched independents. Though I've had larger firms place me.

In general, expect frustration, its part of the job hunting process but one you do fine one who is willing to bat for you and whom you trust, it then becomes a manageable process.

And as others had noted, F2F meetings are the best, especially when you're aligning with a direct opportunity - a good recruiter should be able to give you intel about the hiring manager, team, company etc. and help you prepare as best as possible.

All the best!
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