As a junior military officer, I progressed from pay grade O1 to O3 in thirty-six months. As a recruiter, I have placed 100’s of men and women. I made a fee for these placements. I have helped many more people network their careers and got no fee for my help. The best recruiters want to help people first and make money second. The best recruiters also make the most money. For a partial list of my clients, click here.
Based on my experience, I recommend that junior military officers transitioning from military service to civilian careers avoid recruiters.
The information in this article will help anyone decide whether to use a recruiter. The point of this article is to help job seekers avoid trading their marketability for the sake of a potential connection with a recruiter’s client.
There are great recruiters in all types of industries. There are also incompetent recruiters, unscrupulous recruiters, dishonest recruiters, and any other negative type of recruiter you can imagine.
I have no intention of praising or condemning recruiters. In this article, I take a critical position to look at the value and lack of value of recruiters. I have focused this topic on junior military officers as the basis for taxonomy. I want to examine where recruiters help job seekers and companies and where recruiters are more self-serving than they are a service to job seekers and hiring companies. Junior military officers make an ideal classification of job seeker as a basis to create taxonomy for employment service companies.
Countless recruiting firms place military officers. These firms make a lot of money putting military officers into civilian jobs. What is the harm in junior military officers working with third-party recruiters when making a career transition to civilian life? I will let you decide. I list twelve things to think about in this article. You will find other things discussed in articles on the Internet.
1. Junior military officers do not need recruiters
Google search. You will see articles from Forbes, Harvard Business Review, CNN/Money, Business Insider, and others explaining why so many leaders have gone from the battlefield to the boardroom.
2. The second issue is the nature of applicant pooling.
If highly marketable applicants go to a job fair and everyone at the job fair has equally strong credentials, the applicants have eliminated any advantages they have in the talent pool. If junior military officers engage recruiters who specialize in placing junior military officers, these JMOs have gone from sharks to shiners. They become one in schools of fish that mesh together with little personal identity. Do you want to lose your identity in the job market?
3. Recruiters do not find jobs for people.
Recruiters find people for jobs. The difference is that hiring companies pay recruiters 20-30% of the first year’s salary. The job seeker pays the recruiter nothing. If a job seeker paid a recruiter $10,000 to $30,000 or more to find the job seeker a job, the relationship would be very different.
4. Working with recruiters takes time.
Members of the military and job seekers in general have other, sometimes better resources that take less time.
For example, junior military officers and other veterans have job search help that is not available to nonmilitary job seekers. Using Google search and enter the phrase “government programs for jobs for veterans” or other similar wording in Google search.
On LinkedIn, job seekers can search the phrase “junior military officer” or search the names of branches of the service. In the results of the search, the profiles of former military officers include the name of the companies where these people work today. Using that information, job seekers can search job boards for job listings with those companies. Even better, job seekers can make direct application to the companies where the former military people work.
Nearly every company has job listings on their website. Sometimes companies list jobs under a tab on the website menu. Other companies list their jobs in the “About” section of the website.
5. Job seekers who connect with hiring companies through a recruiter cost 20-30% more than job seekers who come to the company directly.
The extra cost is in the recruiter’s fee. When the hiring company has two equally strong applicants and one costs 20-30% more the first year of employment, the hiring company will hire the less expensive, equally qualified applicant.
6. Recruiters present the jobs that they want you to take.
You need to look for jobs that are in your best interest. Most recruiters do have your interest in mind when they refer you to a job. They do not want you to take the job and then quit. However, recruiters can only show you the jobs they have to fill. Some will put a persuasive hard sell on you to push you into taking one of those jobs. These recruiters behave like cattle herders. Their real interest is just getting the cattle to market.
The better approach is to plan your career. Make a list of the answers to these questions.
- What do you want to do?
- What companies have those types of jobs?
- Who are the contacts you need to make at those companies to get the job you want?
- What are the best ways to contact those people?
With this approach, you will end up with a job that you want and enjoy.
Confucius: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”
7. The seventh issue is employer perception.
If you find a hiring company and show that you offer solutions and opportunities that the company needs and may not have without you, you become a different person from the person who came in with the rest of the herd in the recruiter cattle drive. I had one client who hired two-dozen people from me. The best person she hired was a person who came to her directly and presented a business plan to improve her company’s customer loyalty programs. She hired this person for a job that did not exist before he came to her company.
8. Recruiters who specialize in placing junior military officers have no special industry-specific value.
For example, I have close to 40,000 connections in my database. Some of my connections are CEO’s and business owners I have known for over a decade. These people are all in the consumer products industry.
Occasionally, highly marketable people contact me who cannot get where they want to go through my network. I let them know that my network just does not offer the value they need for their career.
Junior military officers have distinctions similar to the distinctions of graduates from the top ten universities. The JMOs have credentials that are not industry specific. A recruiter in this process adds no value.
However, once junior military officers gain industry experience, working with a recruiter with dynamic connections in that industry offers real benefits to the JMO and any other job seeker.
9. Recruiters cut applicants from the process based on the recruiters’ perception and convenience.
In the process of referring applicants, recruiters base decisions on their perception of what the hiring company will hire. Recruiters also stop referring applicants when they believe they have the job filled with the applicants they have already sent to the hiring company.
10. Recruiters contribute little value as career coaches to junior military officers.
I have 100’s of articles on this website on how to write a resume, how to dress for an interview, how to interview, how to negotiate job offers, and other job-seeker topics. I add more articles weekly. To find a helpful article, just enter any subject in the search field at the top of this page.
You can also find information on these subjects on other great websites.
When you interview, you should prepare by researching the company and the people you will meet. That information is on the Internet.
Rather than spend your time over at the corral with the recruiter, take a few minutes a day to research the things you need to know for your job search.
11. Working with a recruiter guarantees the job seeker nothing.
Recruiters have contracts with hiring companies. The terms and conditions of these contracts guarantee certain conditions to the hiring company. When applicants use a great deal of time in emails, phone calls, and perhaps personal interviews with a recruiter, the applicants expect to get interviews through their effort. However, the recruiter guarantees applicants nothing.
If you have plenty of time to do the things that will really get you a job and still want to work with a recruiter, certainly contact a recruiter. However, do not expect any guarantees of anything.
12. Recruiters work with your competitors too.
Recruiters will ask you for referrals. They will ask you for information about the companies where you are interviewing. Giving recruiters this information hurts your chances of getting interviews. Because the recruiter is working with your competitors in your job search, any information they ask from you about your connections or your job search efforts is a conflict of interest.
If a member of the United States military gives information about our military to a foreign nation, even an ally, the person compromises our national security. If a member of the military of a foreign nation even asks a member of our military a question about United States military operations without a need and clearance to know that information, the foreign military person is behaving suspiciously. Yet some recruiters will probe for competitive information that benefits them and works against the job seeker.
In conclusion, there are great recruiters in all types of industries.
There are times when some people just will not find a job without the help of a recruiter. There are some circumstances where recruiters serve themselves and not the job seeker. Junior military officers are mature, intelligent, and marketable. They can find a job by applying directly to hiring companies. It is in their best interest to do so. However, once junior military officers gain industry experience, working with a recruiter with dynamic connections in that industry offers real benefits.