Who do recruiters work for?

A multitude of definitions are being bandied about on the internet about the ways and means of a recruitment professional in this day and age. One of my American cousins posted something to the effect of "recruiters work for the company they are employed by or contracted to, they do not find jobs for people." This is not untrue.

Neither is it wholly accurate, however. Those privileged enough to have endured the "Morgan Method" training may recall that the titular speaker said it is best practice to find ostensibly good candidates and then find jobs for them. This can be true in many realms. Someone can be very good at startups, or very good at enterprise (read: bureaucracy).

Comparisons aside, the question you may be asking yourself is how to get the best value out of an agency recruiter? Or "what's in it for me"? Completely fair question.

While very accurate that a recruiter "works" for the companies they have contracts with, it is still very much a two-way street between candidates and clients. A recruiter who cannot find candidates to work with and place is not a recruiter. As they do not do the act of recruiting.

It is more common amongst our American cousins to do the act of "marketing" a resume or candidate. In this instance, it is where a recruiter would approach a company and state "hello, we have a candidate on the market with X skill and Y experience that could add value to your company, would you be interested in a chat?" Most experienced recruiters don't do this in Canada because they have been burned doing it before. If a recruiter doesn't have an agreement with a company, said company doesn't need to include the recruiter to approach that candidate. This is not an effective technique, nor is sending a company a highly opaque resume as an approach.

Rarely, but sometimes, a recruiter can "pro-market" a resume to a company they have an existing and strong relationship with. It is challenging though, as predicting a need of a company a recruiter doesn't directly work for is a guessing game.