Recruiters/Headhunters vs applying directly

I've always gone via a recruiter as I knew the space less. I've recently started looking and started applying directly. It could be due to lockdown but I've not heard back from several places I've applied to. My CV usually gets at least an initial interview to discuss the position and my interests etc.

I personally don't like using recruiters because they fling all kinds of positions at you. I'd much rather look at the positions available at the places I like and apply then and there. I'm also not too keen of having a another person's sit between me and my employer especially with the quality of recruiters having gone down considerably over the last few years IMHO.

I've also thought they get about 25% from your first year base. That's a nice sum of money. Often with me, it's not much work and even though there are hiring/HH budgets, one way or another this comes out of your pocket.

What is your experience?

Comments (22)

 
Jul 18, 2020 - 6:45pm

I don't want to be negative but I've not found a consistently good recruiter. Their quality has substantially dropped down in the last 5 years. Most recruiters are complete failures in life and they jump in what is a salesman job that requires little little training. It is not an easy job to do well but because the threshold is so low you to get into it, everyone is now trying to be a recruiter so there is no way for you to distinguish between a good recruiter and a bad one who is trying to sell you a job.

You decide for yourself if you want to put yourself in a position in which this person has a big impact on your career and life.

 
Jul 18, 2020 - 8:34pm

I agree recruiters are the epitome of snake oil salesmen.

That said, London recruiters are miles ahead of US recruiters. Avoid Selby Jennings, Huxley, Alexander Chapman and most of the big ones. Find small niche ones

Beware: at some places, your current employer can use recruiters tempt you into leaving to assess if you are a flight risk

Array
 
  • Quant in HF - Other
Jul 19, 2020 - 3:22am

Well, looks like we have slightly different experience.

My two cents are. There are generally two types of recruiters/HH. The first one is a true middlemen -- they do not have real relationships with hiring managers and just send your CV to their website or to some person which you can find in the internet. The second one is a firm/person that have a true relationship with hiring manager. Obviously you should avoid working with the first ones and you would have no problems in working with the second.

I worked with both types. The first one yielded like 0% offers, the second one -- almost 100%.

 
Jul 18, 2020 - 5:45pm

I think you may need to be proactive about reaching out to ppl and expressing your interest. I'd imagine they'd recieve many CVs and yours is probably getting lost somewhere. If you're already doing this, then I have nothing to add

I have found recruiters generally very useless

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Jul 18, 2020 - 6:37pm

How would you define proactive? I normally go to their 'Careers' page and upload my CV and submit an application. I would normally not contact their HR or send any email if I don't hear back.

Personally, I've found that while there are some amazing HR employees most are asleep at the wheel. Most have been asleep at the wheel all their entire life tbh and my worries are sending my application on Friday 4pm might not even get registered.

 
Jul 19, 2020 - 3:46am

Just go to LinkedIn and find the senior folks leading the team (at this firm) that you're interested in speaking with. Email them (I am sure you can find out their email address through norbert or a comparable website) or ping them on LinkedIn (less effective).

HR is useless.

Array
 
Most Helpful
Jul 18, 2020 - 9:44pm

95% of HF positions are not publicly advertised, so it's impossible to know whether they have a recruitment need or not. 99% of HFs don't have a "business development" nor probably even a "recruitment coordinator".

Given the above, headhunters can make you aware of opportunities you didnt know existed. Sure, some are unprofessional and make shit up, but little downside vs the huge upside thry can potentially bring. Also, how much effort does it take other than sending them your resume plus a 10min conversation?

 
Jul 19, 2020 - 12:31pm

Sure, but then we are talking about non-public positions. Let me ask you this - would you apply through a recruiter to Citadel when you can go on their website and see what openings they have? I agree that for some niche funds recruiters are the only way. I've hired several people and we only advertised through recruiters - you couldn't get our job from anywhere else.

 
  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Other
Jul 19, 2020 - 12:55pm

I've had the best outcomes going directly through in-house recruiters or having contacts in the industry forward my resume internally.

Most headhunters are complete garbage and will spam your resume to every opportunity - a lot of the times they will just forward your resume to the same job posting that you could have applied to yourself.

That said there are some headhunters that have a good pulse on the market, so they are useful to talk to to see what the trends are in the industry, which strategy styles are in vogue, who's hiring etc. I typically stop there and don't give them my resume because once they have your resume, they can start spamming it everywhere.

 
Jul 19, 2020 - 2:31pm

Analyst 3+ in HF - Other:

I've had the best outcomes going directly through in-house recruiters or having contacts in the industry forward my resume internally.

Most headhunters are complete garbage and will spam your resume to every opportunity - a lot of the times they will just forward your resume to the same job posting that you could have applied to yourself.

That said there are some headhunters that have a good pulse on the market, so they are useful to talk to to see what the trends are in the industry, which strategy styles are in vogue, who's hiring etc. I typically stop there and don't give them my resume because once they have your resume, they can start spamming it everywhere.

Plus at some point resumes become irrelevant. If they know you did X years at division Y at bank Z pre-jump to buy-side or you've been doing investing at shop Q what else is there really to know? A bit redundant all these resumes, look it up on LinkedIn.

 
  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Jul 19, 2020 - 5:16pm

The two types of recruiters are retained and contingent. Always stick with retained. They're the ones who have been hired by the company to fill the spot. Contingent recruiters just send in resumes and if they send it to a company that you find a role at on your own, you could be procluded from consideration. Some recruiters will do both and when I get cold messages from recruiters on LinkedIn that's usually the first question I ask.

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