Everything You Need to Know About Recruiters

Recruiters — you’ve probably heard of them, but who are they? Where do they come from? What do they do? How can they help you as a college woman? Her Campus is here to help. We talked to two former recruiters — Andrea Baker, principal and founder of Talent Investment LLC, and Danielle Melendy, director of culture and people at Clique Media Group (CMG) — to answer all your questions. Get ready to take on the world of career fairs.

Who are recruiters?

Recruiters are people who come to a college or job fair to tell people about their company and what opportunities they have. “Recruiters come from all different parts of an organization,” Baker says. They may work in their company's HR office or simply recruit on top of their role. “I actually had a marketing background,” she says. “With recruiters, you are a brand ambassador for your organization.” Melendy describes recruiters as representatives of a company who search for and recruit new talent to join their organization. “These people are usually cultural ambassadors and have a great eye for finding people who will do well at company based on their skills and abilities,” she says. Recruiters will be able to tell you what their company is about and the different positions they’re hiring for.

What do they do?

Recruiters do a few different things for their respective companies. “As a recruiter, you’re responsible for providing information about your organization, the culture," Baker says. "You’re a cheerleader for your organization." Although recruiters will give you information, it’s ultimately up to you to have an idea of what industry or company you want to work for. “Students have to gauge: What are the areas and what things interest me? And what type of an organization do I want to work for?” she says.

Melendy describes what recruiters do in two parts: external and internal. Externally, they “build a recruiting brand, identify the best places to advertise the company and open positions, network and build relationships with potential hires, usher candidates through the interview process and ensure a great candidate experience, act as a reference for any questions about the company, give employment offers and send follow up paperwork, [and] help transition candidates during the onboarding process,” she says. Internally, they “meet with hiring managers to understand their current needs, create job descriptions to accurately portray the position, manage the interview process with multiple internal stakeholders throughout various stages, [and] represent the needs and expectations of both the employer and the candidate.” If you can figure work with a recruiter to help them help you, you’re much more likely to find one who can help you.

Related: 5 Things to Have on Your Resume by Senior Year

How can they help you?

In addition to giving you information about the company, recruiters will look at your resume, talk to you and find out what your interests are. Baker says the main things they’re looking for are “why you’re interested in that organization and what sort of roles are appropriate for you?”

Melendy says, “Recruiters may be the first people that college women interact with when trying to find a career.” She suggests building a good relationship with recruiters so you can ask them questions. And just like with any type of networking, keep in touch!

Alaina Leary, a second year grad student at Emerson College, has had both positive and negative experiences with recruiters. She says the field she’s in, book publishing, doesn’t have many recruiters for entry-level jobs. She has, however, gotten contacted by recruiters for marketing, publicity and social media positions. “I think recruiters can be extremely useful in getting your foot in the door, especially if you're flexible and don't need a permanent placement yet,” she says. “A lot of recruiters deal with full time employment, but the employment is temporary or an open-ended contract.”

Baker stresses really looking at an organization and what they do and believe in. It’s “like looking at college,” she says.

What can’t they help you with?

Although a recruiter will be able to help you with a lot, there are definitely some things that are off limits. “They can’t be your individual advocate,” Baker says. “They can steer you in some direction, but at the end of the day, they’re representing the organization so they can’t be your personal career counselor.” It’s up to you to learn as much as you can about different opportunities and roles and do your best to get yourself where you want to be.

Melendy has similar advice. “To be successful, you need to invest in yourself and career but also take advantage of the resources that are out there for you,” she says. If you build a relationship with a recruiter, they’ll be able to help you — but they won’t be able to give you an unfair advantage.

Now that you know who recruiters are, you’ll be more prepared to meet them and know what to expect. Be sure to do your research beforehand in order to be as ready as you can be. If you have an idea of what type of company you want to work for, you’ll be more likely to find a recruiter who can help you. Good luck, collegiettes!