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Ask HN: Where do you go to get recruiters to find you a job?
89 points by nicholas73 on Sept 19, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments
I'm looking for a new role, but would like to work with recruiters to reduce time consuming job searches and applications. Where can you go to basically announce to recruiters that it's worth their time to find a good job match for you, rather than just spam by keywords?

I'd like to be able to continue to be a good employee at my current job, have time to spend with my family, and develop my side projects. So I'd much prefer a recruiter to go to bat for me so all I'd have to do is show up for the interview.

I'm leaving because I feel that both professional and skill growth at my current company is limited, but otherwise have a good relationship with everyone I work with, so I'm in no rush to do an intensive job search on my own.

Thanks HN!

P.S. I could interview well with a mid-senior electronics role or a junior programmer role.

Genuinely surprised at the usual "muah muah, can't swat them away" chatter.

Having basically the equivalent of an agent in your corner would be a very valuable service, but crucially this agent would need to have an impeccable reputation, hence any of the usual recruiters only "doing secretarial work" wouldn't work. They would need to be genuinely well connected professionals.

I can see an ongoing relationship with salary increase negotiation support, a bi-yearly in person strategy session ("It might be time to move on") as well as genuinely going to bat for you in terms of your contract ("hey, let'a push for a 7 year exercise window instead of 90 days")

Anyways. I don't know if such a service, but it seems like it should exist.

These types of recruiters do sort of exist. Basically instead of doing contract recruiting by just cold calling or emailing they put together a talent network. Over time they get parts of their talent network into companies as hiring managers and VPs. Once they hit critical mass they become much more selective about who is allowed into the network while also pulling from their network to move guys between companies and also to find out who they should develop new relationships with.

If this sounds sketchy as fuck... it is. But it works, and you can basically tell the recruiter what you want to do and when that op shows up in their network he or she will advise you and help you get the deal.

Is this actually sketchy though? As everyone knows, hiring is difficult. It is time-expensive and the outcome of a bad hire can be catastrophic. So here we have a recruiter who is making it his business to make your life easier by making the process less time expensive and less risky, and we brand this sketchy?

In forming a good relationship between their hiring partner and interviewees - they know who is likely to be a "fit" and who will not be. This is no different to HR screening CVs based on fit, the only difference is that recruiters of take a personal vested interest in the success. Every hire nets them commission. Every good hire strengthens their network, every bad hire weakens their network. If they are truly a network-based recruiter, they want every hire to be amazing.

Yes, there will be weaknesses in this system. Yes, it leads a reduced hiring pool (if you opt-in to this style of hiring) and black-box hiring. The upshot is that as an interviewer and interviewee you save yourself time and find yourself a job that makes you happy, you only need find yourself the right recruiter.

This is how the best placements get made.

If you're an engineer there's a list of requirements that would convince you to switch jobs whether it be for working in a certain industry, with certain proven founders, your comp., certain tech, title a company can offer, remote/flexiblity, benefits, etc. When I meet a candidate and they tell me that list and a few months down the line I come across a job that matches well it's a win-win for both me, the company, and the candidate.

tl;dr recruiting can be a relationship-based game with many moving parts. At a certain point, with a complete and up-to-date dataset, you can provide tons of value for everyone as an information arbitrator.

I don't disagree actually, but it sort of clashes with my idealism that engineering is meritocracy based (it isn't, I know). If I joined an org thinking I was going to be working with the best and brightest and really it just ended up that they were all connected then I might be annoyed. I dunno... it feels "wrong", but it isn't wrong, and I do think it's a good methodology for staffing.

Does not sound sketchy at all. Standard talent agency model.

These kinds of services exist for contractors but, afaik, not for full-time software engineers. I wrote about why here: http://blog.alinelerner.com/why-talent-agents-for-engineers-...

TL;DR In this market, where there's a shortage of labor, the economic incentive isn't there. You get paid a lot more when you work for companies. It's the opposite of what you see in Hollywood, where there's a surplus of labor and a shortage of jobs.

Set up a good LinkedIn profile with up-to-date resume and set your location as where you want to work, and the recruiters will come to you. Do the resume part first, so that when you set your location, you'll show up for any recruiters searching as new in that location and with a full resume ready to view.

Go to any meetups or conferences you can find for tech stuff. You'll probably find plenty of recruiters, or at least people who can introduce you to some. I've got pile of recruiters messaging me on LinkedIn, and they almost all explicitly ask if I can point them at any other candidates who are looking. Bring business cards with your email, phone, and website, even if you have to get them made yourself.

In my experience, doing any of this even half-heatedly is plenty to get you so many recruiters that you'll start wondering how to get them to leave you alone after you take a job.

Agree with everyone that is saying LinkedIn.

Even if you barely touch your profile, you'll very likely start to get recruiters within a few weeks contacting you.

If you don't, you need to work on what information you are providing in your past history and description to ensure that you look professional and have all of the keywords/skills listed that matter. I would recommend getting someone you trust that works in the field to review it that won't hold back on opinions. Get other opinions as well. Then look at it as if you were a recruiter, a manager, and a future co-worker and make changes as needed.

Then Google/Bing/DDG search yourself. What info do you see? Anything you wouldn't want others to see? Can you do anything to fix that?

Finally, don't just wait around for recruiters. Actively network. Work on the skills you think you'll need to have. Read. Practice. Have your significant other or friend or anyone interview you. Get interview questions you can find easily on the internet and learn all of the answers and why they are the answers. It takes time to prepare.

Do you have an up-to-date LinkedIn account? I spend so much time shooing away headhunters I'm sure several would jump at the chance to help me find work and make their commission if I asked. Many have premium accounts and alerts set up so that if you change your status to looking for work they'll pick up on it.

I have a LinkedIn account, but messages usually are not good fits and clearly are spam strategies. I'm looking for a recruiter that would focus on finding me a job, rather than finding a candidate for a job they have on file.

I'd like to extend the question for engineers not in the Bay Area or other hubs. I've been approached by recruiters, but they generally back off once they find out I'm not willing to move to San Fransisco. I understand that there are more jobs there but it seems like recruiters don't want to acknowledge that the rest of the country exists. If I could find a software job out here in flyover country, you'd think that the professionals could too.

I was connected with my current company (reddit) through Triplebyte. They're a YC recruiting company that puts you through their own technical screens / interview before agreeing to work with you. The interview process is intense, but they connected me with some awesome companies (fast tracked to onsite interviews) and generally had my back through the whole process. Highly recommend giving them a shot.

May you define intense? It would be nice to learn more about the process.

Thanks for your experience.

Try hired.com. My experience with them was nearly identical to working with a recruiter, but a lot less hassle IMO.

I haven't got anything through that service. From my point of view they are just collecting data and not doing anything.

Thanks for sharing.

I'm a software engineer that does recruiting for ~60 tech companies in NYC (seed stage to mature). If you're in NYC, or want recommendations for good recruiters I know in the SF Bay Area shoot me an email david at inboxhire dot com.

Thank you David, I'm in the SF Bay Area.

I'm a developer/manager who does recruiting, but mostly in SoCal, and I see you're in the Bay area. Up there, you might reach out to Aline Lerner. She did the same, although I understand she is now focused on interviewing.io. Still, wouldn't hurt to ask her:


Another way to do it is go on Indeed at look at relevant job postings from recruiters that are well written. I find I can tell right away when they are useless; it's clearly cut/paste straight from the client and has a total "job shop" feel.

I don't know if you'll get an honest answer, but another good sign is that they have direct contact with the hiring manager.

Feel free to reach out, happy to answer any questions.

Aline here. Wow, huge thank you for the awesome shout-out!

I am indeed focused on interviewing.io, but I like to think it's a more efficient, productized way of doing what I was doing as a recruiter. You get free interview practice, and if you do well, you start getting invites to technical interviews with great companies, bypassing all the crap you'd normally have to do to get in the door.


LinkedIn is definitely an option. If you take the time to fill out your profile and write a summary, you should have recruiters messaging you. I get messages every week asking if I'm looking. I imagine it varies by region, but it's not like I'm in SV, I live in the Tampa Bay area. Also, the quality of the recruiters can vary a lot, so maybe talk to a few different people to see what they can offer. Remember, you're a valuable commodity to them.

Living in Beijing, and do not see the same engagement here.

Hey, I'm in Tampa Bay Area too. Mind getting in touch?

I've used Hired.com, and couldn't recommend them more. It was a great experience.

Nice try, Hired.com staff ;)

Hmm... this is an interesting idea. I could see it as a valuable service for my newly launched, HN approved, and shamelessly plugged website https://oldgeekjobs.com/

Thing is, I'm trying to target a certain type of Old Geek. My theory is if someone is 45 years old with solid ReactJS skills, it signals them being an autodidact with experience--the best type of programmer, all other things equal.

If I could build a reputation for interviewing and evaluating such professionals, I could see a fun and profitable business in that.

Experience is one thing, but using age as a criteria is a minefield.

Can you please elaborate? For employers, yes, but other actors? Interested to know your thoughts on this.

Interesting timing because I am working on a service that does exactly this. Essentially I will be your agent. Tell me the job you want and your salary and I still get it for you. Help you schedule, cleanup your resume etc... in return I get 10% of your paycheck for a year.

I am currently beta testing it with a handful of people but if interested email me at eibrahim@gmail.com

Do people actually want to do this? 10% of your pay for a year is a hell of a lot of money for some glorified secretarial work. The market is saturated with experienced, well-connected recruiters who can do all of that and get paid by the employer outside of the candidate's income. What do you offer over all of the other recruiters out there who, from the candidate's perspective, are $10,000+ cheaper to work with, and why is it worth that much money to me?

Here is the thing, let's say you want to get a 100k job at google. It's a lot of work to get in the door.

What if write/cleanup your resume so it stands out? What if I help you setup your online presence (website, github, linked in, etc...)? What if I pitch you to the employer better than you can?

And at the end, you end up getting your job and you make 110k (because I did all the negotiations for you and got you a better starting salary). Sure you will give up 10k for a year but then you have a higher salary.

You save time and you make more money.

Does it sound too expensive now?

I am a developer myself and it's a pain job hunting but I realized over the year that I always did a great job negotiating my benefits and on several occasions I was making more than other more qualified co-workers (I know it sucks). I also found that I am good at placing other people and helping them get jobs - I did it for free most of the time to help out but eventually saw the business opportunity.

I appreciate all the feedback though and I did get several emails of interested people, so I setup this form if anyone is interested: https://goo.gl/forms/tYVvDddqWdJrn2fi2

NOTE: Again, I am not a sleazy recruiter/sales guy. I am a developer like you and understand where you come from - you can learn more about me at about.me/eibrahim


Yes recruiters can help you do this for free. 10% is a big hit.

Except: Recruiters usually take 17% (2 months) of your first year salary as a fee, you just don't see it. Better to have the recruiter not do that and take 10% and have that higher salary be your starting point for salary increases etc.

No they take a percentage from the company.

Generally a tech company won't offer a 17% signing bonus for coming direct.

On the other hand, a company not using recruiters wont pay 17% more just because they are saving money.

PS: I wonder why my GP comment is heavily downvoted? Maybe it sounds to pro-recruiter.

Pay attention: "you just don't see it" == "they take it from the company"

Your assertion that a company wouldn't pay more without a recruiter makes no sense. Particularly if they're sourcing candidates off a trusted source

Ps. I suspect your comments get downvotes because they come across as rash and not very well thought through.

It makes sense from a simple supply/demand point of view. You only pay what you have to. Why pay the candidate more just because you saved some money elsewhere. That could be just added to the bottom line, used for growth etc.

Now if the candidate is strong, a good negotiator, and all their competing candidates went through a recruiter then they may be able to claw back some of that as a pay rise. But I guess in most cases, not.

FWIW, I think you are correct. Companies are interested in keeping people in the same paygrade at similar pay. People talk, after all. They cannot pay someone more or less based on whether there is an initial upfront recruiter fee, as the employees will find out soon enough and threaten to walk.

The primary value I derive from recruiters is them being a trusted source with direct contacts to hiring managers, so that I can get interviews quickly. I do not need scheduling or resume advice.

Moreover, 10% from me is quite different than a fee paid by the employer. The employer fee does not necessarily have to come from my pocket, as payscales could be standardized or deduced and negotiated. But the 10% definitely would cost me.

I'm not trying to be rude or decline your help. Just giving feedback on your business model.

For that to work, you have to arbitrage the fee the business would pay to a recruiter against the lost income for the employee you place. Maybe you have secret sauce that makes it possible? Tell us more?

Not possible. To provide a good service then jobs found via recruiters must be included, the recruiter must be paid.

Instead, the best they can do for you as a candidate is negotiate hard on your behalf. This might be a good service for someone who is currently underpaid and is happy to give up 10% to have a negotiator get them up by 30% from their current role.

The help with CV etc. stuff can be got a lot more cheaply and is not an exact science anyway.

I am with you. It really is not rocket science but let's admit it, many developers suck at negotiating and will get distracted by the free macbook and $5000 bonus and ignore the fact that they could have have gotten a much higher salary :).

It comes down to simple math, why not pay 10% to get 30% - it's that simple. But just like any service, of course you can do it on your own and save the 10% :).

They come to you, and then you can't get rid of them.

Why use recruiters? They just submit your resume to an employer like you could have done in 5 minutes. For that five minute action they want to collect a $10-20k fee. That comes out of your pocket. Plus they do ridiculous things like want you to drive an hour down to their POS office for a face to face like you are their employee. Their most recent accomplishment is dropping out of college and they will try to make you wait in the lobby for 20 minutes. Fuck. That.

There are a lot of advantages to using a good recruiter. They serve as a decent filter for both you and the employer so you don't waste time pursuing jobs that are not a good fit. When I was looking for my last job, I had certain criteria - a salary that at the time was higher than average, it had to be located in a certain part of the metro area because I didn't want a long commute and I wanted a certain technology stack.

Most jobs don't post salary ranges and for some strange reason it's considered bad form to ask about it at the early stages of the interview process but the recruiter knows what salary the company is willing to offer and it's perfectly acceptable to ask.

Submitting your resume blindly to a company is a black box. A recruiter will know almost immediately if a company is interested in you and what stage in the decision process the company is in. They will also give you hints about what type of interview to expect.

The last time I was looking for a job about two years ago, I was feilding 10 different opportunities - I had passed the phone screen and scheduling an in person interview. I stopped the process for 8 of them after accepting an offer that met my requirements.

In my experience it's recruiters who get the salary and level wrong. I have a lot of experience, but I still get tons of spam that read "mid-level Java programmer 2+ years of experience, must have J2EE." They don't even look at my profile. I ask for a range and I am usually not going to be in it. I am not hiding anything on my resume.

When they message you on linked in it's a number game. But when you sit down and talk with them about your requirements for a job, they will listen. They don't want to field jobs to the wrong people.

The 10-20K fee doesn't come out of your pocket, if you are using a good recruiter they are actually more likely to get you a better deal.

Most people don't know how to negotiate, recruiters do, mostly because more often than not their fee and reputation is somewhat dependant on it.

A recruiter would usually find you a good fit especially if they aren't just some employment/vacancy agency but actually build their network.

How much of a good fit and how long you stay at your job is tied directly to their reputation, recruiters that fill positions with people that don't stick around or worse don't even pass a probationary period don't get too many second chances.

Overall the recruiter fee isn't even a major part of the onboarding cost, the time spent by everyone from HR to the tech guys on everything from defining the job to handling the interviews cost considerably more especially if you take valley salaries into account.

The position not being filled or worse being filled by a contractor who often charges considerably more than the average daily market rate for a full time employee also costs the company money.

That $10-20k only comes out of your pocket if you let it.

Like it or not, that fee affects ability to negotiate compensation. Given a pool of equivalently skilled people, the one that doesn't come with a fee is going to be able to negotiate and get the job.

In Germany, I use Xing (Linkedin equivalent) to get a new job whenever I want. You have to know the right groups for your field of work and get part of them(examples: the "Freelance"-group for contractors, the "Linux" group or the "Adobe AEM" group) Recruiters then go there and find you (or you easily see the recruiters and drop them a quick message you are interested in what they offer).

I recently used https://www.honeypot.io/. And the experience was quite good.

Thanks for the link! Any other recommendation for the European market?

> I'm in no rush to do an intensive job search on my own.

The Talent Agent for Techies concept comes up 2-3 times a year on HN. As long as companies (with deep pockets) fight over supply, the business model for individuals won't work.

If you're sufficiently motivated, research the small, boutique recruiters that serve your market/industry. Ask around for who has a good, established rep in the space.

Understand that time is money to these guys, they don't cater to job-seekers. Make a friend. You might approach them by first asking how you might be able to help with a potential referral.

I got my last job via recruiter and I really enjoyed the experience. We mailed and met twice before my first interview, he knew how much money I can ask for and was very open if he thinks it's the right fit for me or not. He checked in twice the first year and I didn't hear from him in over two years now.

I'm pretty sure he keeps track if I'm still working there, but no phone/mail like "looking for something else?".

Definitely gonna contact him the next time I'm looking for a job.

> P.S. I could interview well with a mid-senior electronics role or a junior programmer role.

What do you mean by "electronics". Electrical engineer? Electrician?

Electrical engineer, past work in analog ICs, sensors, circuit boards.

Not sure why you were downvoted, but I tried to make it up.

Why, craigslist.org of course!

Seriously, half the posts on Craigslist are recruiters scouring major metropolitan areas for leads. Reply to enough posts on Craigslist, and recruiters will find you.

I've gotten interviews from big companies using the job section of their official websites. Just make sure to spend some time on your resume.

Hired.com is great!

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