More than 4500 recruiting companies operate in Canada. As a job seeker do you know how they work? How they charge? How they advertise? How can you contact them? What should you know before you contact them? Most importantly, how can you get your next job through them?

Some FAQS about Canadian Recruiters
and the Job Seeker

The following has been specifically written to apply to Canadian recruiting companies. However it can also be applied to most US and other foreign firms on a general basis.

Recruiters by any other name

Recruiters have a variety of names including head-hunters, management consultants, executive search firms, placement companies, staffing companies/agencies, office support agencies, employment agencies and industrial help companies.

Recruiters Purpose

Simplified, companies hire recruiters to find just the right individuals to fill full-time, contract or part-time positions. As a job seeker, recruiters do not work for you - you won't be paying their salary. Never expect (or ask ) them to find you a job

Are there recruiters for you?

Ask yourself this question: "Am I looking for a job in an office or plant?" 
If the answer is yes, recruiters probably specialize in your industry or position. In fact Canadian recruiters work in about 80 industries such as advertising, chemical, non-profit, telecommunications, etc. and fill about 80 specific positions such as accountants, engineers, salesmen, secretaries, shippers, etc.

If you asked the above question and the answer is no, recruiters probably don't fill your position. For example recruiters don't normally fill full-time working level positions in schools, airports, film, government locations, retail, hospitals, broadcasting, outdoor industries, etc. However, recruiters do fill manage- ment positions connected with all the above.

For full details on all industry and position specialities of Canadian recruiting
companies, see the "Industry and Position Speciality" page on our site.

Recruiter Salary Level Specialities

Canadian recruiting firms are all specialized by the salary level of the jobs they
fill - but not exactly as you may think. Generally, firms specialize by minimum salary of jobs filled. All lower level recruiters occasionally fill higher level jobs. But higher level recruiters rarely fill lower level jobs.

The secret of contacting the the right firms is to look for firms that fill jobs at
your salary expectation. The Directory of Recruiters books & CD detail the
minimum salary level filled for every listed (about 3700) recruiting companies.

Executive / Management / Supervisory Recruiters

An often asked question is "What recruiting companies fill executive jobs? Management jobs? Professional jobs? Supervisory jobs?" The answer?  They all do!

As a job seeker you should be asking the question "Which companies fill jobs like I want the most often?" Which ones specialize in my position? My industry? At my salary level? In two? In all three?

For example, are you looking a job as a staff (or middle level) manager? OK, ask yourself - a manager of what group (profession)? - Accounting? Marketing? Sales? Human Resources? That is the position specialization you should be looking for - at your salary level - not who fills management jobs.

Looking for a high level executive job - VP, CEO or another similar job? The higher the level, the more the job will be specialized by industry. High level placements always require a thorough background knowledge of the associated industry (the history, the customers, the competition, the products /services, the problems and the opportunities). So you should be contacting recruiters that specialize in your industry - at your salary level - not who fills CEO jobs.

How to Contact Recruiters

  • Phone first, talk with a recruiter, send your résumé and then follow up
  • Send your résumé to a recruiter and follow up
  • Send your résumé to a recruiter and wait for them to contact you
Each recruiting firm has a preferred method. In Canada about 85% of the firms would prefer the first method - it provides the recruiter with an opportunity to know you a little better before the résumé arrives. So, if unsure phone them first. Faxing your résumé or sending via E-Mail is not suggested - unless the recruiter asks. The Directory of Recruiters books detail the preferred contact method for each listed firm.

The Phone Call 
Candidates (job seekers) often phone recruiters and say a variety of the wrong things

  • Never ask "If there are any jobs available".
  • Never ask the recruiter if he/she "can get you a job."
  • Never tell the recruiter "I'm looking for work."
  • Never tell the recruiter "I'm unemployed."
  • Avoid pressuring the recruiter to consider you for a specific advertised or web posted position. It's better to be considered for all the positions they're filling.
Your objective is to spark their interest and talk with them - not to get the
answer "no."

Once connected to a recruiter, candidates should introduce themselves with a one sentence résumé of themselves and ask the recruiter for a moment of their time. For instance, "I'm John Smith and I just completed five years as the transportation manager for Kellogg's Cereals - would you have a few minutes to talk with me?"

Some FAQS about Canadian Recruiting Firms

  • 4500+ Canadian recruiting firms were in operation at the end of 2010
  • About 3700 of the most well-known firms are detailed in our publications
  • The great majority of the "unlisted" recruiting firms consist of "homeworker" recruiting firms (caregivers, nannies & domestics) and "artistic" recruiting firms (actors, musicians & models) which we do not publish.
  • About 175 Canadian recruiting firms specialize in placing foreign nationals quickly into Canadian contract (1 year or 2 year) jobs without immigration. These firms placed more than 182,000 temporary contract workers in Canada in 2010.
  • About 400 new firms start each year
  • About 300 existing firms close each year
  • More jobs are filled by recruiting firms every year than any previous year
  • About 3300 firms (that we detail) now have web sites.
  • They are continuously filling every type of position from President through "reefer."
  • Canada's 1800+ executive / professional search recruiters regularly fill management, professional and executive jobs across Canada, in the USA and internationally.
  • Canada's 900+ Information Technology recruiters fill jobs around the world. If you're qualified you can work anywhere you want - if the right recruiters know about you!
  • Most Canadian Recruiting firms have never run an ad advertising a position in the newspaper or on the net! It's their job to find the right candidates to fill corporate positions quickly and discretely.
  • Recruiters almost always fill job requisitions using their own network - including job seekers who contact them and are on file.
  • When you look at jobs available on the net in “newsgroups” or on individual recruiting company sites you're actually only seeing what jobs are left - in most cases they are hard to fill Information Technology specialized positions 
  • Most executive and management recruiters are not listed in the telephone Yellow Pages. For instance the Canadian edition of The Directory of Recruiters provides full details on 900+ executive / management recruiters. The Toronto Yellow Pages list only about 350 executive search firms!
Do you have a résumé that the recruiting company will use? Will they send your résumé to their clients?

We've seen a lot of really poor executive / management résumés here! 

In Canada and the USA no one (reading your résumé) really cares where you worked and your job description - (yawn) - so what!

If you had a bonus system where you worked your bonus was paid based upon your accomplishments - not your job description!

The person reading your resume that will make the final decision to hire you wants to know what you "accomplished" on the jobs detailed on your résumé. 
Accomplishments are often known as "objectives" on the job and to your previous manager.

Does your resume detail . . . 

  • What time did you save? 
  • What expenses did you reduce? 
  • What department efficiencies did you introduce? 
  • What profit did you increase? 
  • What intervals did you shorten? 
  • How was the job improved by you? 
  • And were your accomplishments measureable? 
Without accomplishments your résumé is just about worthless beside another résumé with them. If you don't have them on your résumé don't expect your résumé to be sent out to the recruiter's clients.

Although somewhat dated, this link will provide you with an example of résumé with an executive's accomplishments (bullets on the résumé).

Combining job search methods

Be successful in your job search - don't depend on a single technique to find your next perfect position. Three main methods of obtaining work exist. Try to use a combination of them all - it will shorten your search significantly.

Across the board networking fills more jobs than any other method. In a survey conducted by the US News & World Reports of 500 various sized firms they revealed that networking filled about 60% of all jobs in the firms. Unfortunately many people cannot do the "networking thing" and must depend upon other methods to obtain a job.

Advertised jobs:
Most people use this method. However only about 15-20% of new, available jobs are advertised in the paper. Only about 1% of Canadian jobs are posted on the net - and they're almost always hard-to-fill Information Technology jobs.

Recruiters normally fill between 20 to 40% of most types of positions. At the highest level (CEO, President, VP and director level) the percentage is usually higher than 40%. At the lowest level of unskilled jobs recruiters normally fill a smaller percentage than 20%. Unfortunately most job seekers either contact the wrong (industry/position speciality) recruiters, contact the right recruiters the wrong way (poor introductions) or don't contact enough of the right ones.

About the Directory of Recruiter Books & Professional CD

Using them, you can instantly find all the recruiting firms that match your job 
description exactly. When you contact them you'll be talking with receptive people that are continually filling jobs just like your target job - they want to know about you!

The books identify industry specialities, position specialities and salary level
specialities for every listed recruiting firm. No matter what industry you are from or what position you seek the books will enable you to locate and contact at all the right recruiting firms that match you exactly. Some industry/position combinations will identify one hundred or more recruiting firms. Don't forget the books will also eliminate your calls to thousands of recruiters that you should not be contacting. For more detail see the directory "Sample Recruiter Listings" page

In addition to the actual recruiter directory chapters the Directory of Recruiters books provide more than 30,000 words of text, written by a recruiter to ensure your job search through recruiters is successful. Once you read the text you'll know who (the name of the person) to phone, what they want to hear from you on the telephone, what they want to see on your résumé, how they select candidates (to send out to their corporate clients) and how to get your next job through them. For more detail see the Directory "Table of Contents" page.

Remember the Directory of Recruiters books are the only job search guides that tell you who to call to get your next job.

Most recent page review : 2010 11 14