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Search Firms

Please refer to the Student Guide below for more information on working with employment firms and third party recruiters. The Frank L. Ciminelli Family does not endorse or recommend

A Student's Guide to Interviewing With Third-Party Recruiters / Employment Agencies

As you conduct your job search you will find that some employers hire third-party organizations to assist them in identifying and hiring college students. An employer can hire a third-party organization to do on-campus recruiting, represent the company at a job fair, screen job candidates who apply through an Internet web site, or other hiring activities. Many college career centers allow third-party recruiters to work with students through their offices. Some have special policies that apply to how, when, and where third-party recruiters can work with students.

The Frank L. Ciminelli Family Career Resource Center at the University at Buffalo School of Management recommends that you be aware of issues that are pertinent to working with these organizations. Typically, we allow third-party recruiters to post positions on our site if they disclose to the career center staff the organization(s) for which they are conducting searches. We also allow them to participate in our recruiting events. In some cases, the only way into a particular company is through their recruiting agency and we would not want our students to miss out on those opportunities.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) defines third-party recruiters as "agencies, organizations, or individuals recruiting candidates for temporary, part-time, or full-time employment opportunities other than for their own needs." Categories of third-party recruiters include:

Questions to Ask

A third-party recruiter may be helpful to you in your job search, but be a wise consumer. Read all materials carefully. Ask questions. Ask your career services office staff for information. Ask a lawyer to read any contracts you are asked to sign. Here are some general questions you may want to ask:

  1. How many job openings are there for someone in my field? If you have the opportunity, inquire about the positions being filled or the number of openings related to your field. These are important questions because, in some instances, recruiters may not really have the type or number of openings they advertise. They may be more interested in adding your name to their candidate pool as a means of attracting more employers or clients to their services. Or they may be collecting résumés from students for potential job opportunities. The CRC does not allow third-party recruiters to interview students unless they are trying to fill actual job openings.
  2. How is this information being used? A third-party recruiter is allowed legally to share your résumé with the contract employer for positions that you are actually seeking. The recruiter must tell you, in clear terms, that your materials and information will not be shared outside the organization or used for any purpose other than with the company they represent at the time they interview you. The third-party recruiter cannot sell your information to anyone else. You may choose to authorize the recruiter to share your data elsewhere, but your authorization should be given to the recruiter in writing.
  3. Are candidates treated equally and fairly? If you are qualified for the job opportunity, the third-party recruiter must pass your information to employers without regard to your race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
  4. Who pays the fee? Before you agree to anything or sign a contract, ask the recruiter who will pay the fee.

Therefore, we recommend using third-party recruiters, but ask questions, and remember that the ownership for your job search is still very much in YOUR hands. Use the services of the agencies in addition to your other job search methods; this is not meant to replace your other efforts.

Source: Adapted from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 1999

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Frank L. Ciminelli Family
Career Resource Center
School of Management
University at Buffalo
308 Alfiero Center
Buffalo, NY 14260-4010

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