If you want to find a job in public health, consider working with a recruiter. Recruiters, who often work for the organization conducting a search or a recruiting agency hired by that organization, can bring specialized knowledge and connections to your job hunt. That said, it's best to understand how recruiters work before partnering with them.

Recruiters, who often work for the organization conducting a search or a recruiting agency hired by that organization, can bring specialized knowledge and connections to your job hunt.

Recruiters use their networks and professional networking sites to identify possible candidates for a position. Then, they reach out to those candidates to determine their interest and qualifications before conducting, or helping to arrange, interviews for the job. Internal recruiters, or those working within an organization's human resources department, may shepherd you through the entirety of the interview process. External recruiters, or those working for a recruiting agency, may only facilitate an interview and leave the selection to the organization itself.

Recruiters benefit from helping you find a job, as they typically receive payment from the hiring organization once it fills an open position. This can sometimes create a conflict of interest when it comes to negotiating salary or other terms, so remember to advocate for yourself when finding a job through a recruiter.

Finding Public Health Recruiters

Generally, recruiters contact you about open positions. Rather than actively reaching out to them, focus on advertising yourself by creating and sharing a well-polished resume on sites like LinkedIn, Monster, or Indeed.

Recruiters search these sites using keywords related to the open position. For example, a recruiter working in public health may look for resumes including job titles like "health education specialist" or "epidemiologist." They may further refine their pool of candidates by looking for individuals with relevant advanced degrees or certifications, like the certified in public health credential. List your qualifications online to ensure you attract attention from recruiters.

Almost exclusively, hiring organizations pay for the services of an outside recruiting agency, usually upon hire or after the successful completion of a trial employment period.

No reputable recruiter charges candidates a fee for his or her service in advance. Almost exclusively, hiring organizations pay for the services of an outside recruiting agency, usually upon hire or after the successful completion of a trial employment period. Do not work with recruiters who ask for money up front. You can also search online for reviews of recruiters and recruiting agencies, where many share success rates and testimonials. You can also ask friends, colleagues, or members of public health professional associations for their opinion of a particular recruiter.

During an initial conversation with a recruiter, ask questions to determine if a partnership would benefit you. For example, how long has he worked in the field of recruitment? What sort of professional connections does she have that you do not? Will he work around your schedule and through your preferred method of contact?

Initial Interview with a Public Health Recruiter

After you decide you want to work with a recruiter, the two of you will likely talk at length about your professional background and goals. This conversation may take place on the phone or in person, depending on your preference and location.

Before this discussion, think carefully about your career path, both in the immediate and long term. For example, what kind of salary do you want or need to earn? Do you require certain benefits? Do you want to stay in your next role for the foreseeable future, or would you prefer a clearly outlined path of advancement through the organization? Knowing these things can help a recruiter find jobs that fit your expectations.

Operate under the assumption that your recruiter passes along all information about you to the hiring organization. As such, you should not tell him or her you have no other job prospects or that your financial situation demands that you find a new job immediately. This information could hurt your ability to negotiate a higher salary or receive other benefits from your future employer.

Many recruiters work in the public health space, so you can always decline to work with an individual or agency if you feel that your working styles or goals do not align.

The Job Interviewing Process

If you work with an internal recruiter, she may play a large role in the interview process. For example, she may arrange interviews with supervisors and potential colleagues, sit in on and coordinate interviews, and field questions and follow up with references afterward. She may even work with the relevant manager to decide whom to hire.

External recruiters may play a similar role in coordinating or supporting the interview process. They may even make recommendations to manager or search committees about possible hires. But representatives from the hiring organization almost always make final decisions.

Regardless of the type of recruiter with whom you work, thank him or her for assisting you. Even if you do not receive an offer, leaving a good impression can help position you for future opportunities.

Advantages of Working with a Recruiter

You may find working with a recruiter to be extraordinarily helpful. Recruiters, especially in a highly technical field like public health, often have a better understand of the hiring needs of organizations than individual candidates. Some may even offer advice on how to frame your qualifications to fit an organization's expectations or how to align yourself more closely with the kind of candidates they like to hire.

Recruiters, especially in a highly technical field like public health, often have a better understand of the hiring needs of organizations than individual candidates.

And recruiters, by virtue of working with many different organizations, usually have more diverse and larger professional networks than candidates. By establishing a good working relationship with a recruiter, you can easily stay abreast of many more job opportunities than you could track on your own. As well, if you currently have a full-time job, you may not have the time to research openings as they become available.

Finally, recruiters often receive compensation as a percentage of the new hire's salary. This creates an incentive to help you negotiate for a higher wage. In some cases, recruiters only receive their commission once a new hire completes a trial employment period. Here again, this creates an incentive for a recruiter to match you with jobs that represent a good fit for both you and the employer.

Potential Disadvantages of Working with a Recruiter

Partnering with a recruiter may have some disadvantages. For example, the commission-based compensation structure for recruiters may encourage them to find you a high-paying job, but it may also lead them to try to rush you into an employment decision. If you find yourself facing the choice of accepting a salary lower than you hoped to receive or not taking a job at all, a recruiter may encourage you to accept the position even if you feel you should not.

In addition, recruiters typically must represent the interests of the organizational clients who pay them over your own. This can lead to recruiters keeping information from you that may dissuade you from taking a job. For example, a company may instruct a recruiter not to inform candidates of pending changes in management as that could hurt its ability to bring in a new employee. You should not trust a recruiter to give you all of the information you need to make a decision. Instead, take it upon yourself to ask the organization questions about the work environment, the long-term future of the role, and other important details.

  • Don't Take a Shotgun Approach: If you plan to seek out a recruiter, find one who works in your industry and with clients similar to you. If a recruiter reaches out to you, think carefully about the fit before agreeing to work together.
  • Dress Professionally: Whether you meet with a recruiter or a representative of the hiring organization, dress in business attire. The professionalism of your outfit contributes a great deal to the impression you make.
  • Send Thank-You Notes: Follow up every meeting and interview with a thank-you note. For introductory phone calls, send a quick email. For formal interviews, send a handwritten note.
  • Develop a Rapport: A recruiter works best when he understands what you have to offer and what you want. Taking the time to develop a relationship with a recruiter can pay off handsomely.

How Many Times Do You Meet with a Recruiter, on Average?

It varies depending on individual circumstances, but you can expect to meet with a recruiter two or three times. That is usually enough time and information to find at least one job opportunity for you.

What Kind of Qualifications Do Recruiters Typically Have?

Most recruiters have at least a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field. They also typically have significant work experience in personnel management.

Can You Work with Multiple Recruiters at the Same Time?

Yes, you can work with multiple recruiters, and doing so, often benefits you. Just tell each of your recruiters that you plan to do so.

What Are the Signs of a Good Recruiter?

Good recruiters take the time to learn about you. They use this information to find opportunities that match your experience and interests, and they respect your decisions.

What Are the Signs of a Substandard Recruiter?

Bad recruiters try to match you with a position without taking into account your unique qualifications or desired career path. They may try to rush you into an employment decision to earn his commission.