There's a lot of buzz around the word “recruiter.” When I started heavily job searching after college I heard a lot of conflicting information. From older generations (specifically my parents), I would hear things like “Recruiters! All they do is steal your money! Stay away from them.” But I would also hear things like “Recruiters are so helpful and effective”. Confusing, right?
As I continued my search I realized that there was a disconnect as to what a recruiter is referred to now a days, since it can encompass several things. My parents and other people may know recruiters as head hunters, people who in a sense do “take” your money. They really can just take a portion of your salary, charge you, or the company you end up working for fees for finding and placing you. People with these types of jobs, help you find a certain type of job and place you. You talk with them for a time about what you’re looking for and they help coach you, increasing your chances of getting hired. Your fee could happen on a monthly basis, or right up front. It is very important to ask what the terms are when talking to a recruiter. They may also just charge the company you get hired to and you'll never even know about it.
Sometimes head hunter's work for the company you are looking in to. The company pays a fee and uses these professionals to basically do the background work for them and increase their chances of getting great candidates.
Recruiters could also be someone who is an employee solely for a specific company. This used to just be HR (Human Resources) who would conduct interviews and help a candidate along the process, by being the point of contact and scheduling interviews. I believe that hiring employees altogether is a job in itself and that's why it has branched to its own job. So remember that a recruiter could be many things.
All of these different recruiters are neither good nor bad. It just depends on what you are looking for. For example, a recruiting company could help you if you are looking to get into a larger corporation, to be placed fast, or if you don’t mind if they take some money. Recruiter’s through the HR of a company is a great place to reach out and get an “in” to a specific company. It’s important to know who the person works for, if they don't work for the specific company you applied for there could be a fee!