Well coming from a recruiter, of course I have to say yes, BUT let me qualify the answer... Using a recruiter definitely has a lot of advantages, but it might not always be the most advisable approach to presenting yourself to a company. So first, let me talk a little about how an experienced recruiter works, and, more important, how to pick the right one. And then I will go into more depth on the aforementioned.
Most of you have been called by one of us, several of you more than once. Many of you understand the fundamental role we play, and many consider our calls a nuisance. It is important to understand that making calls is how we find good people with the right skill sets; talent that is ready, willing or wanting to at least consider changing careers. Companies contract us to help them staff up critical needs positions with the "most right" people. They count on our expertise to help them find the best most appropriate candidates.
For companies, there is a definite value-add to using a QUALIFIED experienced recruiter. We help them cut through the gazillion resumes, most of which have absolutely no or little value to their company. They know that we pre-screen the candidate, know their skill-sets, wants, needs, and salary requirements. The companies that I represent know, that when I send in a resume, it will be at the very least worthy of the utmost consideration. They know that a good recruiter that is in their space KNOWS what they need, and only sends real close fits. In turn our resumes are almost always more highly regarded, because they will rarely waist their time, and more so, fit the bill of what they need. In addition, a good recruiter knows the various companies space, and knows when and where to present a candidate, even when there are no openings. ESPECIALLY THOSE CANDIDATES THAT CAN MAKE A MAJOR IMPACT!
So what should you look for when deciding on which one of us to use?
The answer is Simple! You use someone that knows and understands your specific space, nothing is more important! If you are looking for Design, work with someone that understands either the semiconductor or fables market. If you are a Tools Developer or Supporter, make sure that you talk to someone who knows EDA tool development, and I mean front to back. Use a recruiter that has connections with companies in your specific area. Ask specific questions like...What companies do you work with that can use people that develop or support (for example) Synthesis, (or Simulation, or P&R, or STA, etc). He/she should be able to talk the talk, and name companies in the space. Ask about specific companies and see what he/she knows about them. If a recruiter cannot talk the talk about the companies in YOUR specific space, then they are not the right recruiter to represent you. (Think of it like this...you would not (necessarily) use a recruiter that specialized in accountants to find an aerospace position).
Frequently candidates tell me that they have friends at, or worked with someone at a particular company. Here are a few things to think about before deciding to go to them to present you. Friends, co-workers can be a great way to present yourself, but it can also be a catastrophe. Here are a few things to think about before deciding...
Ø Friends/Co-workers career paths can be threatened by bringing someone in, even though it is someone they know.
Ø Friends/Co-workers may not have as high an opinion about you as you think they do
Ø Friends/Co-workers cannot negotiate comp packages in your best interest, because they may not know the rest of the market, and they might base it on what they are earning
Ø Friends/Co-workers cannot BUG the hiring managers to get them to look at your resume
Ø Friends/Co-workers for the most part will always be more concerned with their situation, and this could affect how they handle getting you in.
Clearly, if any of these do not pertain to you, and you think your relationship is such that it is advisable to go it alone, then you should do so. I always tell my candidates that if they know someone, then let's use that together when presenting the candidate. Then you take full advantage of your relationship without intruding on, or worrying about any of the afore mentioned.
How about submissions direct through a company website...well think about this...
HR gets (like I said earlier) a gazillion resumes. Your resume will be forwarded to (hopefully the right) manager and all you can hope for is a call back. You have no contact, no way to get more information. On the other hand a good recruiter is always calling on, and checking to get feedback on his submissions...and USUALLY he gets it.
So in summation, a recruiter defiantly has its advantages. It gives you a contact to talk to and a vehicle into the industry in which you work. Companies hire them to find people; you go to them to help you find the right opportunity. Make sure you talk to your recruiter before you decide to work with him. Once you make the decision, make sure you become partners in your search. Together you can usually come up with a great opportunity for your future.