In the business of representing professionals there are Agents and there are recruiters. There is a difference between an agent and recruiter, and before selecting someone to entrust your professional career, you should understand the differences between them.

Talent Agents work on behalf of their clients to promote, find jobs, represent their interests, and will handle the majority of all interactions between their client and their employer. Talent Agents are considered gatekeepers to their client’s career and keep the interests of their client in mind while making any deal. They have the ability to shape and construct their client’s image and are dealmakers that assist their clients by orchestrating deals within their industry.

Recruiters are match makers who put talented individuals into an employer’s open job. They make the matches to the employer’s job and they work on behalf of the paying organization. Their main goal is to place a talented person in the position so they earn the fee from the client. Speaking from experience having been a recruiter for many years in the early part of my career, I can tell you that the main goal of any recruiter is to earn the fee and make themselves a commission, regardless of who they place in the client organization. There is very little loyalty to any given candidate unless the recruiter believes they can place you and earn a fee.

Most people associate talent agents with professional athletes or celebrities in the entertainment industry, but here are plenty of highly talented people in Financial Services, so why are there more recruiters than agents? I firmly believe that there should be more agents than recruiters for the professionals in financial services and professionals in the industry would be better off.

Here are some questions to determine if you are speaking with an agent or a recruiter:

  1. Do they spend time getting to know you, your background and your career aspirations?
  2. Have they ever asked about your personal, family or financial dynamics?
  3. Do they ask about your motivations to make a move in your career?
  4. Have they explained what steps you should make to reach your goals?
  5. Do they spend time with you to explain where they may find the right type of positions for you and what it may take in order for you to receive a positive outcome?
  6. Have they called multiple times to ask you questions about you, or a position to gauge the match to an organization?
  7. Do they have your best interests in mind?

The answer to all of these questions is: They Should!

Having a relationship with the “right” agent can pay huge dividends and I highly advise you to work with someone who has your best interests, your personal circumstances and your long and short term goals in mind.