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Working With a Public Health Job Recruiter
By Sam MacArthur

A lot of people ask how to get a job in public health. Just like with any career, there are a few common ways to get a job in public health. One way, of course, is to check out job boards, job listing sites, and professional organizations. 

What’s unique about public health careers, though is that many applicants work with a public health recruiter to get a job. Working with a professional in public health recruitment can help you find the best fitting job for your expertise and passions. 

What Does a Public Health Recruiter Do? 

Public health recruitment professionals match public health candidates to public health careers. These public health job recruiters have a lot of expertise and resources. In other words, they have the tools of the trade on their side, so they can open doors that the traditional job search process might not. 

What Does a Public Health Recruitment Agency Do? 

What about public health recruitment agencies? How do they play into this process?

Not all public health job recruiters work for an agency, but many do. An agency is essentially a pool of public health recruiters. Different recruiters in a public health recruitment agency can focus on different organizations and different aspects of the public health career field. 

Now, how does a public health recruitment agency work? It starts with an organization that wants to hire a public health worker. A representative from that organization will contact a public health recruiters’ agency. The representative will tell the agency about the position they need to fill and the types of candidates that they think would work best for that position. 

Then, an individual public health recruiting professional from within the agency is assigned to that organization’s case. From there, this recruiter will do everything that all other public health recruiters do: search for candidates that fit the job requirements. 

What are the Benefits of Working with a Public Health Recruiter? 

As a public health job candidate, you can find a lot of benefits from working with a public health recruiting professional, whether that professional works as an individual or for a public health recruiters agency. 

For one thing, recruiters for public health have plenty of resources and connections at their disposal. These resources and connections can be crucial for someone who’s just beginning their public health job search. As a matter of fact, by working with a public health recruiter, you may open yourself up to job opportunities that you may not have otherwise found, especially in cases when hiring organizations don’t publicly post their job opportunities and go straight to a recruiter instead.  

Next, public health recruiters bring potential for you to make a higher salary in your new job. That’s because recruiters for public health jobs often make a commission after successfully placing a job candidate, and that commission is often based on the amount of money the candidate ends up making. As a result, recruiters have a personal interest in finding high-paying jobs for candidates. 

Finally, working with recruiters or public health recruitment agencies can help you go deeper with the interview process. If you’ve ever left a job interview feeling like you didn’t get to show who you really are, then you might benefit from the public health recruitment process. Your recruiter will have two or three meetings with you to get an idea of who you are and what you bring to the table. Those interviews with your recruiter essentially serve as part of the job interview process, and potential employers rely heavily on the information gained by recruiters. This way, you get a much better chance of showing your future employer of what you can do on the job.  

What’s the Difference between an Internal Recruiter and an External Recruiter? 

As you research public health recruitment and recruitment agencies for public health jobs, you might see the phrases “internal recruiter” and “external recruiter.” What’s the difference? 

External recruiters don’t work directly for the hiring organization. They either work independenly or for one of several recruitment agencies for public health jobs. In other words, they’re hired via contract on a case by case basis. 

Internal recruiters, on the other hand, work directly for the hiring organization and only the hiring organization. While external recruiters can find job candidates for multiple organizations, internal recruiters will only look for candidates for the organization they work for. 

How Can I Get a Public Health Recruiter’s Attention? 

Of course, to be able to work with a public health recruiter, you’ll have to be on that recruiter’s radar in the first place. How do you do that? You can always reach out to a recruiter or agency and let them know that you’re available for work. 

However, most of the time, recruiters are the ones who reach out to job candidates first. If you want to get noticed by a public health recruitment professional, you’ll need to set yourself apart as someone who’s worth reaching out to. 

Start by using professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and other sites where you can post your resume. On these networking sites, be honest about your experience and expertise. If you have plenty of skills in environmental health but few skills in maternal health, for instance, don’t pretend that you have maternal health skills to increase your chances of getting a job. By being honest about your own strengths, you can increase your chances of getting recruited for the most relevant job. 

That said, make sure that you don’t downplay your strengths, either.  Recruiters want to know what you can do for a company, so tell them. 

Next, if you’re ready for something a little more advanced, you can learn some search engine optimization skills. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is how some websites rank at the top of the search engine results pages when you search for specific keywords. The higher the search engine ranking, the better the website’s chances of getting clicks. If you do some keyword research, you can find out which keywords will work best for you when you’re trying to get a recruiter’s attention. Then, you can use those keywords in your online work to rank higher in the search engines. 

Finally, remember that what you do offline matters just as much as what you do online. Remember that public health recruiters have a wide range of resources, and those resources go beyond job boards. For example, some recruiters may be in contact with some of your professors from college, and some may be part of professional public health organizations. You never know who may have public health recruiters in their circle, so work on building a great reputation. If you’re still in college, work hard at your studies and turn in excellent work. If you’re part of a professional organization, participate in networking events and get to know other people within the organization. 

How Do I Know if I Should Work with a Particular Recruiter? 

There are lots of excellent, skilled public health recruiters matching people to jobs. You could find success with any number of these recruiters. How can you tell if a recruiter will make a good fit? 

First, know that you’ll have several meetings with your public health recruiter before you land a job. Pay attention to how you feel during that first meeting. If you and the recruiter don’t exactly “click” with each other, you’re not obligated to keep working with that recruiter. 

Look for a few factors during the first meeting. For example, does the recruiter seem interested in matching you with the right job, or are they rushing you to take just any job? Do they seem knowledgeable, skilled, and passionate about their work? The recruiter will probably ask you a lot of questions during this first meeting, but don’t forget that you can ask them questions, too. For example, you might use any of the following questions as guides during your interview: 

  • How long have they been in the recruiting business? 
  • What is their success rate for placing job candidates? 
  • What do they look for in job candidates? 
  • What is their typical experience like with job candidates?  
  • What is their process for matching candidates with jobs?

You can also look up reviews for different public health recruiters in your area, and you can do your research on any recruiters that contact you.  

Should I Pay to Work with a Recruiter? 

Generally speaking, no. It’s rare for a public health recruiter to collect money from a job candidate. Usually, recruiters get paid a commission by the hiring organization for their work. Recruiters should never ask for money upfront. Legitimate recruiters are only paid upon a successful hire, which is one of the reasons why working with a recruiter can be so advantageous for job seekers. Never give money to a recruiter upfront. 

Can I Work With More than One Recruiter at a Time? 

Yes, you can work with more than one public health recruitment professional at a time. In fact, you may find some advantages in doing so. However, you should tell each recruiter that you’re working with more than one person. Be honest upfront so that you don’t have to deal with the consequences of dishonesty later. 

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