CAREER GUIDE Friday, March 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India
How to find jobs through recruitment firms
The job-search process is a game of numbers. The more opportunities you investigate, the greater your chances of success. Your best bet would be to take advantage of all possible avenues, including posting your resume on Internet jobsites. If you use only one method, you are likely to miss out on a lot of opportunities.



How to find jobs through recruitment firms

The job-search process is a game of numbers. The more opportunities you investigate, the greater your chances of success.

Your best bet would be to take advantage of all possible avenues, including posting your resume on Internet jobsites. If you use only one method, you are likely to miss out on a lot of opportunities.

Let us take a look at one of the most prevalent resources in this field, namely recruitment firm.

Functioning as intermediaries between applicants and employers, professional recruiting firms have established themselves as an important resource for job-changers. However, the degree of professionalism and competence among recruiting firms varies a great deal. Thus it pays to know how different types of recruiting firms operate, and how to find one that is right for you.

While getting in touch with recruiting firms is a viable part of the job search strategy, do not rely on them as your primary source for job leads - particularly if you are a fresher. It is estimated that recruitment firms fill no more than 20 per cent of the available jobs. So do supplement the use of recruiting firms with other sources, such as newspaper ads, jobsites on the Internet and personal networking.

Although the line is beginning to blur, recruiting firms typically fall into two groups: retainer and contingency. In both types of firms, the employer pays the fee. However, the method by which they are paid is quite different. This difference is important since it affects your relationship with the firm.

Contingency firms generally handle searches for junior and mid-level executives. They compete with other firms to fill a job and get paid only if their candidate is hired. This may prompt them to refer a large number of candidates in the hope that at least one makes the grade. However, companies tend to register their requirement with many contingency firms since they are only obligated to pay a fee to the firm whose candidate they hire. Thus, there is often a scramble among contingency firms to present as many qualified candidates as they can, as quickly as possible. While this is fine for the unemployed, it can also be a potential hazard. Since your resume is being "widely" circulated, it could well land up on your present employer’s desk!

Many job-seekers complain that contingency recruiters are impersonal and abrupt. You may feel that you are simply a product to be bought and sold. While this varies among agencies, remember that their fee is paid by the employer. While the recruiting firm may claim to represent the employer and the job-hunter equally, when push comes to shove, their loyalty will lie with the party that pays the bills and gives them repeat business, which in most cases is the employer, not you. This means that they may even try to persuade you into taking up a job that does not quite fit you, so that they can get the employer’s fee and business. Although you should expect the recruiter to be polite, he or she is not in the business of providing career advice.

Sometimes though, in a tight job market, it is the job-hunter who pays. Be sure to ask if that is the case. Naturally, you will want agencies that would not charge you -unless you are terribly desperate. Phony racketeers masquerading as legitimate placement firms are forever on the prowl to scam the unwary. We have all heard countless horror stories of agents virtually throwing hapless immigrants to the sharks after cadging lakhs of rupees for fake work permits. Never pay a "registration fee" or other fee" if you can help it, as a rule.

Also, do not permit your resume to be circulated to employers without your permission, if you are holding a post in a senior position. Overexposing your resume can have serious consequences. It can end up being very embarrassing if your resume lands up on your employer’s desk! .

Retainer or executive search firms are paid their fee regardless of whether they fill the job. The retained recruiters liken themselves to other professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, who are paid even if their client is found guilty or the patient does not recover. Their incentive is that if they do not fill the position, it is unlikely that the client will use them again. Typically, retainer firms work on positions in the middle-to-top management category, rarely with freshers. While contingency firms on the other hand, work on a wide gamut of assignments ranging from trainees to middle-management level.

The mission given to these firms is to hire from other firms or competitors, professionals and promising executives, salespersons, managers, etc who are already employed. You will notice it says nothing about wanting to hire the unemployed. They are not, therefore, helpful to most first-time job-hunters. However, if you research the firms carefully, and find one that deals with your field or specialty, it is worth taking a chance and sending them your resume.

If such a ‘head-hunter’ calls you at work, arrange an appointment to call back on your own time. Do not say that you are not interested right away. It always helps to talk, even if you are not contemplating a move at that point. You could even suggest other candidates instead. This will keep your lines open for the future.

The key to successfully managing the recruiting firm relationship is finding the right firm and the right recruiter for you. Finding the firms that specialise in your field is relatively easy. Identifying the right recruiter can be a little trickier. Generally the retained recruiters are older, more experienced managers, and often were executives in the industry they now serve. Since they work on middle management and senior-level positions, the overwhelming majority is highly professional.

In the contingency ranks, there is a greater disparity in the level of professionalism and experience. Since they work largely on commission, the competition to produce revenues is intense, and turnover is often quite high.

Try to locate a recruiter who has been in the business for at least two-three years and specialises in your industry or your kind of work. You can find them listed in the Yellow Pages of your local telephone directory under such headings as Employment Agencies/Services. If they specialise, their entries or ads will usually indicate what their specialities are.

Take advantage of referrals from friends and business associates. If you identify experienced firms that focus on your field, they will be of valuable assistance in your job search. Good luck!
Pervin Malhotra



What is linguistics? Where is it taught?

What exactly is linguistics? Where is it taught?

Govinder Kumar

A Linguistics is the study of the way in which language works. Linguists study topics such as how children learn language, how languages evolve and change, why people speak differently in different places, social groups, and situations; and how language is involved in race, class and sex prejudice.

Applied linguistics, in particular, is the study of how languages are taught and how linguistic principles are applied to dictionaries and other teaching material.

You could opt for any of the following specialisations:

Phonetics: Study of speech sounds

Phonology: Study of sound systems

Morphology: Study of internal structure of words

Syntax: Study of how words are combined into sentences

Semantics: Study of meaning

Pragmatics: Study of meaning in relation to the way a language is used.

Others: Sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, acquisition, text analysis, applied linguistics, anthropological linguistics, neurolinguistics, ethno linguistics and psycholinguistics.

Courses in linguistics are offered at:

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages (CIEFL), Hyderabad;

Centre for Applied Linguistics & Translation Studies, University of Hyderabad; M.S. University, Baroda; University of Calcutta; University of Mumbai; University of Delhi; University of Mysore; University of Pune; Karnataka University; Nagpur University & Agra University. Eligibility: 10+2 for a Bachelor’s degree in linguistic

Medical Technology

I have just completed my MBBS and would like to pursue a course in medical technology. Does any Institute in India offer such a course?

— Dr Jatin Abbi

A With the recent advances in biomedical instrumentation and genetic engineering, it is but natural that medical practices will undergo a sea change. The future will witness merging of frontier technologies and medicine, giving birth to a new breed of medical professionals.

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur ( offers a Master’s programme in Medical Science & Technology (MMST).

The course imparts engineering skills to medical professionals and trains them for state-of-the-art medical research in the frontier areas of biophysics, biomechanics, biomedical instrumentation & simulation, implant materials and prosthesis, genetic engineering, immonotechnology, bioinformatics, cryobiology, telemedicine, nutritional sc, etc.

This 3-year MMST programme consists of 4 semesters of course work spread over first two years. The third year is totally devoted to project work involving a dissertation.

Eligibility for admission is an MBBS degree (60% agg) with Mathematics at the +2 level. (Those who have passed +2 level Mathematics as additional subject from NOS or state boards are also eligible).

Selection is on the basis of an all-India entrance test based on the MBBS syllabus. The 2-hour objective-type test includes questions to test your general aptitude and basic knowledge of physics).

All candidates admitted to the programme are given an assistantship of Rs.10,000/- p.m. However, you will have to work for 6-8 hours a week in the Institute hospital to be eligible for the assistantship. (Application Deadline for ‘3 is March 10.

Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra offers MSc (Biomedical Instrumentation)

Jayachamarajan College of Engineering, Mysore offers MTech (Biomedical Instrumentation).

Coimbatore Institute of Technology, (Bharathiar University) offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Instrumentation Technology.

Domicile Quota

Is there a domicile quota in Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi?

— Gagandeep Sahota

A Unlike Delhi University which is a Central University, it has no domicile quota since, 85% seats in GGSIPU are reserved for Delhi students of which 15% are for SC, 7.5% for ST, 3% for children of defence personnel, and 1% for Kashmiri migrants. The remaining 15% seats are reserved for candidates from outside Delhi.

Software Engineering

I will be giving my CBSE board exams (PCM) I want to pursue a career in software engineering. Please advise.

— Seema Chopra

A Software engineers — programmers and systems analysts who are engaged in producing sophisticated programmes, application packages, languages and operating systems or those working in the area of systems analysis and design — usually hold degrees in computer science, computer engineering or mathematics and have strong programming backgrounds. However, graduation in any stream followed by an MCA from a good university is considered equally desirable.

The third option is to do a course in programming from a recognised institution along with your graduation so that you are ready for an entry-level job where you can gain valuable hands-on experience.

But even before you make a choice, you need to ask yourself whether you are really interested in programming. Apart from having a logical frame of mind, you should be willing to work with computers for 12-15 hours a day.


I am a degree holder in electronics and communications. From where can I do a course in aviation or medico electronics?

— Sushma Watts

A You could look at the following:

Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai 600044 (affiliated to Anna University) offers ME (Avionics FT (3 sem) & PT (5 sem) and ME (Medical Electronics. Website:

Coimbatore Institute of Technology, Coimbatore 641014 (affiliated to Bharathiar University) offers a postgraduate diploma in Medical Instrumentation Technology. Eligibility is BSc/MBBS/BE. Website:

— Pervin Malhotra,
Director, CARING

Please send in your query preferably on a postcard along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to:
Editor, Query Hotline, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at