People who specialize in something, deserve a measure of respect - after all, you probably specialize in something yourself. And when it comes to finding an IT job, it's no different - it makes good sense to hire a specialist. Sure you can do it on your own, and you've probably tried, in some fashion or another. But quite often, there's a point where you get stuck, with no phone callbacks, no offers for interviews, and not much prospect for future contacts. An IT staffing firm can broaden that job search and expand the job horizon with options that you may not have previously considered.
The truth is, higher-level positions are not always advertised, and Information Technology is an industry that actually likes to use staffing firms to fill their job or project vacancies. IT staffing firms have long-established contacts throughout the industry, and quite often, with companies that you may not even know about. For all intents, you are a marketable, human resource, and a solid IT recruiter can market your skills and deliver exposure to potential employers, some searching, some not. Speaking of specialties, the IT headhunter does this kind of work as a career, spending longish hours looking for employment opportunities, researching employers, and otherwise matching employees and employers for that win-win outcome.
There is also a certain level of credibility involved here - a good many company managers are actually impressed by potential candidates who are presented to them by professional recruiters. These candidates have been appropriately well prepped and readied, arriving with polished resumes, and having been pre-screened for strengths and attributes that are a good match. For yourself, you will certainly want a recruiter who offers the kind of guidance and counseling that enhances your situation, and will eventually help you when its time to negotiate a compensation package.
A good IT headhunter strives for the perfect fit between you and a prospective employer. Naturally, expertise in your specific industry sector is preferable, as every industry has nuances that have to be understood and appreciated. And besides the industry, it's also important for the recruiter to be familiar with the employer company. How are they doing? How is their future looking? What's trending in that industry? How are your prospects? Bottom line, you want to be placed, but for mass emails and Internet job boards, you don't really need a recruiter. On the other hand, you do need an IT firm that is reputable and respected, and has a substantial, well-managed network of client companies.
Just to reiterate, it's the specialization of an IT staffing firm that you're looking to buy into. They have the experience, the expertise and the tools; they have proven methods and procedures; and they have the best resources, both human and technical. For you, the candidate, a career move is very often a life-changing move, and you don't require a flood of appointments and interviews - you just want important, valuable connections that will satisfy your career goals and your life ambitions.