Recruiting Blog

11 Signs To Spot A Bad Recruiter

Happy 2016! With the new year upon us and many companies hiring again, a prudent job seeker’s New Year’s resolutions should include preparing for a job change. One avenue that can assist you is having a professional, executive recruiter in your corner. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad recruiters.

Eleven Signs Can Help You Spot A Bad Recruiter

11 Signs Of A Bad Recruiter

30 Years Of Technical Recruiting Experience Has Provided 11 Recruiter Red Flags

Though most of my 30 years staffing experience has focused upon technical recruiting and engineering recruiting, there are 11 universal signs that can help you uncover a bad recruiter. These signals transcend my personal focus on technical recruitment and engineering recruitment and apply to any staffing situation. Especially during your first call with a recruiter, here are eleven red flags to watch for:

1.    The recruiter calling you about a position that has nothing to do with your career path just because they spotted a few keywords in your resume. One technology candidate of mine shared, “one engineering recruitment firm repeatedly called and e-mailed me about jobs for different software gigs that have zero connection to my own experience.”

2.   The recruiter asking you questions that you clearly and definitively answered in your resume. For example, your resume clearly stating where you went to school, but the recruiter (not bothering to look) asking what school you attended?

3.   The recruiter asking you unrelated questions. For example, if you are an engineering candidate and the job vacancies are for either automation, design, process, manufacturing, or industrial engineering related, the recruiter asking you about your typing skills. This has nothing to do with the talent requirement and is a sign of a poor recruiter.

4.   Being a poor listener. Unfortunately, many recruiters just like to hear themselves talk. This is a sign of a poor recruiter. Instead, I have instructed all of my engineering recruiters and technical recruiters to listen carefully to a job candidate’s answers. These responses dictate whether this candidate will fit a given job vacancy or not. This skill also better meets your needs.

5.   The recruiter talking to you in a very unprofessional way. This can include poor grammar, a lot of slangs or even profanity. These are all signs of an incompetent recruiter.

6.   The recruiter asking for references early in your conversation. (Caveat: Also, do not put your references on your resume). This faux pas is not only improper, but also, if they check your references without your written approval, can be considered illegal.

7.   Lack of earnestness. The recruiter interviewing you for a position that they have already decided not to present you for. This is usually done to fill interview quotas at their staffing agency.

8.   Unwillingness to communicate with you. This can take the form of dismissiveness. For example, you are well qualified for a key technical position, but they simply don’t even bother to try and arrange your interview. Additionally, if you’ve made it past the initial screening phase, but the recruiter is not in regular contact with you. As a rule of thumb, our technical recruiters and engineering recruiters usually contact our candidates at least weekly while they are still under consideration for the hiring process.

9.   The recruiter not working in mutual interest. This one is subtler and a little difficult to pick-up on, but the recruiter should be working to help both you and the company. If they don’t seem like they are, they probably aren’t.

10.  The recruiter not expressing an interest in your motivations, personal situation or what you are genuinely looking for in your new role.

11.  The recruiter not being current on recruiting trends. For example, I usually produce data on engineering recruiting or technical recruiting trends on my blog on a weekly basis.

As a result, you want to find someone who is honest, dependable, well connected, and communicative. Learn what their experiences are and which client companies they are going to recommend you for! Additionally, ask your friends and colleagues who have used recruiters in the past. These will all help you to avoid a bad recruiter who will be a waste of your time.

What are your thoughts?


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