While the recruiting industry has evolved, recruiter stereotypes still exist. They are based on exaggerated truths perpetuated by a small number of recruiters, but don't let a few bad apples distort your view of the whole profession. The best protection against working with a bad recruiter is being able to identify them and knowing when to move on.
You know you’re working with a bad recruiter if:
1. They talk more than they listen.
A recruiter’s job is to get to know you. The only way they can do that is by listening to you tell your story. If they seem more interested in telling you how the relationship works and only ask basic things about your job search like salary expectations and desired title, don’t waste your time.
When you leave your meeting, ask yourself: “Does this recruiter know enough about me to retell my career story to an employer? Would they be able to advocate on my behalf if the employer has questions or concerns?” You want your recruiter to understand what you’re looking for. If they don’t, there’s no way they can adequately represent you or your interests.
2. They keep calling you for jobs you don’t want.
It’s one thing if you told the recruiter to send anything and everything your way. But assuming that you, like most job seekers, have very specific ideas about what direction you want your career to go in, this should be a red flag. If they keep calling you for jobs you have no interest in, take it as a sign that they really don’t know you or care to. Move on to another recruiter who will respect what you’re looking for.
3. You get submitted to jobs without your consent, then are bullied into going to the interview.
Sometimes, for competitive reasons and personal gain, recruiters will submit profiles to open roles without consent from the job seeker. Should the client be interested, candidates feel pressured to interview for the job, regardless if they want it or not.
It’s important to distinguish a recruiter who knows you from one who is selfish. A recruiter may urge you to consider a role that you’re not completely sold on simply because they know both you and the client and firmly believe it’s a good match. In the latter situation, the recruiter is looking out for you, not themselves. Be sure to know the difference.
4. They keep calling to ask you the same questions.
Recruiters meet so many people that it can be hard to keep them straight. A certain amount of information may naturally fall through the cracks. However, repeatedly asking for the same information either indicates a lack of interest or lack of good organization, neither of which helps you find a new role.
5. They’re not responsive.
Recruiters are extremely busy juggling new candidate interviews, prepping candidates for job interviews, meeting with clients and handling all the administrative tasks that go along with it. That leaves little time for continued chit-chat on the phone. Of course, your recruiter should be available to talk about interview prep, post-interview debriefs and your job search updates. But, if you feel your recruiter isn’t responsive at all, it’s time to end the relationship.
Michele Mavi has nearly 15 years of experience as a recruiter, interview coach, and resume writer. She is Atrium Staffing’s resident career expert, as well as director of internal recruiting and content development. She also founded Angel Films, a division of Atrium Staffing focused on the creation of recruiting and training videos.