In the past, recruiters have gotten a bad rap. While the industry has evolved, it’s just like any other. You have people who are great at what they do and others who just don’t have the proper bedside manner. But while doctors have malpractice insurance to cover them from potential grievances brought on by unsatisfied patients, job seekers have no such recourse against recruiters. 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 and actually advocate on my behalf should the employer have questions or concerns?” You want your recruiter to understand what you’re looking for. This includes what motivates you and will truly make you satisfied in your next role. 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…and then get bullied into going on the interview.
Sometimes for competitive reasons and personal gain (though the practice is severely discouraged), 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 a selfish one. 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 documentation and organization, neither of which is in your best interest.
5. They’re not responsive.
Some candidates are need a little more hand holding than others and that’s OK. But 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 preps, debrief after your interviews and acknowledge your job search updates. But, if you feel your recruiter isn’t responsive at all, it’s time to end the relationship.