Unprofessional recruiters are not only frustrating, they can actually damage relationships between employers and job seekers. While many people have horror stories, there are some common behaviors that can help you determine if you’re working with a top-notch recruiter or …. not. The tips below to help define a good third-party (agency) recruiter.
Lack of knowledge about the employer / role / industry
A good recruiter has a real relationship with the employer they represent, along with a good command of the industry and the requirements of the open role. While it’s fairly common to withhold the name of the employer early in the recruitment process, unprofessional recruiters don’t fully understand the role, the challenges/opportunities in the industry, who the competitors are, or what makes the employer stand out. If you’re a job seeker and a recruiter can’t tell you much about the employer – Are they a market leader? Annual revenue? Growing? – this is a strong sign that you’ve stumbled upon a subpar recruiter. On the employer side, the recruiter should be asking a lot of questions to ensure they are ready to recruit on-target candidates. They should also be able to advise you on the available market, whether your salary range is competitive, etc.
A hard-sell approach early in the process
I have read literally dozens of stories about pushy recruiters who immediately jump into “hard-sell” mode before they even learn anything about the candidate or their career. This is really off-putting to job seekers, especially when they can’t get a word in edgewise. Professional recruiters listen more than they talk and seek to understand a person’s current employment situation, plans, and goals before trying to sell their own opportunity.
Not doing their homework
Candidates are insulted by unprofessional recruiters who present jobs that are totally unsuited to the candidate’s trajectory – no marketing professionals want to be pestered by a recruiter pushing a LAN administrator role. At the very minimum, a recruiter should know that the person they are contacting has similar background/experience to what the client needs. No one wants to have their email flamed with jobs in an unrelated field, for which they are way over- or underqualified. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.
Ghosting / Lack of feedback
No one enjoys difficult conversations. But good recruiters don’t leave job seekers wondering what happened after an interview or if they’ll even *get* an interview. Feedback is important, even if it’s not what the candidate wants to hear. Professional recruiters understand they are working with real people, with real needs and emotions, and treat them accordingly. Candidates who have been interviewed must be given the courtesy of feedback about the interview and the client’s hiring decision. Anything less is unprofessional.
There are likely other behaviors that separate good recruiters from unprofessional recruiters, but these are some of the most common. If you’re experiencing this, step back and look for a different recruiter. There are many great recruiters providing a valuable service to clients and candidates alike.