This post is a response to Laurie Reuttimann’s post, “Why Job Hunters Should Stop Working with Recruiters.”
I’d like to start off by saying that I work for an IT staffing firm. Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to follow up with the fact that the author is on the money about a lot of her points.
Indeed, many recruiters are not using Bond-like technology to find the exact candidate they’re looking for and use resources like LinkedIn and internal databases as means to identify prospects that might be appropriate for an open position.
And yes, some recruiters are trying to work their way up a corporate ladder and others might have no place qualifying the credentials of candidates in a given field.
But, what is frustrating about this piece is the black and white picture it paints … that because some (or even many) staffing specialists fall short of expectation, that the entire industry is valueless.
As such, while I was reading through the piece, I began to think to myself, ‘Well, surely there are bad apples in any profession.’ There are plenty of doctors in practice who have no bedside manner and will shuffle sick patients out of the office so they can sneak in a few extra invoices that day. By the same token, there are plenty of lawyers who will charge an extra $250 for the additional 10 minutes a client sticks around to talk about fantasy football while some web developers will charge clients for five hours of work when a project only took them one.
Nonetheless, those who are ill, or who need legal counsel or a new website surely wouldn’t try to avoid doctors, lawyers and developers at all costs simply because there are individuals in those industries who might not have their best interests in mind, right? As such, why would job seekers exponentially narrow their search because some recruiters are tactless?
The bottom line here is that while it would be great if every job seeker could contact hiring managers directly, that isn’t always possible, making it a wiser decision to increase the chances of getting a resume in the right hands by using all the resources available. And with that in mind, my advice is to approach staffing specialists with apprehension, have a conversation with them and then make an educated decision as to whether this person could add value to your search.
And in case you’re not sure how to evaluate whether a recruiter’s a dud, here’s some advice for understanding who’s good and who’s not.
Ask the right questions
It is first important to recognise that a major issue is that recruiters sometimes set expectations unrealistically high and can’t deliver on their promises.
But, candidates have to remember that by grilling recruiters with the right questions, they can better determine whether it is worthwhile to get excited about the job opening at hand. In other words, a naïve candidate will hear a recruiter’s pitch about a great new job with a superb work/life balance, immediately assume trust in the recruiter and get their hopes up.
By contrast, the veteran candidate will have a series of questions to ask before assuming that the recruiter’s enthusiasm will actually translate to a placement.
Here’s a checklist of things a good recruiter should be able to answer:
1. What’s your relationship like with the hiring company? How long have you been working together?
2. What is the trajectory of their interview process?
3. Have you ever placed a candidate at this company? How many?
4. What’s the hiring manager’s personality like? Can you provide any personal touch points that would help me develop rapport?
5. Will the interview questions be more technically or behaviorally oriented?
When the recruiter has a solid grasp of these concepts, the candidate can be more confident that the recruiter will leverage his/her experience and client relationships to increase the likelihood of a placement.
When the red flag should go up
Naturally, there will be plenty of recruiters who present job opportunities with unwarranted machismo. Consequently, when a recruiter starts to stutter on the above-mentioned questions, it might be time to move on with your day because that person is likely a novice or a liar. The poor recruiter will also toss up jobs willy nilly without considering whether the candidate would be qualified or even interested in pursuing that opportunity at all.
On the other hand, there will be occasions in which recruiters are working a job with a new client and will thus be unable to effectively answer some of those core questions. The key difference will be that if these professionals are legitimate, they will be honest and forthcoming about their knowledge gaps as it relates to a particular job spec right off the bat rather than trying to promote the idea that a placement is imminent.
In any case, candidates should approach these situations with caution so as not to be let down.
In closing, doesn’t it sound more reasonable to do some research on the different professionals out there before writing off this avenue to employment entirely?
People get jobs in lots of ways, and recruiters happen to be one of them. It just might take some savvy and patience to identify the ones that can really help.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.