6 Signs it’s Time to Break Up With Your Recruiter

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Good recruiters know how to have a conversation with candidates. They know how to develop a personal relationship and learn who candidates are as people. A good recruiter actively listens while the candidate talks, and they ask targeted questions to get to the heart of what each wants, needs, and desires in their next role. They invest in the candidate—not the req. A good recruiter is on your side.

Haven’t had this experience? Not surprised.

The recruiting industry gets a bad rep, and it’s known for being impersonal and transactional. The truth is, there are tons of wonderful recruiters out there who go out and kill it every day. But it’s those rotten ones who spoil the reputation of the masses.

Here are 6 signs of a lousy recruiter and how to stick with the golden ones.

1. If the recruiter tries to bully private salary information out of you

A solid recruiter will never ask you for your current salary; she’ll ask you for your target salary. Ideally, when we switch jobs, a slight increase in pay is a good deal, right? Your financials should be of no concern to the recruiter seeing that it doesn’t support the underlying question of, “Are you interested in the position?”

2. If the recruiter doesn’t communicate with you after the screening phase

Whether it’s to tell you that you didn’t make the cut or that she plans to move you forward, communication is an absolute must. Once she passes on the information to the client or hiring manager, there’s only so much she can do. Good communication is totally within reach, though. A good recruiter will be in touch at least once a week if the candidate is still in the running.

3. If the recruiter speaks more than the candidate

We all like to hear ourselves talk, but there are good times and bad times to talk. In the instance of recruiting, bad recruiters will speak more than the candidate. The purpose of the candidate and recruiter interaction is to learn about the candidate. What good will a self-centered conversation about the recruiter do for the candidate? While it's necessary for recruiters to build rapport and trust by sharing some tidbits about themselves, that shouldn't be the focal point.

4. If the recruiter asks for references during the first conversation

Pro tip: never include references on your resume. Don't give anyone the opportunity to share personal information about you without consenting to it. In fact, it's technically illegal for a third party to conduct a pre-employment reference without your written consent. After all, it's a pre-employment check. If this is only your first conversation with a recruiter, there's hardly any concrete indicators that employment is in the cards yet.

5. If the recruiter doesn’t express an interest in you

Bad recruiters will contact folks solely because of some keywords. There's more to a qualified candidate besides experience and skills, and it's the good recruiters who seek out the details about what makes you, you.

6. If the recruiter asks inappropriate or unrelated questions

A good recruiter will ask you appropriate questions that actually make sense given the role. Curveball questions have their exceptions, but overall, sucker punches aren't cool. One time a recruiter asked, "Can you tell me about a time you quit something?” “Do you mean a job or…?” “Anything. A job, a sport, whatever. Just a time you quit” (verbatim). Mind you; there was no precursor to this question and no follow-up. We just went right to the next question like a good ol’ factory line.

I’m also someone who values context. If the question were along the lines of “Have you ever quit a job?” I’d have understood a little more, but it's still inappropriate. If the recruiter was looking for a time I called it quits or marched forward during a stressful project, okay, I get it. But phrase the question better next time.

At the end of the day, a good recruiter will be a strong communicator. The conversation you have with her will flow nicely, and she'll make you feel comfortable. The discussion should end with you feeling like you made a connection; that the person on the other line wasn't in it for herself.
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Sam Sandler
Sam Sandler
Sam is a copywriter and strategist at Qualigence International. She enjoys exercising, eating pizza, and long walks through her Netflix queue.

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