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Marble Surface

An Easy Checklist To Qualify Recruiters

What you can ask recruiters to evaluate whether you want to work with them

Here are some questions you can ask recruiters to see if you want to work with them:


How did you find me?


This gives you some insight into how the recruiter operates. Did they find your profile on LinkedIn? Twitter? Corporate directory/website? Did they find your contact info already in their database? Did you apply to one of their job postings? 


Are you contacting me about a particular job or just general interest?


This question helps determine if the recruiter is more opportunity-based or network-based. It helps focus the endpoint/goals of this specific candidate/recruiter interaction. I describe the difference as either a proactive recruiter or a reactive recruiter. If there is a particular opportunity, when you reply or hang up the phone, you may never hear from the recruiter again. If the role they contacted you for isn't a fit (if the client declines, they may move on.). At that point, your information is in a database, and the next time an opportunity pops up, someone in the agency will find your info in a search and reach out. But if the recruiter is more proactive, they will take more time to learn about what you may be looking for, and develop a plan to help you find those particular opportunities with clients. You want a recruiter thinking long-term and building a relationship, not just looking for a current transaction.


What industries do you currently recruit for? What would you say your niche is? 


This establishes if they are an expert in their field. The more industries they recruit for, the more they might not fully understand the intricacies and issues of your particular industry.


What and when were your last 3 successful searches?


Establishing the fact that the recruiter is successful is essential. You want to know that the recruiter is capable of actually placing you. 


When/How often should I expect to hear updates from you?


You have a great discussion, send your resume, and then blow in the wind for weeks. Recruiters are notorious for not following up and moving on to the next deal. Establish guidelines for working together! Make sure they follow up when they say they will follow up.


Are you working directly with the client, or is someone at your firm the client's contact?


Ideally, you want to work with a recruiter who works directly with the client. Those recruiters usually know/understand the client best and can answer more detailed questions. Otherwise, it usually leads to time lags and the potential for miscommunication, asking the client questions, etc.


How long have you worked with this particular client?


Related to the want to be sure the recruiter understands the client, the client's goals, and what the client is like, to help you make informed decisions.


I require approval of any resume revisions before you submit it anywhere. Is that ok?


Some recruiters revise resumes. You want to make sure you require approval before they do that. You don't want them lying on your can really backfire. Let them know that it is not ok to do without discussing first.


I prefer to hold off on providing references until a client requests them, closer to the offer stage. Do you respect that?


A common recruiter practice, esp. in large agencies, is to request references at the beginning of the job search. They may agree to only contact the references later in the job search, but what you DON'T know is that they might call those references as leads, either job/client leads or candidate leads. Recruiters are taught to call the references in the hopes of getting them as clients...especially if the candidate is going to accept a new job eventually...this is a warm lead. The recruiter knows there will be an opening soon, so they try to establish a relationship. Or they flat out try to recruit the reference. 


Do you agree to obtain my consent before submitting my resume to a company?


If they say no, move on. Simple as that.


If you submit my resume to a firm without my knowledge, do you agree to relinquish the rights to my resume if I (or another recruiter) submits a resume to the same company?


Again, If they say no, move on. Simple as that. If they agree to get your consent and then send the resume without your permission, make sure they do not represent you (and have a claim to a fee, which could be prohibitive to your candidacy with the company). 


Don't know which recruiter to use? Utilize the checklist. Look at the answers they give you. If you are uncomfortable with any of them, just move on. You don't have to settle, and you don't have to agree to their terms. It's your career.

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