Six ways to identify great recruiters

Beecher Tuttle | E-Financial Careers

Recruiters are like car mechanics. Once you find a great one, you don’t want to work with anyone else. Identifying the best-of-the-best will take a little time, but it’s well worth the effort. Hard working, moral recruiters can open doors that would otherwise be closed to you. When shopping around for a recruiter who you can trust, look for these tells.

They have great references: It sounds simple, but the majority of candidates don’t do their homework on recruiters. The easiest way is to tap your network and ask for recommendations from family, friends and co-workers who have found success working with a recruiter. Ask them not only about the end goal – whether or not they were placed – but also how they were treated throughout the process.

Finding recruiters through your network, rather than reaching out blindly or responding to requests, will likely push your resume to the top of the pile. Recruiters want to do good by people they worked with before and, perhaps more importantly, want to represent people who come recommended.

If you are contacted blindly by a recruiter, ask around. You can check their LinkedIn recommendations and follow up that way.

They have longevity with clients: Ask the recruiter how long they have worked with the client in question. If they have a long-standing relationship – and have placed several people in the past – you know that they work in a moral and professional manner. Recruiters who don’t have little chance of carrying on a lengthy relationship with a Wall Street firm.

Equally as important, recruiters with long-running relationships with clients have more sway. If you aren’t a perfect fit on paper but have all the necessary soft skills and fit the firm’s culture, recruiters with strong client relationships may be able to talk you in the door.

Another good question is to ask how long they have been in the business in general. Again, those that last are the ones who do things the right way.

They work with you before they have an opening: The best recruiters put the work in before the perfect position becomes available. You’ll want to work with recruiters who sit down and talk about your needs before ever getting to any potential openings. This ensures you’re working with a partner, not just a matchmaker. If the first conversation is about a job, not about you, steer clear.

They have access to un-posted jobs: Being a great recruiter is all about relationships. The very best in the business can identify your talents and connect the dots to a firm that would appreciate them. If a recruiter can tell a client, “you have to meet this person,” and the company agrees, you’re working with a well-connected, well-respected recruiter.

They call you back: The biggest pet peeve that candidates have. Good recruiters recognize this and respond to your messages, even if they don’t have anything for you at the moment. However, recognize that they are busy as well and don’t overwhelm them with daily calls and emails.

They give you honest feedback: On the surface, some candidates may not immediately appreciate hearing what they did wrong in an interview or why they aren’t a good fit for a position. But that’s a recruiter’s job – to give you all the information necessary to nail the next interview. Blunt recruiters are the best of the lot.


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