It's fairly clear that opinion is divided on Recruiters and the industry as a whole and quite rightly so. There are agencies out there who will give anyone a computer, a phone and a licence to pester people! Recruiters who purely qualify a candidate on salary, location and notice period often have little regard for the persons needs or aspirations. These Recruiters are so short sighted and fuelled by money that they assume the whole world has the same outlook, they couldn't possibly imagine that someone would take a sideways or backwards step financially to ensure a more positive outlook on their career.
So who is to blame? Is it the Recruiters fault with their limited training and knowledge of the market or is it the candidate for not vetting the Recruiter and placing their livelihood in the inept hands of said Recruiter? Judging by some of the cold responses I've received in my short time as a Recruiter I would say the former is the most common perception; well let me put a different twist on this...
How does the candidate make sure he doesn't fall into the trap of working with the wrong Recruiter? Here is my 3 step qualification process to avoid the bad ones:
1. Do a quick background check before responding to an InMail or a phone call
It might sound pretty basic but how many of you genuinely do this? Look at their LinkedIn profile; a good Recruiter will specialise in a niche area, he will know his field inside out and will be well connected in the market. Another quick check you can do is look at the history of their posts - are they posting news about your market and more importantly are they digesting the information?
2. Qualification calls are a two way process
A good Recruiter will speak with a candidate on the phone or face to face and will learn everything about the individual they will be representing; money is the last thing they will speak to you about once they have openly discussed every intricate detail of your professional life and aspirations.
Are you just answering questions or are you asking them yourself? Don't be shy - test the Recruiters knowledge of the market, dig down into what they do and what type of clients they represent; a good Recruiter will welcome this as he can exhibit the hard earned knowledge he has of this market, a poor one will crumble under this sort of questioning and you will save yourself time and grief.
3. Are you just a statistic?
Probably the quickest way to spot a poor Recruiter is from their initial approach;
Have they just sent you a job description from the outset? If the answer is yes then you need to avoid this Recruiter at all costs and I'll tell you why - this Recruiter has sent the same job description to 50+ people in the same manner and is crossing his fingers that something sticks, they do not have your best interests at heart and will invariably be a nightmare to deal with and disengaged until you reach the latter stages of the interview process.
In summary, I totally agree that our industry is largely represented by individuals that have no right to call themselves Recruiters, Individuals that continually tarnish the job I love and alienate the professionals I hope to help.
Instead of ruing that dreadful encounter you had with an inept Recruiter, follow the above steps to seek out the small percentile of Recruiters you CAN genuinely trust with your career, I guarantee you will have a far better experience the next time around and hopefully together we can push bad Recruiters out of our industry for good.