When I was unemployed, I met with countless recruiters. Although they sent me on more interviews than I can remember, I always left a meeting with a recruiter with a sour taste in my mouth. It felt like everyone wanted me to change my résumé or lie about my work history. Others were desperately pushing jobs that I didn’t want into my lap. While they acted like they were on my side, I often knew deep down that they were not.
A recent Forbes article discusses the subject and points out that recruiters are paid by the client, which is the job searcher's potential future employer. This means that the recruiter may not always have your best interest at heart. Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace, writes, “The recruiter can represent himself or herself as your advocate when in reality they are not looking out for you, but rather for the employer. Your interests and the employer’s interests are not the same thing!” How can you tell when the recruiter does not have your back? Here are five red flags.
- They demand private financial information from you. According to Forbes, a recruiter should never ask about your current salary information. This is a shocker for me: Every recruiter I ever met with always insisted I tell them how much I was making! If they see your résumé and ask smart questions, the recruiter should be able to figure out what your background is worth. Here’s another way of looking at it: The recruiter is not going to give you confidential financial info about the company, so why do you have to give it to her?
- They tell you you would be lucky to get an interview. If the recruiter says there’s a lot of competition for the job and points out that some of the candidates have skills and talents that you don’t, run away. Ryan says, “This is a mean, manipulative approach.”
- They threaten you with expulsion from the pipeline if you won’t give in to their demands. When a recruiter calls you at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday and says you have to get them an updated résumé by 9 a.m. the following morning or else you won’t have a chance of getting the job, they are being inappropriate and ridiculous.
- They don’t communicate with you appropriately. A recruiter should not share your résumé with other recruiters without asking for your permission. It is her job to follow up with you about any interviews, and if she does not, she is not doing her job. Likewise, if they are calling you multiple times in a work day or at inappropriate hours and on the weekend, they are not communicating clearly or being respective of your time. Stop working with these types of recruiters immediately.
- They propose you for a job opportunity, but they don’t value your time and effort. People who have your best interest in mind will value your time and energy. They won’t place you in a position where they know you won’t be a good fit.
If you’re job hunting, be prepared for the interview a recruiter sets up for you by reading Boost Your Interview IQ.
Have you ever had a bad experience with a recruiter?