6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Recruiter

Most tech recruiters are hard-working professionals who provide a valuable service to hiring managers and job hunters alike. But every now and then, tech pros encounter an agency staffer or recruiter who doesn’t seem to have their best interests at heart.

Some problems are obvious: for example, when a recruiter keeps offering you jobs that really don’t fit your skillset. Or they constantly forget to return your calls and emails. But other issues are far subtler. If you’re not sure whether your relationship is working, here are some telltale signs that it’s time to give your recruiting professional the heave-ho.

They Can’t Provide Inside Information

If a recruiter can’t tell you about the people you will be reporting to, the company culture, ethics or benefit package, it probably means that they don’t have a strong relationship with the hiring manager, warned Dan Simmons, president of Continental Search and author of “Hunting the Headhunter.”

“He could be a résumé pusher,” Simmons said. That term refers to recruiters who blindly submit a large number of résumés for a position, hoping for a match.

“A recruiter should be concerned about whether you are the right fit for the position, and offer additional value in the form of interview coaching, market intelligence and résumé tips,” he added.

Freelance recruiter Jessica Sems agrees that the inability to provide detailed information is a bad sign. “It may mean that another recruiter actually owns the job order and your recruiter is just trying to fill it,” she said. “Team chemistry is important in tech; you definitely want to work with a recruiter who has a relationship with the client.”

They Try to Recruit You From the Company Where They Placed You

If the recruiter who placed you calls a few months later to pitch a new opportunity, they may be violating the recruiting industry’s code of ethics.They can call to see how things are going or to solicit referrals, but they’re not supposed to recruit you unless you specifically ask for help in seeking new employment.

They Won’t Go to Bat for You

Even though the client is footing the bill, recruiters also need to advocate for candidates. If they won’t go to bat for you on salary, or expect you to make all of the concessions, it’s time to move on.

They Go Radio Silent

There’s absolutely no reason why a recruiter can’t keep you updated on the status of your search, or provide timely, honest feedback after an interview, Sems said. After all, one of the benefits of working with a third-party recruiter is avoiding the “résumé black hole.”

“Even on your busiest day, you can always find five minutes to make a phone call,” she noted. So if you’re not hearing anything, that’s an issue.

They’re Not Interested in Your Needs

If a recruiter doesn’t ask about your career objectives or interests, it may mean that they are only interested in making a quick placement and collecting a fee. Ditch that recruiter in favor of one who treats clients and candidates equally.

They Waste Your Time

If you reach out to a recruiter to inquire about a job posting or contracting relationship, they should be able to tell you whether or not they can place you, noted Marc Tappis, president of Opportunity Search Inc.

“There’s no reason to waste someone’s time,” Tappis added. A good recruiter knows their clients’ needs and the technical skills and project experience they are looking for. If they can’t help you find work, they should say so as soon as possible.

In addition, recruiters who don’t bother reading your résumé or who continually pitch inappropriate positions should be replaced. “A good tech recruiter doesn’t need to be able to do your job, but he does need to understand your specialty and the primary skills, knowledge and behaviors necessary to perform your job,” Simmons said.

“If a recruiter doesn’t have any recommendations on his LinkedIn page, or he can’t talk about the placements he’s made, that’s a troubling sign,” he added.

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9 Responses to “6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Recruiter”

    • david

      in the past six years I have only found two head hunters that had worth. most of the clowns are just trying to get a position they know nothing about filled because they can’t get a real job and this is the new telemarketing. – Make enough calls and you are bound to sell something – logic. I really dislike head-hunters; most are a single step above idiot but pretend to have some value. By the way, it seems head-hunters is the fastest growing employment field in America. Which supports the seagull manorisumns stuffing America.

  1. Russell C Park

    I’d add a 7th – If you get submitted and an interview is scheduled, and you get told you’re the top candidate, then in the interview get blind-sided by some other team member who had a different view on the requirements of the role that the recruiter explained, and this basically knocks you out of contention… rough. Happened to me just yesterday. Find another recruiter.

  2. Pumpkin Escobar

    One of the killers of the true headhunter agent to talent relationships is the exploding use of offshore nontalent. When a person calls and cannot pronounce the job title or the location. Or they give like one line and then ask what is my rate. Its like I have a car in my yard with tires, how much is it worth. I add them to spam and then block their number.

    It used to be I had really good inside agents that knew the client and knew the talent. When I got a call I had a greater than 90 percent chance of getting the job before I even went in. Now its like 3 percent. It also used to be the talent got a fair share of the bill rate, like usually 70/30ish now its more like 20/80ish.

    • Origin Am

      Fully agree… 80/20ish rate non-existent these days… offshore recruiters everywhere made it worse… what can be done?
      I got called few times by offshore recruiters… after rate… was asked SSNumber and date of birth… this over phone… first call… yes hung up, blocked number etc