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.