Good recruiters, bad recruiters and how to deal with them

Every week I get at least 3 questions whether I’d like to change jobs. It usually goes something like this:

“Hi we are looking for developers for a company somewhere in the country.
Tt’s really great, they are the most fun to work with. The do
projects for big companies.”

That my friends doesn’t tell me anything. Of course the company is the best around, of course the projects
are exciting. And surely they pay well. But ehm, who do I work for? What customers? What projects exactly?

The bad and even worse

It’s outraging to see how bad the recruitment business has gotten. They won’t tell you which company you’re
actually submitting your resume for. Because the person that asks you is afraid that you might go over their heads
and talk to the company yourself.

Also, the recruiter will not talk to you about the interesting projects the company is doing, because he/she doesn’t know.
Every once in a while I do a test and ask them about the company they recruit for and the projects they do. So far 100%
of the people I talked to couldn’t tell me.

What’s even worse, they typically demand your resume as fast as possible. And believe me, they won’t take no for an
answer straight away. I usually resort to the “I don’t deal with recruiters anymore, remove me from your database.”
And even that doesn’t always help.

All in all, I think that the business of recruiting people has gotten out of hand. There’s way too much money
involved in the business. More and more recruiters start to care less about who they talk to as long as they get
the 1/3 year salary for that one person.

Aren’t there any good recruiters around?

So LinkedIn is filled with bad recruiters. It made me wonder whether there are any good recruiters left.
Turns out there are, but you don’t see those very often on LinkedIn. Here’s why:

A good recruiter doesn’t contact you if you say on your profile that you aren’t interested.
This means they won’t make any money from you. But it also means that you are left alone just like you
wanted. It’s called politeness.

Speaking of politeness, a good recruiter doesn’t ask you for your resume straight away. First let me
talk to you and find out if I’m really interested. The resume is only important if I want to go ahead
and talk to the company about getting a job there. A good recruiter knows this and is interested in me.
Not the head with the two hands who knows how to control the computer, but the person that also likes
to work at a place where there’s room for more than just work.

Also, a good recruiter tells me plenty about the company that he/she is recruiting for. And here’s why:
He/she has made a contract with the company to recruit for them and isn’t afraid you go over their heads
directly to the company itself. That’s because the company will refer you back to the recruiter.

Finally, a good recruiter goes all the way. He/she will guide you through the process of getting a new job.
Starting with the wishes you have, optimizing your resume and finally contacting you after to find out if
you’re happy with the new job. After all, a recruiter needs to earn a living, so he better do everything
to get you the job you like.

Some tips

There’s a really big gap between a good and a bad recruiter that’s for sure. I have no idea how this
happened, but I guess we have to deal with the current state. So here’s a few tips:

  • Make sure that when you talk to a recruiter you know for sure that they have a contract with the
    company they are recruiting for. Things tend to go very bad if they don’t. Not for them, but for you.

  • If things sound fishy, don’t hesitate to push harder for answers. If it still feels bad after this, stop.
    Don’t waste your time on recruiters that make a mess of things.

  • Stay polite. A good reputation as a developer is worth its weight in gold. Don’t waste it.
    Be clear about where you want to go, but stay calm friendly. After all kindness goes a long way.

  • If you do happen to look for a new job, make sure that your LinkedIn status says so. Check the settings
    on your profile so that the good recruiters know where to find you. The same goes for the other way around.
    Not looking for a job? Set your status accordingly.

There’s loads more tips I could give you, but generally speaking: Try to ignore the bad recruiters and when in doubt check.
Be sure to stay nice since that is all you have, your good reputation and friendliness no matter how good you are.

Final thoughts

I still have good hope that one day the recruitment business will calm down a bit and people will start to learn
that it takes more than mass emails to get the right people for the job.

If after all you’re fed up with the recruitment business, consider deleting your LinkedIn account. Let’s be honest here,
it’s only for the recruitment business anyways…

Willem Meints
Willem Meints is a software architect and engineer with a wide variety of interests. His background in software engineering hasn’t stopped him from exploring new areas like machine learning as part of his daily work. This sparked a deep passion for everything related to artificial intelligence and deep learning.

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