Credible Third-Party Recruiters


I love it when someone sends me an email and asks, “Do you know this recruiter? Is he a good guy?”

Believe it or not, I don’t know every HR professional or recruiter. I just know a few — but most of them are good people. (Sure, some of them are chumps but there are scam artists and losers in every industry. Look at sales.)

You need to use your brain—and your smarts—to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Here are some thoughts.

  • Do the work and make sure the recruiter is credible. Don’t be shy. Ask probing questions before you allow a recruiter to represent you. You can ask for a biography. Request references. Connect with him on LinkedIn. Look him up on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure this guy hasn’t burned bridges or created any sort of ruckus.
  • My favorite recruiters are those who have established relationships with VPs, hiring managers, and Human Resources professionals. That’s a tall order, actually. For starters, you can ask the recruiter to talk about his networking strategies. You’ll want to hear how he stays current in the industry
  • I ask for an overview of my industry. I’m not looking for an economic treatise; however, I am curious if the recruiter can speak intelligently about my career field without using a ton of jargon.
  • Ask the recruiter to describe his last couple of placements. This is about data, yo. I like to know the positions filled and how long it took him to find the ideal candidates. Recruiters won’t talk about specific clients or placement fees, but they will talk about general metrics if you ask. It’s not tacky to ask.
  • You will never have to pay to get a job.  I hate to add this bullet, but there are a few sketchy ‘operators’ out there. Credible recruiting agencies don’t ask for money.

Finally, I think it’s important to know where a recruiter is submitting your resume before the resume is sent. You can ask for this specific information — it’s not rude.

Remember, a relationship with a recruiter is like any other business arrangement. Do your research, ask thoughtful questions, and operate with integrity. Don’t forget that a recruiter is risking his reputation on you, too.

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