One of the most common topics I see, is about recruiters. Most are complaints about bad ones, and some are compliments of good ones.
I know a LOT of great people that are great recruiters. I also know that more people take the time to write a complaint than people do to write a compliment.
It must be a difficult job that they have to do day after day. They work for people that are hiring, they work for people looking to get hired, and the work for both. It must be a balancing act for them; doing a good job for the employer AND for the candidate at the same time. It must be like when a couple gets divorced and use the same attorney. Who’s best interest do they have? Hopefully both.
LinkedIn has become a prime location for recruiters to find candidates. The good recruiters take the time to look at your profile before contacting you. They send a message apologizing for contacting you and ask if you are in the market. They do not bother you or pester you. The ones that contact you outside of LinkedIn say they are sorry for the interruption and ask if you are interested in a position that they are filling. They use your name in the email and not “Dear first_name.” They do not email you repeatedly. They do their job. They are the ones that we don’t talk about. They are the ones that don’t annoy us. They are not evil. The bad ones on the other hand …
The bad ones are the evil ones. They are the ones that give recruiters a bad name. They are the ones that we do talk about. We do not like them. They are annoying, they treat you like crap. They play the numbers game; email everybody on the planet and some will reply. They will email you for things that you are not qualified for. They will ask if you want to relocate for a 6 month gig. They paste job descriptions into emails and ask you to fill in the blanks. They email you several times and do not pay attention to when you are nice enough to reply and say that you are not interested.
If you decide to use a recruiter, that is great. If you are actively looking for work, you SHOULD use a recruiter. When you buy or sell your house, you normally use a Realtor. Let the recruiters do the job searching for you. Let them help you find your next job. Why? Because they know the companies that are hiring. They know where there are jobs. They know what kind of salary you can expect to get. They can tell you the pros and cons of companies that they have worked with before. They have a working relationship with the people that are doing the interviewing/hiring.
That being said, there are certain things (in my opinion; after all, this is all my opinion) that should not be done by recruiters and there is a specific order in which the interview process should be done. They will and should ‘qualify’ you to see what roles you would be good in. This is a good thing. They do not want to waste time trying to place you into a position for which you do not qualify. Once they know who you are, what you want and what you can do, they have all of the information they need to start the hunt for your next position.
Once they find a match, they should set you up with an initial conversation with prospective employer. This MUST be the first thing. Not calling references, or coding challenges or any test of any kind. They must NOT waste your time BEFORE you get to talk to somebody with the possible future employer. That initial call is like a first date. That first date is where you see if you are a match and like each other. You need to see if you WANT to go to work there and they need to see if they WANT you to go to work there. The worst question that I have ever gotten on the initial conversation is “why do you want to work for us?” to which I always reply with “why should I work for you?” You need to talk a bit so that you can decide if it is a place that you want to work for.
If the initial conversation with the prospective employer goes well, then it is appropriate for them to ask you to do some SMALL things to prove that you are capable of performing the position for which they are hiring. Calling references at this point is also appropriate. Do your due diligence and check out the employer. Glassdoor has employee reviews of a ton of companies. Just bear in mind that the reviews are like the comments about recruiters; more people take the time to complain than to compliment.
Remember that your recruiter wants to help you find a new job. Most agencies that I know of, have a 3 to 6 month retention period (not sure what they call it) where they only get full commission if you get placed and STAY there for the minimum duration.
Good recruiters, keep up the great work!!
Evil recruiters, find another career path ;)