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How Do You Decide Which Recruiters Are Worth Talking To?

Whether you arrive at third party recruiters when you are looking for a job or whether recruiters contact you, you can be sure that when you have contact, the questions will soon begin to fly! You must be prepared to answer the recruiter’s questions. This does not mean that you must give him or her standard formulated responses; you can be human on a call with a recruiter. You do not have to be afraid of talking to an inquisitive recruiter. After all, you cannot have your resume and your career in the hands of someone who does not understand or respect you as a professional and who treats you like just another candidate for a job.

If a recruiter finds your LinkedIn profile interesting enough to want to talk to you, others will too! You can tell the truth: that the value of what you bring to the employment and that you see no reason to search or pardon yourself to get a chance at a role. You can do it politely and humorously. The recruiter is not your enemy and he or she will be allies if you decide to work together. At the same time, the recruiter is not higher on a social level than you are. He or she is not your boss. He or she needs you at least as much as you need to have them!

You can set boundaries with your recruiter. Many job seekers do not realise that employers value candidates more when these candidates themselves are valued. Dogs can smell when someone is scared, humans can do that too.


Error! Employment people find jobs! If you think about it, this is a very different concept. While a good recruiter will surely try to do right by their candidates, it is important to remember that they are ultimately working to get money from their client companies. Recruiters do not get paid by candidates, nor are they advisers to work. They are certainly “keen” on the candidates they choose to work with, helping them revise their CV, prepare them and train them on interview techniques. However, it is paid by the client companies to find candidates to fill very specific positions with very specific requirements (usually hard to find). Randomly contact the recruiter with an unwanted CV, saying “Can you help me find a job” is not a good tactic and most recruiters will not respond.


There are many ways recruiters may find matching candidates: Using complex logical keyword searches, they first mine electronic resources: they consider their own database from the resumes they’ve collected. They have found their jobs (usually without specifying the client company) in the popular social networking sites, on their agency’s web site and then ask screen applicants for matches. They use large-scale searches on all free social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and send messages to people they find likely to match the requirements they’re looking for.


If your recruiter calls you and it is not a good time for you to talk, let them know and reschedule the call for a better time. This is better than trying to have a conversation in a difficult environment.


If you are in contact with the recruiter and decide to talk at a specific time outside the business hours to discuss the opportunity, be sure to follow through with the discussion. If you need to reschedule, or if you are no longer interested in the opportunity, be sure to let the recruiter know.


What company are you recruiting for? (If you have already applied directly to the same company or have been called up by another recruiter for the same position, they probably will not be able to represent you there.) Find out everything the recruiter knows about that company. If they cannot tell you the name of the company, ask why. (If the search is really “secret”, OK but often it’s a trust issue, and failure to identify the client can be a red flag for a candidate.)

  • What are the job requirements? Ask them to send you a job description. Help the recruiter see how you fit these requirements. Be honest about any requirements you do not really have.
  • Who is the recruitment manager, and how well does the recruiter know this person? What is its management structure? What is a company culture like? Can you get any inside intelligence?
  • How many other candidates represent this position? Are there other agencies that are sending candidates or are they “exclusive”?
  • What is the recruitment schedule for the client? What steps are there – how many phone interviews and personal interviews will there be, and with whom? When do they want someone to start? How long was this position open? How high is the “urgency” to that?
  • What is the next step? Will the recruiter certainly send your information to the client – and if so, when? To what extent should you expect to hear from the recruiter?


Recruitment can come in many different flavours. There are retained personnel who usually work on very specialised C-level posts and receive fixed fees against the production of a certain number of highly qualified candidates – whether appointed or not. There are “temporary hiring” or “staff increase” recruiters who primarily work on fixed-term appointments for their clients and get money based on candidate bills every hour on a continuous basis. There are internal or external recruitment companies, who work directly for companies that have open positions. Then there are 3rd party recruitment agencies who can work on permanent or temp contractual jobs. These recruiters work for independent agencies that contract their services to various companies that need help filling open positions with very specific requirements and are often difficult to find.

At Nelson Hilliard we specialise in cloud technologies, sourcing the top 20% of cloud professionals inspired to work for you through our specialised marketing and profiling. If you are interested in having a quick talk to me regarding your employment needs please feel free to reach out.

You can also check my availability and book your 15 minute discovery call here.

Brad Nelson