Recruiters are taking a sad trashing in some of the comments on a post I wrote the other day. Most recruiters deport themselves well, but some step over ethical boundaries. Thus, it’s good to learn how to vet recruiters to protect yourself.
Once you’ve found a recruiter of interest, here are useful actions you can take:
Read the Recruiter’s LinkedIn Profile
1. How long have they been in the business? Unethical recruiters don’t last long. They cause too many problems.
2. Do they have any recommendations? Who are they from? Do their recommenders look like solid citizens or robots (yes, bots write LinkedIn recommendations)? What do the recommendations say?
3. Do you have any common connections? If you do, call them and ask about the recruiter.
Talk to the Recruiter
1. Ask if they’ve been retained or if they’re on a contingent fee. A contingent fee means the recruiter only gets paid if they place someone. Those arrangements are common. They can create incentives for recruiters to behave badly.
2. If the recruiter is on a contingent fee, ask if they have an exclusive or if other recruiters are working the search too. Lack of exclusivity can also produce incentives for recruiters to behave badly.
3. Be especially alert if the recruiter is working on a non-exclusive, contingent fee search. This is the mix where the recruiter has the most competition to earn a commission. Thus, it’s where most of the bad behavior happens.
Consider the Function & the Industry
Recruiting for some job functions and industries is more rough and tumble than others. If you worry that you might be a “prey animal,” then pay attention.
As a job seeker, it’s important for you to do your due diligence on recruiters before you share your resume. No one else is going to do it for you.
A little investigation will help you avoid most of the egregiously unethical recruiters in operation.
Don’t set yourself up to be treated badly (see examples in the comments here). An ethical recruiter won’t mind your caution.
If you have more tips for vetting recruiters, please share them below.
Updated May 2019
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Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse.
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