Over the years I've interacted with some sleazy recruiters. When a recruiter responds "OK, bro" after you tell them your career aspirations, it's time to find a new recruiter. Every once in awhile a recruiter surprises with their level of professionalism, decorum, and empathy. So what are some signs you're working with a top notch recruiter?
The best recruiters have a level of empathy. Some of the worst are only out for a commission. At no point should they be pressuring you to take the job. Recruiters should be trying to figure out your current career aspirations and find a match that meets expectations. They understand if the candidate is happy with their experience throughout the process, the candidate will most likely perform better on the interview.
Recruiters are often experience working with the hiring manager at the company. They have already sent candidates into the fire. Don't be surprised when recruiters ask the content of the interview. They are just doing their due diligence, trying to document the process so future candidates can have an easier experience. Prior to any step in the interview process, a good recruiter will send you documentation that outlines what to expect, questions they might ask, good things to mention in the interview.
I have found the best recruiters maintain a relationship over time. It doesn't matter you are in a good position, they may reach out to just see how things are going, take you out for coffee to have a discussion, or ask for referrals for candidates they are searching for. Some recruiters even offer referral bonuses. Expectations here should be low, small gestures go a long way. When a recruiter who didn't get you a job congratulates you on LinkedIn, you may want to consider working with that recruiter again down the road.
When a recruiter has talked up a position so much you can’t wait to start interviewing, you may have found yourself an excellent salesperson. Those skills can go a long way to help you score your next job. Recruiters will be selling your skills to hiring managers. It is extremely helpful to give them everything they need. Devise a 30 second elevator pitch that outlines why you are a perfect fit for the role. Say your pitch it while on the call with the recruiter and also in the interview itself. The best recruiters will take what your say and make it even better.
The best recruiters are up front about the role they are offering, providing clear expectations over pay, the job description, company culture, and even more. While I wouldn't suggest peppering companies directly with salary requirements early on in the process, I find it to be helpful to set salary expectations early on with recruiters.
I've had recruiters scold me before for having 20 years experience, but only presenting my experience in a 1 page resume. The last two rounds of interviewing I have entertained multiple offers, hiring managers compliment the brevity of my resume. Nonetheless, some recruiters won't even offer to send my resume over without convincing them nothing is wrong with the format. Good recruiters are fine with who you are and understand you present yourself the best you possibly can.
A lot of recruiters are only interested in a relationship while you work for a company as a contractor, but are actually on the payroll of the recruiter. While this could work out in the short term, some engineers would prefer the relative job security of a full-time position. Recruiters should have solid relationships with hiring managers in order to argue for full-time on your behalf. They are more concerned with making the job the best fit possible for you and not just trying to make the most money for the recruiting agency. It's not always possible to convert you to full-time because the recruiter only has a contractual obligation with the company to find contractors or there could be a full-time hiring freeze. A good recruiter will do anything it takes to get you the job you want.
What else do you find characteristic of a superior recruiter?