5 Red Flags to Look for When Working With Recruiters

Recruiters are typically your first point of contact when a company reaches out to start the interview process. While recruiters might have their own individual style and processes for dealing with their candidates, there are certain characteristics to steer clear of. Here are some tips on what to look out for when working with recruiters.

1) They aren't trying to understand what your career goals are in relation to your desired role

It's pretty standard for a recruiter to ask you about your job role preference, desired salary rate, remote work preference, etc. to see what jobs fit your background. Recruiters should also be asking you about what you're looking to get out of your next role so that they can sell your story to hiring managers as to why you are the perfect candidate over other applicants. You should leave the conversation feeling confident that the recruiter is rooting for you and ready to land you your dream role.

2) They keep sending you roles that aren't a good fit for your wants and needs

Once you tell the recruiter about the types of roles that you want, recruiters should be very intentional about the job listing that they contact you for. If there aren't any on the recruiters radar, then they will wait until something comes in. There should be no reason for them to send you roles that aren't related to what you are looking for in the next stage of your career. Recruiters are supposed to support you in making intentional and aligned steps in your career journey, and if they are sending you random roles then it means that they simply do not care about you as a candidate and are probably focused on hitting a quota for filled roles. Do not be afraid to address your needs and concerns (or even cut ties) with a recruiter if it feels as though they do not understand your career story and what you're looking to get out of your next role.

3) They are pressuring you to schedule an interview for a role despite their lack of knowledge of role and interview details

Recruiters are supposed to make sure they have a decent amount of the job details, including the description, technology used, team information, and the interview process before even reaching out to candidates for a role. Once again, recruiters are supposed to advocate for you and give you all the tools necessary to help you knock all of your interviews out of the park. If a recruiter is asking you to interview despite not knowing much about what the interview will entail, it is fine to politely decline and let them know that you do not feel confident in your ability to interview without knowing more details about the interview.

4) They won't give you a salary range for the role

When you first speak to a recruiter in the intro call, one of the first things you should discuss with the recruiter is compensation. The first thing that a company has to do when opening up a role is make a justification for the role, including salary...so basically, the salary range is already set by the time they start recruiting candidates. If you are not able to get a salary range from a recruiter, I personally would let that be my last time speaking with them, mainly because I do not want to risk wasting my time interviewing for a role that isn't within nor exceeds my salary expectations. Skipping over salary range is also a tactic that companies do so they can wear candidates out during the interview process so that by the end, candidates are more likely to accept a lowball salary since they've already invested so much time into interviewing with the company.

5) The recruiter is unresponsive

Recruiters are often busy with screening and getting multiple candidates through the interview process, but they should always make sure to follow up with you in regards to anything job related on your end to ensure that you have the best odds of landing a job through them. Responsiveness includes getting you interview prep materials, answering questions you might have about the job or team, providing feedback on completed interviews, and updates on offer/counteroffers. It is normal to wait 24 hours for a response or for a recruiter to let you know that they will follow up with you as soon as possible. It's a red flag for them to completely ignore your emails or to go a week without responding once you are already in the interview pipeline.

If you aren't feeling confident in working with a certain recruiter, it is completely okay to notify the recruiter of the end of the relationship and to go work with someone else. Every recruiter will not be a good fit for you, just like every role you apply for will not be a good fit for you. It is also important to not let a few bad experiences skew your mindset towards working with recruiters. A few bad recruiters do not represent the entire recruiting industry and there are many recruiters out there who work hard to make sure their clients/candidates have a stellar experience.

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