I started my journey in the recruitment industry close to 7 years ago. At the time I had never really heard of the field and was very unaware of what I was getting into. What led me to this career path was simple, the idea that I could help people in their search for a new opportunity sounded great.

I quickly realized that the reputation of recruiters in the IT market was far from perfect. It seemed not everyone who acted as recruiters were driven with the same goal of helping people. I don’t think most recruiters have bad intentions, instead some take a more transactional approach with a focus more on the money than the people. On the other side many of those frustrations stem from communication breakdown.

Through this article I’d like to look at 5 things to look for in a recruitment partner and frustrations associated with them. How you can improve your relationship with recruiters and relieve some of these. Finally, what to look for in a recruitment partner so that you can avoid feeling like you got the short end of the stick.  

Irrelevant opportunities

One of the most common frustrations is that recruiters will send positions to candidates that are aligned to their ability or career goals. In the worst-case scenarios, they receive roles that aren’t even remotely close to their profile such as a Project manager getting a .Net developer role. Some get the right role but completely miss on any factors that are important to you in a role. These solicitations can be overwhelming and force you to just block out all communication from recruiters.

What can you do? This one is a bit tougher as it’s hard to just stop recruiters from contacting you. The best advice I can give here is remove the fluff from your profile. Recruiters are typically working off key words and although listing them all can help you get noticed it also opens up the doors to irrelevant roles.

What to look for? The best recruiters don’t just blindly send you positions through Linked In or email. Instead they first work to understand who you are, what you do and what you’re looking for. If a recruiter is taking the time to understand you before speaking about roles, then it is definitely someone who won’t bombard you. Be patient with them as they work to understand the specifics of your goals and important factors. No recruiter is perfect in their approach but building a relationship with ones that want to help you will give you a resource in any future search.

No Feedback

The only way we can improve and get better is by receiving feedback so that we know what to focus on. That’s why it can be very difficult to be searching for a new career and not receiving any after an interview. However, this is something that happens quite often and candidates after left with almost no answers as to why they weren’t successful. Recruiters often give no insight and candidates don’t know if it came down to what they said, their experience or if the position was filled by someone who was better aligned. The most frustrating one can be the last one, as that same organization may open roles in the future that you are a better fit for, but you don’t apply because of your previous experience. This is not always on the recruiter as giving bad news is something managers avoid as well.

What can you do? For the most part recruiters either don’t have the feedback or have a hard time breaking the news to you. So instead of waiting around for their follow up you can always touch base with them a few days after your interview. If you don’t get any answers and it’s been over a week a wouldn’t hesitate to reach out to the company or manager that interviewed you, in order to get some more detailed feedback on why you weren’t a fit. Just because a recruiter isn’t doing their job shouldn’t stop you from taking control of your career and getting that feedback.

What to look for? Recruiters who understand the importance of feedback realize that interviewers can get busy. So, if they want to ensure that they get it in a timely manner they will most likely set a follow up time. This allows them to stay on top of the situation and a calendar invite will remind their client as well. For your part simply inquiring about said follow up time or their plan to get feedback before your interview can help you judge how prepared your recruitment partner is.

Lack of Information

When exploring opportunities, it’s important to have all the information possible to get a true understanding of what you’re getting into. That’s why it can be frustrating that a recruiter would only provide you with a generic job description and not much more. The lack of information makes it tough to prepare for your interview or even how they might be a fit. You can take it upon yourself to do research but even the company website and other resources can’t give you true insight into the culture and what to expect. Many recruiters struggle to get more information from their client and are instead pushed to work off a job description. Not having the information will either waste your time or hurt your chances of getting the role.

What can you do? The best approach to not having information is to ask questions before agreeing to move forward for the position. If that recruiter doesn’t have them don’t be afraid to hold off on the role before you get it. Pushing them to get that information internally or from the client will only help you. If they can’t get that information directly, another way to get insight is to ask to speak with someone they’ve placed there. You can even check your own network to see who you might know that works there to get the information you need.

What to look for? Recruiters who know their client are key to helping you find the right opportunity. When asking questions around the position, project, team and culture they should be able to give you answers. They should be able to let you know why you’re a fit not only for the company but the position as well. Once you decide it is the right role, they should also be able to give you tips and tricks for your interview. Having the right recruitment partner can make the difference between going in prepared and interviewing for a role that wastes your time.

Acting as a partner

When changing roles, it can be a very stressful time and often a lot can be on the line for you. When dealing with multiple roles the decision can be made even harder. So added pressure from a recruiter to choose their role can make it that much worse of an experience. From a recruiter perspective this can be frustrating as well as most recruiters aren’t paid until they place you. It’s a lot of work at times and a reason why they will put the pressure on in the first place. However, this doesn’t help you when making such a huge life decision.

What can you do? We can’t always choose how other people will react to a situation. My best advice is to be completely transparent when entering into these situations. Many of the frustrations of recruiters come from being blindsided at the last minute. Let them know you are exploring other roles and how you rank them. Giving them this information at each step will make it easier at the end if you don’t choose their role. Being transparent in a process with everyone involved will only help you in making the right decision.

What to look for? A great partnership doesn’t happen overnight so look for recruiters that are building something for the long-term. There are many recruiters who see this as a career and will continue to follow up and work with you despite you finding a new role. Those are recruiters you can feel great about building a strong partnership with. They also are more likely to understand you are making huge life decisions and will support you regardless of them getting compensated.

Specialized in your field

Recruitment has become a profitable industry because of how tough it can be. This has led to many people and organizations getting into it without much experience. One consequence of this is that many recruiters are not specialized in a specific skill set or even field at times. This means they don’t really understand much about what you do and the market. Not having access to a market expert could hurt your chances of finding or securing the right opportunity. An expert in their field can offer so much more value to a candidate searching for something new.

What can you do? Asking questions to the recruiter about the market and your skill set can give you hints to their knowledge. Even paying attention to the questions they ask you can help in understanding if they are specialized. You can also look into the company or recruiter online to see how specialized they are.

What to look for? Look to build partnerships with people who understand your skill set and market. Many recruitment firms are specialized or have divisions dedicated to industries like IT. Having a true expert in your corner will help you in making your decision and will increase the likelihood of getting relevant roles.

Finding your next career opportunity is a full-time job so finding a recruitment partner to help is essential. However, the key to your success is dependent on the partners you choose. Picking the right ones with so many options can be tough but using these 5 things to look for in a recruitment partner will help.

How avansai can help?

We are dedicated to being a partner to both our candidates and clients. Our role isn’t only to find you a new career opportunity but help you in all aspects of your career. If you’re looking for something new check out our Career Matrix. If you just want some Career Advice we offer that too.

Jason Levy

Co-Founder @ avansai