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Five Good Reasons To Fire Your Recruiter

I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life. Full bio

I was a Fortune 500 HR SVP for ten million years, but I was an opera singer before I ever heard the term HR. The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic the action became. I started writing about the workplace for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1997, but it took me ages to find my own voice. Now I write for the Huffington Post, Business Week, LinkedIn, the Harvard Business Review, the Denver Post and Forbes.com and lead the worldwide Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people. Stop by and join us: http://www.humanworkplace.com


You Don’t Agree On Your Career Direction

Some recruiters make fantastic career coaches, and others don’t. If you don’t agree with the career direction your recruiter believes is the next best step for you, run away. Every day in our office we hear from job-seekers who say “The recruiter tried so hard to convince me to stay in Software Quality, but I’m sick of it! I want a change!”

Of course the recruiter wants you to do the work you’ve already been doing. It’s going to be easiest to place you into a job exactly like the last job you had — but that doesn’t mean it’s the right job for you. If you can’t get your recruiter to see you the way you see yourself, take a hike!

You Don’t Agree On Your Salary Range

If you got paid only when one of  your job-seeking candidates accepted a job offer, wouldn’t you have a built-in incentive to tell job-seekers that their salary expectations are too high? You would.

We have a client, Gerry, who was told by a recruiter that the highest salary Gerry could expect was $75,000. Gerry thought that was ridiculous. He fired the recruiter and conducted his own job search. He got a new job for $105K. If your recruiter insists that the salary level you expect is out of your reach but your research and your gut say differently, flee!

That recruiter is trying to make a quick sale by placing you into a job below your capability. If you take that job, you’ll be donating some of your effort to your employer every day. Forget that nonsense!

He Or She Ignores You

Sadly for the excellent recruiters who work hard on behalf of their candidates, there are lots of sub-standard recruiters around. It takes no particular background or qualifications to become a recruiter, so anybody can use that title. Bad recruiters are famous for reaching out to job-seekers like you, grabbing their resumes and then going radio silent.

If you don’t hear from your recruiter at least once a week, and more often when you’re in the recruiting pipeline for a particular position, tell the recruiter you’re done! The employer pays the recruiter’s fee, but without candidates a recruiter couldn’t earn a dime.  A good recruiter will treat you like gold.

Your Needs Don’t Matter

When an employer is interested in you and the recruiter sets up an interview, your scheduling needs are just as important as the employer’s needs are. Recruiters who bully candidates are relying on the fact that the job-seeker needs a job so badly s/he’ll do anything, including interviewing at odd hours and taking endless online and off-line tests.

Our client Mindy had a recruiter demand that she create a PowerPoint presentation for a client she’d never met. When you’re working with the right recruiting partner, your needs are just as important as the employer’s needs are. If you’re not treated well, run away!

Your Recruiter Lies To You

“I swear,” said our client Brendan, “I told the recruiter exactly which certifications I hold. Now he’s telling me that I misstated my qualifications in our first phone call, and as a result I have to interview for lower-level jobs than the ones we first talked about.” The kind of bait-and-switch Brendan experienced with his recruiter are sadly common on the job-search trail. If a recruiter lies to you once, that’s it — you’re done. Just as in social relationships, when people show you who they are, believe them!

You wouldn’t let just anybody sell your house, and your career is way more personal than a real estate transaction is! Choose your recruiter carefully. If you end up with the wrong recruiter at first, give them the boot and find a new partner to work with in your job search. After all, it’s your career we’re talking about!

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