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4 Signs Your Recruiter Isn't Really Looking Out for You

By Maurie Backman - Dec 14, 2017 at 7:02AM

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Here's how to know that it's time to start working with somebody else.

Though networking can be an extremely useful tool in landing a new job, there are many scenarios where it might also pay to enlist the help of a recruiter. Of course, there are pros and cons to going this route. On the one hand, recruiters can unearth opportunities you otherwise wouldn't have found on your own, and the good ones can provide the insight you need to really rock your interviews. On the flipside, there are many recruiters out there who are only in it for themselves, and those are the ones you'll want to avoid at all costs. Here are a few warning signs to look out for when recruiters start giving off a questionable vibe.

1. They push you to interview for jobs you don't want

As a job candidate, it's natural to shy away from job interviews for roles you're iffy about -- especially since interviewing can be a time-consuming, and sometimes stressful, experience. But while it's OK for your recruiter to occasionally encourage you to attend an interview you would've otherwise passed on, it's not OK for him or her to constantly pressure you into meeting with companies you're not interested in working for.

Professionally dressed woman shaking hands with another professional


Now your recruiter might claim that all interview experience is good experience, and that it pays to sit down with as many businesses as possible. But there comes a point when enough is enough, and if your recruiter doesn't acknowledge that, it may be time to move on.

2. They're liberal with rewriting your resume

It's a fairly common practice to tweak one's resume for a certain type of job. But if your recruiter gets into the habit of virtually rewriting your resume in response to specific openings, then it could be that you've found the wrong one to work with. It's a good thing to cater to what employers want, and to create the most effective resume possible. But if your recruiter keeps reinventing your experience and stretching the truth to accommodate what he or she thinks clients want to hear, it's a sign that you should withhold your trust.

Rewriting your resume to the point where it doesn't even reflect your work history or skill set won't end up helping you in the long run. If anything, it puts you at risk of getting caught in a lie, or, worse yet, getting hired for a job that you're nowhere near qualified to do.

3. They go dark on you repeatedly

A solid line of communication is essential to any strong recruiter-job seeker relationship. So if you come to find that your recruiter often goes days without returning your calls or emails, it could mean that he or she isn't all that invested in your success.

Remember, recruiters get paid for placing clients, so if yours suddenly becomes unresponsive, it could be that the recruiter has moved on to another candidate with better credentials and more potential. Chances are, if it were a true emergency keeping him or her from getting back to you, you'd have a way of knowing about it.

4. They're not open about money

While salary isn't the only factor to consider when deciding whether to pursue a job opening, it's an important one nonetheless. So if your recruiter constantly pushes you to interview for positions without disclosing salary information, it could be a very bad sign.

Why might your recruiter do this? It's simple -- the recruiter probably figures that if you get excited about a role, and hr or she finds a company that's interested in hiring you, you'll be more likely to accept a lower salary once those other factors seem to align. But in reality, taking too low a salary could hurt your career on a long-term basis. If your recruiter consistently fails to share firm numbers with you, it could mean you're being pushed to accept the first offer that comes your way so that the recruiter can collect his or her commission and move on to somebody else.

Though there are plenty of good reasons to work with a recruiter, the key is to identify the right one. Be mindful of these warning signs, and with any luck, you'll end up finding someone who truly does have your best interests in mind.

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