How employers can differentiate between a good and bad recruiter – should be simple right?

Putting your faith in a recruiter to source the cream of the crop in the talent market is usually considered a safe bet. With little time on your hands, it makes business sense to work with an external staffing agency or independent recruiter.

However, while passing the buck to an expert can save employers time, it’s not always easy to spot a bad recruiter off the bat.

Choose the wrong or bad recruiter and it will likely have a domino effect on the caliber of your candidates – not to mention your employer brand. Luckily, there are a few tell-tale signs that can help you steer clear from rogue recruiters:

Quality over quantity

Talent sourcing isn’t a numbers game. Instead, recruiters should be focused on finding the best-suited candidates for a particular role. When a recruiter casts their net too wide, the employer is left with a towering pile of mediocre candidates to sort through: a time-consuming task that they didn’t expect to have to do when seeking professional assistance.

If your recruiter is focusing on quantity over quality, they’ll usually attempt to engage candidates through a mass-outreach campaign.

A good recruiter, on the other hand, spends more time nurturing higher quality candidates through personalized messaging and relationship building.

Following up

Nobody likes to be left hanging, whether they’re a hopeful applicant or an eager employer. When a recruiter fails to notify candidates of the status of their application or the outcome of an interview, they are left to cross their fingers and wait for the thumbs up or thumbs down.

After a few weeks of silence, you can’t be surprised if they start voicing their frustration on social media.

In turn, your employer branding takes a hit – all because your recruiter was lazy or absent-minded. Good recruiters always follow up on communications with candidates to ensure they aren’t left with a bad taste even if their application was unsuccessful.

Following a rejection, they keep their talent pool engaged in case another opportunity arises later down the line.

Differentiating between a bad recruiter and good recruiter

Speaking the language

Whether or not a recruiter has taken the time to learn the lingo and immerse themselves in industry knowledge is a good indicator of their commitment and determination.

This is especially true in tech, where a lack of sector-specific vocabulary can make a recruiter look clueless to the candidates they’re engaging.

A good recruiter will make an effort to learn about the roles they are trying to fill; they understand the importance of gaining an awareness of industry jargon and even just names of tools, programs and techniques.

This knowledge better equips them to matching roles to candidates with the right skills and experience.

Thinking ahead

One of the key differences between a good and bad recruiter is their ability to plan ahead. You’ll know if you’re in a safe pair of hands by judging the recruiters network: have they spent time building relationships with passive candidates?

Do they keep in touch with past applicants? A good recruiter doesn’t simply start browsing the web when a client needs a vacancy filled, they collaborate with hiring managers to forecast their long-term needs and nurture a network that reflects this.

When the need arises, your recruiter should already have a pipeline of prospective employees ready to tap into.

Read a recruiters ratings & reviews

If you want true validation of a good recruiter, search a specific recruiter rating and review platforms to see what the recruiter’s clients and candidates have actually stated about the recruiter’s service that they received, nothing is more powerful than previous happy customers. 

However, using the right rating site is important, use a rating site that uses a trusted rating method. uses a 3-point verification check to all reviews that are requested by the recruiter ensuring non-gamification of the system i.e. fake reviews.

If the recruiter has not listed reviews but their profile looks suitable for your hiring needs, send them a quick messaging asking them for a reference from a previous customer, if they reject this, you know they are not the partner for you.

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