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5 Types of Recruiters who will make you disappointed

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

My day freshens up upon getting a cold beep from a Recruiter through LinkedIn. It’s like someone just notices you out of the blue!

I must be in luck.

Having the opportunity to get linked up, as a corporate guy, this may mean I can be the next potential candidate for a new job.

Feels good eh?

Welcome to "Singapore has talent!"

By the way, when I mention “Recruiters”, they are your next door friendly and professional people whom worked in recruitment companies or a boutique firm with less than 10 people.

So, imagine my delight. This is how I feel in the beginning. Not sure for you my friend but boy, I am thrilled to get this.

Then, as time goes by with a few more Recruiters reaching out to me for similar job roles, I realize that I am no longer special. It's just like I am one of the checked-out buttons in their day-to-day prospecting.

But the good ones are the guys who really take a strong interest in your corporate experiences. They listen, ask more questions to understand you further.

As such, I have compiled 5 questions for you to screen qualified Recruiters who can diligently serve your interests.

The “not-so-good” ones just ask the superbly basic "tell me more about your profile" - and immediately pigeon-hole me into " don't have this experience, so I'll strike you off...let me find you something that I feel you can do"

Goodness me!

How is it possible to shortlist someone and offer something right away after one question in less than 2 minutes?

Even my fishbowl noodle seller asks whether I need chili, more noodles, dried or wet etc...

Yeah, the Auntie just tailor made my food (of course, food request need just 1 minute)

So, after talking to a number of the HeadHunters - let me be the bad guy to list down 6 types of Recruiters that you should strike off:

Recruiters who copy from job ads - and claim they have job leads specially for you


I did experience something like this before.

It’s amazing that a Recruiter will ping me and say that they have job opportunities on hand.

After searching in LinkedIn – the exact description is the same as the outline that I have received from the Recruiter. A straight cut-off and PDF right away. This means they do not have any. Just taking off-the-cuff from the shelf.

OK, perfectly fine. I'll give you a "walk out of jail" card.

After all, it’s a competitive market and most Hiring Managers do not really sign exclusive contracts with Recruiters as far as I know.

But please, do not exaggerate to say that you have this relationship and therefore offering the candidates (yup, that's me) this opportunity because Company A is expanding.

Worse, the Recruiter does not respond back or follow through. It's silence. I send a note over, only to know that they give back the typical answer "Company A is not interested..."

Perhaps, this is why they act as just a pure transaction Middlemen with no relationship with the companies (clients), no relationship with you (candidate).

Do you want them on your side then?

Recruiters who send three to four liners, expecting you to express interest in the job

This can be the second group which I think ruin their initial reputation.

Let me explain.

While respecting their client confidentiality (i.e. not revealing the name of the company), the Recruiter sends you three to four lines of the job description and expect you to be interested.

Very basic stuffs.

For example, the job requires you to talk to clients. Adding on, you need to handle the operational aspects and speak with the client to handle their needs.

Can you literally sniff out the specific skills required to perform this role? What sort of needs? What type of operations?

Honestly, I can't decipher.

Perhaps, Recruiters does this to avoid me going directly to the firm. If they are good, they will have excellent relationships with the Hiring Managers. The Recruiters will send you the full job description.

Recruiters who did not bother to check out your profile

Instead of reading and picking out keywords in a qualified person's LinkedIn account that best suit the job description, poor Recruiters do a mass prospecting.

Good Recruiters have paid LinkedIn accounts.

They should be competent to search your profile.

If it's not possible, they will still ask a set of questions to determine your seniority, experiences and abilities.

The poor Recruiters will assume after they take the job ads, send you a note via LinkedIn and ask whether you are keen.

But the role is a junior position.

I am once directed by a Recruiter to a position that is an entry-level role though I am now in a mid-senior role. There isn't any questions asked in the beginning.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate any levels. But I have been doing this in the past since 7 years ago. This isn't my career focus now.

Seems like the Recruiter didn't do any due diligence.

What a complete mismatch.

Recruiters who do not have knowledge in your industry

Almost every industry has their quirkiness and unique points.

For example, consumer goods need professionals who know about trade terms in retail or understand about management of key accounts in specific channels.

Most Recruiters have some understanding or experiences on this and therefore be able to align similar industry language with you. This is because they have segmented to industry-specific territories. For example, a team of Recruiters only specialize in Consumer and Retail while another team focuses on financial technology and insurance.

But if you meet one that has zero knowledge about the inside-out of your industry, it’s hard to get this Recruiter to sell your profile to the end client.

Not that the Recruiter needs to get everything right, at least a general idea about how this industry works.

A great way to ask is “what do you know about this industry?”

Recruiters who ask your current pay package in their first conversation with you

Ok, I get it – it’s realistic. Cut the chase.

If the job doesn't offer me this amount, I won't take up. So, it's fair that the Recruiter ask about my current salary and expected remuneration.

Take a rain check here.

I have been asked dozen times.

Often, as a potential job candidate, I do not wish to reveal anything first. Amount can be figurative and subjected to further negotiation.

Surely, I do not wish the Recruiters to eliminate me by monetary terms. I will like to know where my expertise is able to fit in first.

I also do not want to miss out any job opportunities. Maybe, this new role is a stepping stone towards my next career destination.

Take this opportunity to counter-react with questions on the job description first.

I did just that by asking "can I understand deeper into the expectation of this role first?"

Key Takeaways

There is a reason why there are well established international search firms that cater to different segments – the Executives, the Mid-Managers and the Senior Management.

Each Recruiter needs a level of maturity and experiences to deal distinctively with them.

A poor Recruiter is one who either mass sends, negligible leads or takes the lazy route out.

It’s useful to identify the groups of Recruiters who don’t fit right into your criteria. Saves time, effort and the ultimate disappointment.

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