How Do You Spot A Good Recruiter?

We’ve all been there… You’ve reached a point in your current job role where you’re feeling deflated, let down and quite simply want to find a position that you’d enjoy on a day-to-day basis. Maybe you’ve reached a point where you just want to move to a new environment, or you’re simply lacking challenge and have nothing to progress towards at your current workplace. Regardless of the reasons, finding a new job is an important life decision for you and it’s essential you find/work with a recruiter who recognises this and gives you the kind of service this assignment requires.

We’ve got a very, very low fall out rate at Sumo, with 98% of the candidates we place staying in their new role for 12 months, and we largely believe this is down to our philosophy of building a strong relationship with each and every candidate we work with.

Over the years, and in the digital sector, I’ve found some candidates are becoming more hesitant about working with recruiters. Now I can’t speak for all recruiters, but I think this is down to two things…

1) Candidates believing recruiters are all the same and are only in it for the commission.
2) Recruiters not having any Idea about a candidate’s job or the industry

I’d like to address both of these points.

The ‘believing recruiters are all the same’ reason

Simply put, we’re not all the same. I can understand why people think this – I even thought this was the case before I joined the recruitment world. A large number of people have the view that the recruitment industry is cutthroat and full of con artists. They feel this way because they hear (often from unsuccessful recruiters in their social circles who have ceased working in recruitment!) that it’s such a target/KPI driven sector, there’s no compassion to candidates/clients and is entirely dominated by trying to make money. At Sumo, whilst we do have targets to work to, the real emphasis, the real target, is on delivering quality to candidates and clients alike. Because of the latter, we’ve been really successful and that’s why we’ve been here for a number of years! But, how do you recognise a good recruiter? Here are some things to look out for to recognise the good ones:

The recruiter…

  • … asks you pertinent questions about your experience and desires about your next role. Taking care and interest in doing so. Not top line, generic questions
  • … can talk through the industry with depth and breadth referring to specific companies and individuals you’d likely know
  • … listens to you, and only runs roles past you that match your experience and desires. Hence not ‘forcing’ you into an application or interview
  • … doesn’t send you a job description straight off the bat, without having a conversation with you first. (this subject will feature soon as another one of my blog posts as there’s plenty to say about this!)
  • … actually shows care and empathy for your situation and recognises this is a major life decision for you

I could write more, but in my opinion these are the most important..

There is a real benefit to recruiters by following the points above, especially given that our industry is built on our relationships with people… If we do a good job for you, you will: remember, recommend and re-use us.

The ‘believing recruiters have no idea about my job or the industry I work in’ reason

This isn’t true for all recruiters. Some do, but others don’t. Much like any profession, Lawyers, Cleaners, Farmers, PPC Managers… you get good ones and you get bad ones. To become good though takes time.

If any of you have read the book ‘The 10,000 Hour Rule’, by Malcolm Gladwell you’ll understand this principle well. For those that haven’t, in short, the principle states that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field. Now for a recruiter working 9 -10 hours a day (Yes, it’s long hours, but that’s recruitment for you!), this would take 3 – 4 years. Obviously, there are other variables to this that I haven’t taken into account but go with it.

Now if you’re beginning conversations with a recruiter who’s worked in your industry for 3 – 4 years, generally speaking, they’re going to be pretty good at what they do. If they weren’t that good, it’s likely they would have left the recruitment world a long time before that. Now with this amount of time invested in a specific market, you can be confident that the recruiter knows what you do in the industry, and knows it well.

Undoubtedly, you’re still going to encounter relatively “New” recruiters who don’t have this much experience. So does that mean you ignore them? No. You’re right to be hesitant, but give them a chance. I have (and still do) work with some recruiters who are absolutely excellent at what they do and they don’t have 3 – 4 years experience. They’re organised, driven and really go above and beyond to deliver.

So I guess the lesson here is to give everyone a chance to prove themselves, but the longer a recruiter’s been doing the role, the better they’re likely to be.

So when it comes to finding your next role in the digital space, think of this article and think of Sumo.


Leave a Reply