When looking for a new job, most of us these days will turn to recruiters for help. However, with so many recruiters out there it’s hard to tell the good from the disgraceful.   

The idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” is particularly pertinent in today’s recruitment industry. Recruiters, candidates and clients often judge whether they can trust and work with one another from digital appearances alone, and indeed sometimes a candidate and their recruiter will never meet face-to-face throughout the entire process.

This means that a recruiter’s professional success is increasingly reliant upon the quality of their digital profile, which means that recruiters and the companies they work for will go out of their way to have outstanding LinkedIn profiles. With compelling summaries, professional head-shots, endorsements and recommendations aplenty, even a few published articles, it's easy for any of us to get swept off our feet.

How can you tell if a recruiter is as good and trustworthy as their online profile suggests?

Here are the 10 Qualities of a Top Recruiter, according to Burns Sheehan:

1.       They have a genuine interest in your career aspirations

A good recruiter will want to build meaningful, long-term relationships with their candidates and clients. They will time to understand ‘you’ beyond your CV - your expectations, requirements, career aspirations, personal interests, preoccupations, home life, etc.  

2.       They keep you updated throughout the process

Applying for a new job can be a long and nail-biting process, but a good recruiter will make it as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. They should keep you regularly informed at every stage of the process, even just to tell you if it won’t be a while until they can provide you with new information.

3.       They’re happy to work around your schedule

A good recruiter will understand that you might not be able to talk during the day at the office and will be happy to arrange phone calls or meetings before work, after work or during your lunch break. Close to the time of your interview they should do their best to be ‘on call’ in case you want to ask any last minute questions or to hear how you found the interview.  

4.       They’re punctual

A good recruiter will call when you’ve agreed to speak and arrive to your meeting on time! If something comes up at the last minute, they’ll text or email to let you know.

Getting a new job is an important, life-changing part of your life, and a good recruiter will take it as seriously as you do. They should understand that you might be checking the time every few minutes, nervously waiting for feedback, so they’ll do you the courtesy of not making you wait any longer unnecessarily. A recruiter who forgets to call or calls you 50 minutes after you’d agreed isn’t going to make you feel excited or reassured about the new opportunity. Working with a recruiter that you trust and who is punctual will make the process much more streamline and pleasant.

5. They actually know their clients

Before applying for a role you’ll want as much information about the position and the company as possible. A good recruiter will be able to wax poetic about their client and the team you’d join so they can give you a clear overview of the role and the work culture. They will also have a strong relationship with the hiring manager or internal recruiter so they can describe their personality and interview style to you and offer some ‘insider’ tips on how to prepare for your interview.

6. They admit what they don’t know, and they get information for you quickly

Having said that, you can’t expect recruiters to know everything all the time! If you ask a question they don’t have the immediate answer to, a good recruiter will apologise and endeavour to get that information to you as soon as they can.

7. They focus on the long-term

A good recruiter won’t push you into a direction you’re not comfortable with. They’ll understand the value in understanding what you’re looking for and helping you find that role and would choose to wait and do what’s in your interest rather than what will get them some extra commission that month, knowing that they’ll have a bigger long-term reward by doing what’s right by you and their clients.

8.       They do their “homework”

Before reaching out to you, a good recruiter will have carefully read your CV, LinkedIn profile and, if applicable, will have looked at your online portfolio of work. This will allow them to have a strong understanding of your skills set and industry experience in order to discern what roles and industries would be relevant for you specifically. In adition, they will have prepared questions to ask you and will be ready for the questions you’re likely to ask them, too.

9.       They give you detailed, constructive feedback

Many recruiters will only give you positive or neutral feedback, depending on whether you’ll be progressing to the next stage. A good recruiter, however, will push their clients for some more constructive feedback so they can let you know where they have doubts and how to counter these in the next stage.

10.   They’re nice to work with!

Do you ever feel like the recruiter you’re talking to can’t wait to get off the phone? If so, it’s probably not worth working with them. They should be personable and considerate, taking as much time to hear about yourself as they are telling you about their role. If your gut instinct says you can’t trust the person, don’t rationalize that judgement away.

The good news is once you find a good recruiter you will hopefully be able to work with them over the course of your career!

Written by Izzy Griffin-Smith

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