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The quickest ways to make a recruiter hate you

Some blunders are merely irritating, while others can make recruiters run when they hear your name.

The quickest ways to make a recruiter hate you

Don't sabotage your relationship with a recruiter.

If you’re trying to find a new job, recruiters can be your best friends. They can match you with employers and roles that are perfect for your skills, interests, and values. The best part about a recruiter is that all you really need to do is be your wonderful and talented self!

Alternately, you can totally alienate them and make them hate you!

All right, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but there are in fact things that job seekers routinely do that are total turnoffs to recruiters. And as a result, the people who could be hooking you up with a great gig might instead end up ditching you like a bad blind date.

Wondering what behaviors might put your file into a recruiter’s recycle bin? Here are the top seven ways you could sabotage your relationship with a recruiter.

1. Be unprofessional

Though a recruiter is not the hiring manager, you should still prepare to have an interview with the recruiter like you are presenting yourself to a hiring manager, says Brett Good, senior district president for Robert Half. “Be punctual for the call or interview, dress appropriately, and be prepared to talk about your skills and experience,” Good says.

Bottom line: Recruiters don’t work for you; their actual clients are the companies with job openings. It’s wise to be on your most professional behavior. Mind your manners, offer intelligent answers to their questions, and respect their time and efforts to find you a job. After all, if you can’t be bothered to make a good impression at this early stage of the process, why would the recruiters feel confident enough to pass you along to their clients?

2. Try to pull a fast one

When it comes to working with a recruiter, it’s extremely important to be open and forthright with them, says Rae Sanders, principal at talent acquisition firm WinterWyman. For example, if a certain position is a little out of reach from a skills perspective, let your recruiter know.

“In many cases,” she says, “a recruiter has the selling power to get you a shot at an interview—so the last thing you want is for your recruiter to represent your skill set incorrectly and leave you with an uncomfortable interview.”

Not only is this a bad look for you, but it can also ding the recruiter’s reputation. Because a recruiter’s job is to find the best possible candidates to pass along, their choices are a reflection of their judgment. Don’t make them look like they’re bad at their job.

Likewise, if your recruiter mentions a position that isn’t to your liking, give them some honest—and polite—feedback to let them know why. “They can use this information to better tailor their search for you,” adds Sanders.

3. Bring up money in your first conversation

Just as you wouldn’t walk into a job interview and ask about salary in the first five minutes, you should show some restraint with your recruiters as well.

“While salary is an important part of the job search,” says Good, “recruiters don’t want to hear a job seeker ask about compensation right off the bat, as it may make you sound pushy or presumptuous.” The good news is that compensation will almost always come up after you’ve told the recruiter a bit about yourself, and the recruiter has described the various positions available. Just be patient.

4. Be inaccessible

It’s simple: If your recruiter can’t reach you to schedule an interview or to deliver an offer, this can have a negative effect on your chances of landing the role, says Sanders. After all, recruiters are often evaluated by how quickly they can fill positions. Be sure to tell your recruiter your preferred method of communication—phone, email, text—and stick with it. And be sure to check it periodically so you don't miss any updates. By being slow to respond, you aren’t doing the recruiter—or yourself, for that matter—any favors.

Keeping the lines of communication open even after you’re hired is important, too. “When your recruiter helps you land a role and checks in to see how things are going,” says Sanders, “be responsive and keep them in the loop. If things are going well, they want to hear it.”

5. Go over the recruiter’s head

Another common mistake that job seekers make is contacting the employer directly when they’re also working with a recruiter. Part of a recruiter’s job is establishing a relationship with the employer, and then presenting you in the best way possible.

“If you're working with a recruiter for a specific position, don’t apply to that position in other ways (mail, online, in person), unless directed to,” says Good. Otherwise, you’ll create confusion and make the recruiter look bad. Let them do their job.

6. Nag them

Recruiters are busy people, working with many potential candidates and trying to fill multiple positions for several clients simultaneously. As such, they might take some time to get back to you. While it’s certainly OK to politely follow up with them if you haven’t heard back in a few days, multiple calls and emails per day is obnoxious.

7. Ignore their feedback

Your recruiter has a lot of insight and knowledge when it comes to resumes and interview techniques, so don’t take it personally if they give you constructive feedback.

Having a thin skin or taking offense to a recruiter’s advice will not help you in the long run. “In many cases,” Sanders says, “your recruiter has had someone interview at this company before and may be able to steer you in the right direction.”

Get on a recruiter’s good side

Your skills and experience could be exactly what a recruiter is looking for, but first you need to let them know you exist. Need help getting started? Join Monster today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. It’s a quick and easy way you can start to build valuable relationships with recruiters that can serve you well now as well as in the future.


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