The Job Seeker / Recruiter Contract (Or How to Avoid Bad Recruiters)


by David Lovell, Vice President of Business Development,

OK!  As an IT Services professional, I routinely research various user group discussion threads, read blog posts, etc. regarding IT placement and job opportunity.  As I read, a recurring topic seems to be emerging around the interaction and bad experiences a business professional has had with a Recruiter at some point in their career.  An experience that has soured them on the process and caused them to bucket all Recruiters in general as… well…Pond Scum.  I get it.  I do.  I recognize that there are some Headhunter types out there that have given the recruiting profession a bad name. They are only interested in “the deal”, getting it closed, and cashing the check.  They’re not thinking about you or “is this the right fit” or the long term relationship.  Some will submit you without your knowledge.  Some misrepresent the opportunity to you, and misrepresent you to the client. Any of this sound familiar?

It makes me mad knowing that some of these bottom feeders are out there leaving this bad trail behind them. It’s also frustrating to hear some job seekers, bucket all Recruiters and consulting companies together in one lump group.  That’s not fair. But then I smile and think of all of the proactive candidates Theoris receives and how many of our candidates we get as referrals from current staff.  I realize that folks do recognize the difference, for the most part, between the Headhunter approach and a professional organization that is there to be an agent in that career pursuit.  That being said, there is still help needed for those who have suffered those bad experiences.


Recruiters and professional consulting companies serve a very important role for numerous organizations and their pursuit of top talent. A company’s internal recruiters are typically more generalists by design. They are intended to recruit for everything across the board that the firm may need.  For highly specialized or technical needs such as IT, Engineering, Scientific or Quality/Regulatory Compliance, these companies will frequently look to outside professional Recruiters with a deeper knowledge and understanding of these areas.  The key as a job seeker is to align yourself with the right recruiter that can properly assist you.

So here are a few points to consider for today’s job seeker, when choosing and working with a Recruiter.

  • DO YOUR HOMEWORK – Research the Consulting Company / Recruiting firm you are considering working with. How long have they been around?  If they have been in business awhile that’s a pretty good indicator that they have a good customer base and have a good reputation or they wouldn’t survive in today’s arena.
  • REMEMBER YOU’RE IN CHARGE – The recruiter works for you.  You should feel very confident in establishing the ground rules on how this relationship works.  What types of opportunities you are interested in and what ones you’re not.  A trusted recruiter will agree to NEVER submit your resume ANYWHERE that they have not talked to you about FIRST, framed for you, and received your expressed permission to submit on your behalf.
  • BE HONEST AND FORTHCOMING – Communicate! Both the Job seeker and Recruiter should be able to put all cards on the table and feel comfortable around full disclosure on every topic, including other job opportunities in play, salary expectations, client process and status, competition in play, etc. You should expect the recruiter to be direct and forthcoming, and they should be able to expect the same.  If you are not feeling comfortable here, maybe this is not the right relationship.
  • LESS IS BETTER – Contrary to some beliefs, working with too many Recruiters can be counterproductive.  Often times it’s better to pick just a few Recruiters that are established, well connected, respected, etc.  You don’t want to risk having multiple recruiters trying to chase some of the same opportunities at the same time.  It creates confusion.

Hope my rant is helpful in some way.  I invite readers to share their thoughts, experiences and observations.  If you have had previous experiences with Theoris, feel free to comment.  If you have not,  check us out!!


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