Career Hub

Red Flags When Working With a Recruiter

This is some text inside of a div block.
Career Hub
Job Search
Nov 23, 2021
Aug 16, 2022

Red Flags When Working With a Recruiter

Dave Fano

Recruiters are often in their line of work because of their friendly nature, but at the end of the day, they have the company's best interests at heart. What should you look out for when job searching?

Getting in touch with recruiters is a common practice when you are seeking a job. Recruiters are responsible for assisting you in your search for work and guiding you on how to up your job-seeking game. So, it is always beneficial to be aware of how they operate and how they will help you.

Recruiters can aid you in your hunt for jobs. They are experts who have insights into the job market and possess the knowledge and skills required to navigate the recruitment process. Recruiters are well aware of how tedious and complicated this process is, not to mention emotionally stressful; therefore, they are there to assist you throughout all of it. 

What Do Recruiters Do?

Third-party agency recruiters, also called staffing agencies, are different from internal corporate recruiters. You might receive a message on LinkedIn from recruiters who are either in-house or from a staffing agency.

Most companies hire third-party agency recruiters, who essentially save the company resources by filtering out the candidates that meet company requirements. They furthermore connect these people to the ideal companies and businesses.

For a recruiter to do their job well, they must be aware and understand the aspirations, background, and needs of the job candidates. Thus, the recruiter must be connected to a job portal that gives them access to all of these. A recruiter must also simplify the jargon used in the employment world for the job seeker and become a source of guidance and expertise for them.

However, as in any area of life, you can encounter those who bring more trouble than good. The same goes for recruiters, who can create problems for someone on the lookout for a job and are already vulnerable. They can do this in several ways, many of which you can flag early on.

5 Red Flags to be Aware of When Working With a Recruiter

1. They Don’t Listen to You

Someone who is there to assist you in searching for the best-suited job can only do so if they know you well. If a recruiter shows more interest in talking at you rather than talking or listening to you, it is best to consider other options. Your recruiter is there to represent you on your behalf to your potential employer. If they do not know you or are not aware of your goals and needs, they will not represent you properly. As a result, the company might not be interested, or you may land a job that is not compatible with your needs at all.

2. Calling You for Jobs You Are Not Interested In

When you are looking for a job, you entertain every offer that comes your way. However, if your recruiter keeps coming up to you with any and every kind of job opening(s), it shows a lack of effort and disinterest on their part, which means they are not really concerned with digging up the perfect job for you, as they are required to. Such a recruiter is only wasting your time, so it’s best to move forward and look for another one.

3. Submitting Profiles to Jobs Without Your Consent and Forcing You to the Interview

For competitive reasons and personal gain, a recruiter may send your application to open roles without consent or go-ahead from you. If the employer is interested, you may feel pressured to interview for the job whether or not you want to.

It’s important to distinguish between a recruiter who supports you from one who is only there for personal gain. A recruiter may urge you to look into a role that you may not be convinced would work for you simply because they can gauge that it’s a well-matched bargain. In this situation, the recruiter is being intuitive and looking out for you. Be sure to know the difference between the two.

4. Requesting Free Work in the Form of an “Assessment”  

An assessment is an essential part of the hiring process because it helps the recruiters form an appropriate impression of the candidate’s skill. For this purpose, it is best to be certified and take recruiter-friendly automated assessments, which are third-party expert graded assessments that help you reduce implicit bias. They also decrease administrative work for recruiters. Assessments also put candidates at ease since they can be sure that companies want to gauge and assess their skills, not to snare free work.

However, if a recruiter does request free work from you in the form of an assessment that requires you to study up on some concepts and then spend hours writing or creating something, then you may be in trouble.

5. Unresponsive Attitude

Being a recruiter is an inherently busy job—given how they are juggling multiple candidates with different job requirements at a time. Conversations with a recruiter are likely to be precise and to the point. This, however, does not warrant unresponsiveness and disregard on the part of the recruiter. They should address your queries and concerns with due attention, be available to talk about interview preparations or post-interview debriefs, and give you regular updates regarding the job search. If you feel like your recruiter does not tick these boxes, they are not the one.

Things to Remember About Recruiters

A professional recruiter will always be honest with you and communicate the real picture. As a job seeker, you should always remember the following points about your recruiter:

  • Their priority is the client (the employer) and meeting their expectations. They may advocate for you, but they are actually representing the client.
  • Recruiters will not coach you. As a job seeker, you should know your goals and personalize your resume as per your talent and skill.
  • They might like you, but they are not the ones who have to move forward with the decision. Rather, it is the client who will do that. However, they are the ones who pass you the good or the bad news.

Teal Resume Builder Ad
Teal Resume Builder Ad
Teal Resume Builder Ad

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

We help you find
the career dream.

Career Hub


No items found.

Teal Newsletter

Subscribe for exclusive advice, updates, and news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.


5 Women Share Their Inspiring Career Journeys on the Nonlinear Podcast

by James Stevens

If you're looking to make a career pivot in 2022, you're in good company. The Great Resignation (a.k.a. the Great Reshuffle) has people rethinking the type of work they're doing.