How to Screen Out a Bad Technical Recruiter – A Checklist

This article was written by Deborah Darcis, Technical Recruiting Director at hatch I.T.


Recruiters get a bad rap. I could see why the moment I entered the industry. Engineers have told me horror stories about everything: spam emails, cold calls, ghosting, lies, and even distributing resumes/applications without permission. I’ve heard it all. And I get it. But I love what I do and here’s why:

I get to change that perception. 

Thankfully, the horror stories are the exception and not the rule. As in every job, there are bad people in the recruiting industry. That said, the majority of recruiters are ethical, empathetic, and just doing their jobs.

So how can you tell the difference between a good recruiter and a bad one? Here are some ways our firm (and we as recruiters) differentiate ourselves. (Sidenote: I wrote these with technical recruiting in mind but they apply across all industries).

Did the recruiter take the time to review your background?

I know my email or LinkedIn message is one of many you get every day. Here is how mine is different:

  • The position I’m writing you about will be relevant to you. If you are a Java Developer, I’m not sending you a Node.js position. If you said you are only looking for a 100% remote role, I’m not sending you a position that requires 5 days in the office.
  • I will tell you the name of the client I’m working with. A lot of recruiters omit this out of fear you will bypass them and apply directly to the company. I’ve had this happen at least once that I know of. I’m sure it’s common, but I find the majority of engineers appreciate the transparency. I wouldn’t want to work with someone who would do that anyway. I will also tell you the salary, title, role details, tech, and anything else you need to know.

Does the recruiter respond promptly?

A good recruiter will work to get you detailed feedback and keep you updated. Whether the company wants to move forward with you or not, we’ll let you know either way.

Does the recruiter know tech and understand the role he/she is working on?

At hatch I.T., we make a point of staying up to date on the newest technologies. We’re always educating ourselves on everything tech.

Is the recruiter forthcoming and transparent with you?

At hatch I.T. we will not lie to you. We will give you all the information you need to make a decision. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I will tell you I don’t know. Then I’ll find the answer for you.

Does the recruiter avoid pressuring you?

At the end of the day, it is your career. You have to do what’s right for you. We are all trying to make a living and we spend so much of our lives at work, I would never want to place someone in a role where they will not be happy. I will give you a different perspective, be honest with you, and encourage you (but not pressure you) to have a conversation if you might be interested.

Be open to conversations but be wary of any recruiter who uses hard sales tactics or pressures you. This is especially true about job offers. It is reasonable to want to finish out the interview process with all the companies you are interviewing with.  If a recruiter or company is pressuring you to make a decision in a short time (1 – 2 days), that is a major red flag. It’s reasonable to ask for a week to make a decision.

Does the recruiter advocate for you and support you throughout the process?

A good recruiter will also be your advocate. We will make sure you know as much as possible in order for you to be successful. We’ll negotiate the most competitive offer we can for you. We’ll also talk through any concerns and offer advice where we can.

If you’re new to interviewing or working with a recruiter, please feel free to ask for advice. I will give you my honest opinion, even if it’s about another company or offer. I have actually encouraged a candidate to accept an offer that was not through me. We know the market and want to help people – even if it means we’re not the one that finds you that dream job. Maybe next time!

Does the recruiter stick around after you sign on the dotted line?

We stay in touch with our candidates and make sure the role is everything they expected. If there is a problem, we work to resolve it for you. We want to make sure you are happy with your decision!

I get it – I know my email is one of dozens you got that day. I understand the wariness around working with a recruiter. And if you’re not interested, no worries! Let me know. But keep an open mind because I might have a role you are interested in.

If an offer doesn’t work out, that’s okay too – let’s stay in touch! I’m not going to harass you or mislead you for my own benefit. That’s not who I am and besides, it’s not in my best interest!

I work in a niche area within a small community. I want you to remember me the next time you have a friend in the market or are thinking about exploring opportunities. I’m more interested in a long-term connection than anything else. If you are ever open to exploring the market, let us change your mind about recruiters!

If you’d like to connect, drop me a line on LinkedIn.


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Originally posted on LinkedIn: 

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