OK, we’re a little biased, but we think you shouldn’t work with just any recruiter. These are three tips you need to think about before signing a contract with a recruiter.

What Type of Questions Did They Ask You on That First Call?

Nothing tells you more about a recruiter than the questions they ask you on the first call. Are they actively interested in making your life and your business better? Or are they interested in finding a mediocre candidate quickly and getting their commission? What they ask you is more telling than they realize.

If, on that first call they’re asking about your values and what makes your company tick, they are trying to align to your company’s cultural fit. These type of recruiters will ask about your mission, your founding story, and your vision. Good ones will use their expertise in the industry to provide feedback and guidance.

When a recruiter asks you only about the minimum technical requirements to fill a role – that should be a red flag. Avoid those resume farm recruiters.

Response Time

Remember the last time you emailed the recruiter. How long did it take for them to answer? One hour, one day, or one week? Good recruiters make their client’s priorities their priorities. The quicker the response rate, the better off you are. After all this is a service based industry, they should be providing service.

Watch out for the recruiters that take a long time to get back to you. Then you’re just a number in a queue. Successful talent agency relationships occur when a good relationship is formed.

Look for Personal Alignment

While hard to put a finger on this one, you know it when you see it. A recruiter is an extension of your company. They will represent you and your company’s brand to potential employees. Ask yourself “is this person good enough to get hired internally?” If not, wave off.

A few personality traits tend to go hand in hand with personal alignment. We define these three:

  • Respectful – Do they respect your time, your perspective, and your problems?
  • Humble – People make mistakes, it’s a fact of life. How do they handle it when they do? Only bad recruiters won’t tell their clients negative news.
  • Intelligent – I’m not talking about their high school Algebra grades. Are they emotionally intelligent? When they listen to you do they really listen? Are they internalizing what you need and why you need it? Or are they just writing down notes to fill out a standardized form?

There are many ways to vet a recruiter, we recommend starting with these three techniques and build your own tests. There is nothing more important than finding good talent, and a good recruiter will help you do that.