Over the years, I have had many interactions with recruitment agents. In fact, I got my last 2 programming jobs thanks to the help of recruitment agents. This post shares with you what I have learned about recruiters, what to look out for and how you can get the best from them.

Why do I need a recruitment agent?

You don't need to have a recruitment agent, but it does help. Often they will have a good relationship with the hiring company which in some cases if they think you are a good fit for the role, it can be as good as a recommendation from someone inside the company.

They can be doing the work of searching for a role for you whilst you are at work in your current role, or you could be busy doing training, getting ready for your next job. You may be good at your job, but not very good at selling yourself. They will be able to sell you to the hiring companies, making them see what a great candidate you are.

When you find a good recruiter, you will know

A good recruiter will put you at ease right away, and they won't put pressure on you. Some recruitment companies have internal training systems to help you brush up your skills or increase your knowledge of certain topics, ready for an interview, especially for Tech-related jobs. Make sure you ask if they have this to offer you.

If you find a good recruitment agent, hang on to them. Stay in touch with them, you never know when you might need them again. I have some great relationships with recruiters now because of this. They are the ones I would recommend to others and they are the ones I would get in touch with first if I find myself looking for a new role. Every now and again, they will message me or I will message them seeing how each other is getting on.

Learn how to spot time wasters

Don't waste your time with ones who sound like they are in a call centre and want to ask you lots of questions about your current situation and what you are looking for in a role. These ones are time wasters and usually don't have anything for you, they are just adding or updating a record in their internal system. Having said this, never be rude to them. If it is not convenient to talk to them or you are not interested at this time, ask them to send you an email or connect with you on LinkedIn.

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You don't have to stay exclusive to one recruiter

You can get different agencies working for you looking for suitable roles. Just make sure they don't each put you forward for the same role. Just be careful here though as bad recruiters will use this as an excuse to ask you which other companies you have been put forward for. Don't tell them, they are just trying to find out the company names so they know what jobs are available and will start sending candidates to those companies. A good recruiter won't ask you the names of the other companies you have been put forward for. They will just ask you to tell them when they tell you about a job that you have already been put forward for.

Make sure they send you a copy of the job specification

I know this sounds stupid but some of them don't send it to you. You need to make sure the job they describe on the phone is the same as the one in the specification. You don't want to be put forward for a job you are clearly not suited to. It will be a waste of your time and the hiring company's time.

A good recruiter keeps you informed throughout the process.

If you find they ignore your calls or don't get back to you when they say they will, let them know and give them a chance to improve. If they don't improve and you have a bad feeling about them, politely let them know you don't want to continue with them, unless you are already too far down the process with interviews lined up or that have already taken place. In this scenario, you should continue with them for this role, but put it down to experience and don't use them again.

Let the recruiter negotiate the salary for you

Don't discuss the salary in your interview, the recruiters are the professionals, they do this for a living and, therefore, will be better at negotiating than you.

You don't need to pay them.

They make a commission from the company who employs you, so it doesn't cost you a penny.


I hope you find this article useful. Please feel free to share with you, friends or colleagues.

Paul Seal

Umbraco MVP and .NET Web Developer from Derby (UK) who specialises in building Content Management System (CMS) websites using MVC with Umbraco as a framework. Paul is passionate about web development and programming as a whole. Apart from when he's with his wife and son, if he's not writing code, he's thinking about it or listening to a podcast about it.

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