6 types of Recruiters that make you jump off the cliff

My day freshens up upon getting a cold beep from a Recruiter through LinkedIn.  It’s like someone just notices you out of the blue!

I must be in luck.

Having the opportunity to get linked up, as a typical corporate guy, this means I may be the winning candidate for the next job.

Perhaps, a pay raise, a new role?

When I mention “Recruiters”, they are your next door friendly and professional people whom worked in global Executive Search companies or a boutique firm with less than 5 people that focus on a specific industry vertical (e.g. aviation, property, consumer goods, energy, cloud & tech etc.)

So, imagine my delight.  This is how I feel in the beginning.   Not sure for you my friend but boy, I am thrilled to get this.

Then, as time goes by with multiple conversations, I realise that there are different types of Recruiters in the market.  The outcome varies and sometimes leads to disappointment.

There are quality ones and the “not-so-good” ones.
Good to be aware.

So, let me be the “devil’s advocate” to list down 6 types of Recruiters to watch out:
(you are warned!)

four people holding green check signs standing on the field photography
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Recruiters who do not have any job leads

It’s amazing that a Recruiter will ping you and say that they have a job opportunity.  Later, you search in LinkedIn – the exact description is the same as the outline that you receive from him/her.  A straight-off cut and paste copy.

OK, perfectly fine.  After all, it’s a competitive market and most Hiring Managers do not really sign exclusive contracts with Recruiters as far as I know.

After sending your resume over, the Recruiter does not respond back or just put a note saying they have not heard back.

I think this is “off the hook” type that you should avoid.

Recruiters who send three to four liners, expecting you to be interested

This can be the second group which I think ruin their initial reputation.

Let me explain.

While respecting their client confidentiality (i.e. name of the company),  the Recruiter sends you three to four lines of the job description and expect you to be interested.

And these sentences are not the ground-breaking indicators to lead you make a decision.

It’s shocking, I must say.   Just like someone tells you to buy a TV – here is it dude, only $200 – “take it or leave it” approach.

The Recruiters have to realize that they are the ones to make the first point of contact.  Therefore, it’s reasonable to put forth a clear opportunity that will make you take the conversation deeper.

Enough said.

Recruiters who mass prospect

Instead of reading and picking out keywords in LinkedIn that best suit the job description, Recruiters do a mass prospecting.  They edit some words such as your name (to be personalised) and send direct to your InMail, the inbox of your LinkedIn account.

What will happen is that you receive a mailer stating that this job requires 2 years experiences, individual contribution asking if you are interested. But you have been in that same industry for 10 years – promoted to a Senior Manager leading a small team.

Wow!  What a complete mismatch.

Recruiters who do not understand your profile

LinkedIn has the ability to structure your profile in terms of experiences and expertise.

It’s always advisable for a Recruiter to spend an estimate of 3-5 minutes studying your profile, to get a sense of whom you worked for, what you can do, what your accomplishments are.  Thereafter, arrange a call to understand and reaffirm your expertise.

Even if you put one liner sentence and indicate the company, a quick Google will reveal the type of firm that you have worked for.

Inexperienced Recruiters may not exude the level of professionalism.  They do not understand your job responsibilities, didn’t ask much and start to deviate away.  Then, they talk right into how great their client is, how you must work for this new company.

Worse case – the Recruiter does not read your background at all.  They blanket it and say “tell me your profile.”

Well-polished Recruiters get an idea of who you are first.  Not necessary to know everything.  But they naturally engage you right in the conversation with thoughtful questions.  You feel comfortable to answer, sensing the right chemistry between the Recruiter and you.   This should be the one of the deciding factors to choose your Recruiter.

Recruiters who do not have knowledge in your industry

Almost every industry has their quirkiness and unique points.

For example, consumer goods need professionals who know about trade terms in retail or understand about management of key accounts in specific channels.

I see most Recruiters have some understanding or experiences on this and therefore be able to align similar industry language with you.  This is important for both his/her client and you.

But if you meet one that has zero clues about the inside-out of your industry, it’s hard to appoint this Recruiter to represent you.  Not that the Recruiter needs to get everything right, at least a general idea about how this industry works.

A great way to ask is “can you tell me about your background in this industry?”

The caveat here is, the Recruiter may not come directly from the sector but he/she has knowledge on the dynamics or indirectly worked there.  This can be a potential consideration.

Recruiters who ask your current pay package in their first sentence

Recruiter uses your last drawn pay (assume you give) as the first box in his checklist.  Never the intention to investigate your background.

Nothing wrong with that.

Ok, I get it – it’s realistic.  Higher pay, you will consider jumping over.  Lower pay, you are out. But wait….will you prefer to keep you existing remuneration in check first?

By mentioning your monthly pay cheque, the Recruiter has the upper hand to completely screen you out. Of course, it makes life easier for the Recruiter.

Think again.

Are you completely missing out a potential stepping stone to further progress your career?  Maybe the Hiring Manager is open to negotiate?

Perhaps, this new role is the chance to the Holy Grail.

Take this opportunity to counter-react with questions on the job description first.  Who knows, this will lead to something interesting.   The monthly figure comes later.


There is a reason why there are well established international search firms that cater to different segments (i.e. pool of candidates) – the Executives, the Senior Management and the CEOs and above.  Simply because the bar is raised, there is a need for better quality.

Each requires a distinctive set of seniority and expertise.  In addition, differentiate in industry verticals.  For example, a Recruiter can be a Senior Consultant specialising in consumer goods – he looks out for candidates with minimally 5 years of experiences.  Another works with candidates with less than 5.

Not one who either mass sends, no leads or take the lazy route out.  A key reason is because the barriers of entry have been loosened with the fast pace of technology. Henceforth, a Recruiter can be a person whom pulls up his chair, sits by the table, turns on his laptop and easily does the job of linking up.

It’s useful to identify the groups of Recruiters who don’t fit right into your criteria. Saves time, effort and the ultimate disappointment.

In my next post, I shall talk about how you can choose the type of Recruiter to work with, to rightfully represent you to the Hiring Manager.

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