How to recognize a good recruiter

With so many search firms and staffing companies in the marketplace, how do you recognize a good recruiter and identify the one that best suits your needs? What differentiates the best recruiters from the rest of the pack? Which ones will help you achieve your goals and objectives? The answer is a combination of factors. Here is some helpful advice on how to identify a good recruiter.

1. Ask around.

Ask friends, work colleagues, and professional societies. Word-of-mouth is a reliable approach, as people within the industry are eager to praise good recruiters and are able to identify weaknesses in others.

2. Look for recruiters who specialize in your field or industry.

These recruiters are most likely to have the largest network of potential candidates and jobs, because they are focused on a specific field.

3. Ask a recruiter why they chose their search firm for employment.

Their answer should provide strong insight. Was it because their firm has a positive reputation in the industry? Because their co-workers have an abundance of experience? Or, that they work together as a team, as opposed to individually? Understanding what attracted them to their place of employment will tell you a lot about the recruiter and his/her search firm.

4. Ask a recruiter how long they have been in the industry.

A recruiter’s tenure won’t give you all the answers. Just because a recruiter hasn’t been in the industry that long, doesn’t mean they aren’t good at their job (after all, a good recruiter has to start somewhere). However, if a recruiter has been in the industry a long time, it often means it is because they enjoy what they do.

5. Ask a recruiter about the companies they represent.

Are the companies/industries relevant to your search? How reputable are these companies? Are the companies large with a significant workforce, or are they small independent companies? Even if you like the recruiter, they are not going to meet your needs if they don’t specialize in your desired industry or field.

6. Is the recruiter a professional accountant?

Have they had experience in the accounting field? A recruiter with accounting experience is in a better position to understand your career and what you are looking for. Similarly, for companies looking to hire, this recruiter is in a more advantageous position to screen for the best-suited candidate. With accounting knowledge, the recruiter is able to better understand the technical complexities of the role, and thus be able to properly fill the position.

7. Has the recruiter taken time to meet with you face-to-face?

It is difficult for a recruiter to establish a good relationship with a candidate without a face-to-face meeting. This in-person interaction enables a recruiter to take time to understand your needs. Without fully understanding what is important to you, how can a recruiter successfully meet your goals and objectives?

8. Does the recruiter respond to you in a timely fashion?

Once you have met a recruiter in-person and a relationship has been established, the recruiter should respond to your email/call in a timely fashion. If you are continually disappointed with the response time from your recruiter, it is time to find another recruiter who will be more responsive to your needs.

9. What is the search firm’s protocol around privacy?

It is of the utmost importance that the recruiter and search firm have a privacy policy, and keep your information confidential. Search firms and recruiters should adhere to the privacy laws of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.


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