The Five Recruiters You Meet on the Job Search

By Carly Rome


Five recruiters. One job search. Whole lot of stress.

Inspired by my own riveting job hunt, here are five types of recruiters and potential employers that any post-grad may encounter while looking for work – and some tips for communicating with them.

  1. The Recruiter/”Talent Consultant”

You reached out to me on LinkedIn claiming that you could help me find a good position in my field. I figured, why not? It’s rare for people to want to help you at no charge, so I figured I’d see what you were all about. Now that I went out of my way to meet you at your office, told you my whole life story, and provided you with at least ten copies of my résumé, you’re suddenly unreachable. I haven’t heard back from you since, and I wonder how either of us were supposed to benefit from this.

My advice: You can always look up the recruiter online, either via recommendations or endorsements on their LinkedIn profile or via good old fashioned Google search. Does this recruiter have many success stories? Are any of his or her past clients in your field of work? Always do your research, and go ahead and set up a meeting if everything feels right. However, keep applying to jobs and communicating with employers directly – recruiters are typically not the most timely people, and you probably don’t want to depend on one.

  1. The Cold Caller

YOU called ME. Not once, not twice, but three times now. You’ve left me multiple voicemails (and I hate voicemails). And, the worst part – I never. even. applied. You sound practically desperate for employees – and the job is entirely commission-based! You boast the promise of an entry-level marketing position (*no experience required*) with potential to grow rapidly within the company…by advertising the same job every single day on thirty different job boards. Hmm, do I smell a pyramid scheme?

My advice: This type of situation calls for some investigating. To make sure that you’re spending your time applying to legitimate companies that won’t leave you flat on pay day, utilize sites like and read up. Recruiters who blow up your phone and inbox on a daily basis are undoubtedly sketchy. You can probably trust the age-old phrase, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

  1. The Last-Minute Flake

You’ve changed the time and date of our phone interview multiple times, all at the last possible minute. Better yet, I paid $22 and some precious free time to take an early morning train over to your office, only to receive a phone call from you thirty minutes before our scheduled (and twice confirmed) interview telling me that you’ll need to reschedule. Oh, and how many follow-up emails can I send before I start to sound desperate? Is this a job hunt, or a man hunt?

My advice: As the applicant, of course it’s your job to follow up and persistently demonstrate interest in the position. However, you don’t have to let flaky recruiters take advantage of you or keep you waiting for too long. If you’ve already followed-up and have yet to hear back, kindly follow-up again to confirm whether or not you are still being considered for the position.

  1. The Uncomfortable Question-Asker

Sure, I know that you’re trying to put me on the spot here – it’s kind of your job. But if you have to add a preemptive “you don’t have to answer this, but…” is it really a good question? A common example of this is the always delightful “what are your greatest weaknesses?” Designed to reveal more about your personality and work habits, this question is notorious for killing positive vibes.

My advice: Be honest! It may sound cliche, but you most definitely don’t want to catch yourself in any lies during your interview. In the case of a face-to-face interview, your body language will inevitably tell all. You’re human, you have weaknesses – share them. Then, you can add a positive spin by sharing a way in which you’ve strived to overcome that weakness.

  1. The Unpaid Internship in Disguise

While unlimited MetroCards and free office lunches are great incentives, these perks sans base pay do not quality your position to be advertised as a “paid internship.” While it’s great to hear that you offer real-world experience and refrain from sending your interns out on coffee runs, it’s even better when you cover job duties AND compensation from the get-go. As unpaid internships become less common and employers become more open to the idea of investing in their less-experienced talent, us job seekers want to know what we’re getting into. Don’t waste our time, and we won’t waste yours.

My advice: While it should never be the first thing you bring up during an interview or email correspondence, do not be afraid to ask for a clear description of the compensation availability early on. If you’ve totally ruled out the possibility of an unpaid internship, make sure your pay will involve actual money and not just “real-world experience, and an office full of snacks!”

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