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What your recruiter should never do

Using a recruiter to help find you a job or make a career change can be a wise move. Professional, experienced recruiters regularly fill some jobs so quickly they don’t need to advertise them. They can give great advice, help whip your resume into shape, coach you on interview techniques and stand by your side while you find that dream job.

Having said that, it’s important that you choose the right recruiter, and not all agencies are equal.

Here are some actions recruiters should not do and if your recruiter operates this way, you might want to look for another one. It’s also helpful to read what jobseekers don’t like about recruitment.

Make you sign a contract that you will only work with them

There is no legal requirement for you to sign such a contract and doing so puts unfair pressure on you. It also restricts your search for work since it stops you from applying for roles with another recruiter.

Ask your recruiter if they are a member of a professional body, such as the Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association of Australian and New Zealand. If they are, they should adhere to a code of ethics and only ever work in your best interests.

Put you forward for a role without your permission

When recruitment agencies get requests to submit applications for a job, it’s usually urgent. Agencies don’t want to lose opportunities to put jobseekers forward and some jump the gun and do so without formal permission from the jobseeker.

Your recruiter doesn’t have the right to do this and should never justify doing so with excuses like “I thought you’d be perfect for the position.” or “I couldn’t reach you so just went ahead.”

Recruiters who put you forward for a role without your permission could be putting you in an awkward position since they might not know about your relationship with the prospective employer. Also, you may have already given permission to another recruiter to put you forward for that same role. Some departments that receive the same resume from the same jobseeker through two recruiters are disqualified because of the conflict. This can happen without your knowledge, so you’ll want to use a professional recruiter who always seeks permission first.

Contact your referees without your permission

Even though your recruiter may be asked by a prospective employer to do a referee check as soon as possible, that doesn’t give the recruiter the right to do so without your permission. You can give permission to the recruiter to contact referees as and when required, but if you haven’t done so they need to check first.

Ask inappropriate questions at any stage of the recruitment process

Any questions asking you to reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status or sexual orientation are not legal and recruiters and prospective employers shouldn’t ask them.

Here are some other specific questions they shouldn’t ask:

Are you planning to have a family?

What is your age?

Are you married?

What is your religion or are you religious?

Are you pregnant?

Do you have any children?

Do you have any mental health issues?

What is your sexual preference?

Are you gay?

Are you transgender?

Pressure you to take a position

Recruiters who work on commission usually have to meet company targets. They can therefore be tempted to fill a job for the money, not because they’re 100 per cent convinced it’s the best job for you. These recruiters are driven to fill positions quickly so they can move on to the next buck. They’re consciously or unconsciously driven by numbers, not by people.

If you feel pressured by a recruiter to take a position, even though your gut tells you it might not be the best move for your career, consider this a red flag and head to another recruitment agency.

Note: face2face doesn’t work on a commission model, which means we’re never pressured to work this way. Instead, we’re free to work with all types of jobseekers and put their interests first.

Not return your phone calls or emails

Recruitment agencies (at least the best ones) are busy (sometimes super busy), but this isn’t a grand excuse to ignore you.

A great recruitment agency will have key performance indicators in place for returning calls and emails and a process for staying in touch with jobseekers.

Ask before you start working with a recruiter what their commitment is for returning calls and emails. If they don’t stick to what they’ve agreed, you might want to switch to a recruiter who communicates well, stays in touch and is responsive.

More information on choosing a recruitment agency

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