Role reversal in recruitment: why candidates should be screening recruiters

Job seekers have endured stories about managers and recruiters spending disproportionately short periods of time reading resumes and applications for years

With reports suggesting that the average time spent reading a resume is less than 10 seconds, this can feel pretty soul-destroying for eager and talented candidates who are tirelessly searching for the right opening; however, times the power is shifting.

Thanks to social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, recruiters can now find you with ease. This creates a shift in power, as the candidate becomes the one screening the recruiter and making the decision about whether they are the right person to represent them to potential employers.

To make this call, a candidate needs to ask the right questions and try to ascertain as much as possible about the recruiter’s motives and attitude, similar to how a manager would analyse a candidate in a traditional interview scenario.

To do this, a candidate should firstly understand that their time is valuable. A recruiter who interrupts your day with no prior warning and assumes that they can immediately launch into a mini-interview is not respecting this. This is particularly true if they are asking you to repeat things that are already on your LinkedIn profile.

It is the candidate who should be asking the questions, most specifically whether the recruiter has a specific role lined up that they think you would be suitable for. If so, you need to know the key details including salary, location and nature of the role at the very least. If the recruiter is unable or unwilling to answer these questions, it is likely that they are simply trying to add you to their database.

If they become rude, impatient or pushy about you asking them questions, end the call. Remember that these are the people who will be representing you to future employers and you don’t want to be tarnished by an unprofessional company with dubious ethics.

There is no doubt that the backing of a good recruiter can be a huge help to job seekers, but sadly not all recruitment firms can be classed as ‘good’. Know your worth and don’t settle for the first recruiter to contact you; instead, screen them and find out whether they are the right company to represent you before sharing your resume or personal details.

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