IT Employment

Have you ever worked with a recruiter?

Recruiters can be helpful when you're looking for a job, but experiences may vary.

There are advantages to working with a recruiter. They have access to resources you don't and they know who's hiring. But there are good recruiters and there are bad. Some people have bad experiences when the recruiter they've chosen to work with connects them with the wrong kinds of jobs. On the other hand, since it is in the best interest of the recruiter to find personnel for the companies they work with, their services to the job seeker are free.

So my question this week, is have you ever worked with a recruiter when looking for a job, and, if so, what was the experience like?


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Got to keep a few things in mind. First they get paid if you they fill a position, not if you get a job. Second if you or it should turn out to be unsuitable, the job comes up again Third, you could throw a small towel over the section of them that know anything about IT. Fouth they mainly deal with HR, ones who know even less. Five it's all our fault. After dealing with all this crap, actually ending up with enough money to feed your family is gravy.

aardvark92 1 Like

I've worked with a number of recruiters in past job searches. Some treated me like I was just a set of resume keywords. Others have been much better, trying to really find an employer that was a good fit for me, and even giving me tips for interviewing. But in the end, I've never gotten a job through a recruiter. All the job offers I've ever received have been from employers I've contacted directly.


I have had almost no good experience with recruiters. I'm not saying all recruiters suck or that they all treat job-seekers as commodities. I am an IT generalist. I know a lot about many aspects of business technology, but I don't specialize in any one subject. This has been my undoing every time I'm forced to look for another job, which has been often in an industry that lays off as quickly as it hires. My point? Recruiters don't know how to work with me. They want candidates that have skill set A to plug into job slot B. If you don't fit this simplistic model, you don't get callbacks. Period. Why? Because the glut of commodity IT workers means they don't have to work that hard to find candidates. And their clients, who pay the bills, don't have to bother with anyone who does not have the precise skill set outlined in the job order no matter how outlandish their requests. In sum, if I do engage a recruiter, it's always with the implicit understanding that I am a commodity and more often than not, I'll need to find my own employment anyway.

hpguru 1 Like

Most of these guys don't have a clue of how a job description translates to a resume. I get a dozen or more calls a week on jobs that don't even come close to my skill set. Most that I've dealt with give me the impression that they can't hold a real job, so they sit at a desk and comb the job boards and send random emails and make phone calls in the hopes that if they shotgun a new job listing with enough candidates - they'll make their commission for the month. If you find a good one - stay in touch, they are rare.


I wouldn't go so far as to say their commission-sucking losers, but I have, at times, said to myself, "Why the hell are you contacting me?" This seems especially true for the large, multi-national recruiters.


I am an IT manager on contract in Toronto and I've worked with recruiters for the past 10 years. I've had some that will send you on interviews then glean the info from you do they can prepare their higher-yielding consultants. I won't name them but their name sounds like beetrack. I'll never use them again. I've had the best results with a recruiter that sounds like a "gem".

RayJeff 1 Like

My first experience with recruiters was in mid 2006 when I made a major change in IT area. The experience with that first recruiter was really good..until nearing the end of my contract job my recrutier was changed, and everything went downhill from there. After that, my next experience started in 2008 onto the present. I have worked with several recruiters from different companies. Some of the recrutiers were nice and agreeable and easy to work with. The others, they weren't really up on trying to do at least the minumium to find me work or to even callback to let me know if I got the position they contacted me about.I agree with Paragon (as do the majority of IT pros) that the HR barrier is the key problem.

paragon 3 Like

I am a recruiter - with a focus on tech jobs. More often than not, a position comes to us only via an HR executive. For often than not, they have no clue about what the position needs. Even when permitted to meet the Tech PM to understand the requirements, they reject the resume's submitted on trivial grounds - because they had minor variations from the QR given by the PMs - and never give a correct feedback.. The resume's never reach the PMs, we are not allowed to cross the HR barrier, and we lose credibility both with the candidates and potential employers. This is the scene in India. Ask any Indian recruiter!


For quite a while we were plagued by a system called CHIME. The system had to accept you before the HR person even SAW your resume. As the PM looking for a candidate, I frequently had to wade through a whole lot of resumes that weren't even close to what I wanted for a role because I didn't have the ability to do an end run around the ridiculous system. Not good. On the other side, I just had lunch with a recruiter I met 12 years ago and who has remained a good friend. There certainly ARE good ones out there.


They have to justify getting paid, so they have to mosey around and pose a lot... sad story...

TBone2k 4 Like

I have replied to job postings only to find they were recruiters. However the experience was good as they helped me to present my skills in a way to match exactly what their client wanted. I also found you can be a bit more up front with a recruiter about expectations. On the other hand, some came across to me as desperate to get me in front of their client, almost just so they could show results and one in particular when I turned down a job offer from their client because their was little salary and growth potential.

JamesRL 2 Like

And like anything else there are good ones and bad ones, just as there are good and bad people. I've got some I recommend to others, and others who I have made sure will never work with my company again.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden 1 Like

I don't even remember the firm, but it was out of St. Louis back in 1983. They did a good job -- sent me only to two openings that were both a good fit. I got great offers from both, and was thus able to choose my job and location. But that was back in the early 80's, when skilled programmers were hard to find.

mjstelly 1 Like

Those days to which you refer are long gone. IT folks are a dime a dozen now. And with the advent of outsourcing, garnering a job that pays you what you're worth AND remains in this country becomes an increasingly difficult task.

Editor's Picks