WorkWise Q&A: How do I find an ethical recruiting firm?

culp@workwise.netFebruary 3, 2013 


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Now that the job market is gradually coming back, I want to be a recruiter. Before, I was afraid I’d be overwhelmed with candidates. Now I know there are enough employers out there to become my clients.

I’ve heard that many recruiters aren’t honest. Not all of my experiences with them have been positive. How can I qualify a firm to make certain I join a reputable one?


A: Dear Ethical, If you think all salespeople are dishonest, you’ll think all recruiters are, too, because they’re salespeople. Understand that recruiters spend a lot of time talking and do the best they can to turn people away without being rude. Because they’re not always direct, they may seem to lead a person on. Ask direct questions until you get direct answers.

Find out who their clients are. If they’re no-name companies, the recruiting firm may be young. You can be certain they’ll ask you for references. Get theirs. If they say everything is confidential, ask to speak to their business advisers. No references, no sale.



Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I’ve been unemployed since last April when my company was acquired by another company. Since then I’ve been job hunting. No offers.

I’m not as worried about getting no offers as how to explain to employers that I don’t fit the stereotype of long-term unemployed. They don’t mention it in interviews, but I suspect it’s what they’re thinking, because the people who were hired in each case were working elsewhere.

How do I explain that I’m long-term unemployed but that I’m not?


A: Dear Baffled, Check your resume to make certain it shows that your last job ended in 2012, not April of 2012. Show that previous jobs ended in years, not months and years.

Create a truthful spiel covering your work-related activities since then. You’ve maintained your communication skills through meetings with colleagues, contacts, headhunters and employers. You’ve honed your writing skills day in and day out. Reading avidly in industry trade journals has been about as good as a seminar for updating you on trends. Formal or informal presentations followed by questions required you to field questions from people in the industry.

Consider your primary obsession, your marketing campaign, a project. Describe how you made yourself accountable to it, documented it, analyzed patterns and motivated yourself to keep going. Use key words. If there are other key words a particular employer would like to hear, incorporate them.

Practice, practice, practice.


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