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Questions to ask to rid yourself of ruinous recruiters

Sniffing out a top recruiter is easier said than done, especially since loads of new firms have been popping up recently in Singapore and Hong Kong.

With so many choices, getting an extraordinary headhunter, not someone who's only enamoured with putting bums on seats, is just downright tricky. So to help you out, here are some tips.

Are they monkeys or do they know the market?

Candidates should ask questions to test how well consultants know the particular job. They should have "about 90 per cent" of their questions answered even prior to the first interview, says Aamir Kiyani, division head, banking and finance, Monroe Consulting Group.

Such questions can include:

· What is the growth potential of this particular role?

· What are the advantages of moving from bank A to bank B?

· What is the range of products on offer?

· If it's a RM role, will a portfolio be inherited?

· What is the size of the team like?

· Is it a growth or replacement role?

· What is the turnover like?

Background checks

Candidates should also be meticulous when looking at the background of the recruiter. John Koh, managing director, WMRC, suggests asking these questions:

· Have you actually worked in the industry I'm in?

· Who are the clients that you have worked with?

· How strong is your relationship with these clients?

· Do you know the line managers in this particular job function?

· How long have you worked as a recruiter?

Koh points out: "An experienced recruiter can quickly seize up an opportunity and decide whether it is a good fit for you. The recruiter is also likely to be a well-known figure, meaning clients are more likely to trust his or her recommendation on a candidate."

Lastly, don't be too worried that you're asking too many questions. Spending about half an hour interacting with the recruiter is ideal. If the consultant has impeccable credentials he or she shouldn't mind, especially because sifting out the unsuitable ultimately saves everyone time.

What's your way of identifying a good recruiter? Give us your take in the space below.

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AUTHORShree Ann Mathavan Insider Comment
  • No
    No recruiters please.
    13 July 2011

    Couldn't agree more with you guys. Recently, I have been ill advised by two recruiters who clearly didn't understand anything about my background. Instead of offering something similar to my current role, I have been asked to consider demotion from front office VP to back office associate all for the sake of widening my scope. What broke the camel's back was being harassed by their text message at midnight. Clearly, they have lost their edge.

  • Cu
    Cut Out the Middle Man
    18 June 2011

    Trade Finance is right. After a year and a half of dealing with unbelievably unprofessional recruiters who just wanted me to settle for a job with a huge pay cut and demotion, I finally got a job going directly to the employer. Guess what? A senior position and an above market package. For all those who've been sold the story by recruiters that you can't do it as well directly, I say, cut out that middle man. They generally, in my recent experience, add no value whatsoever and do not have your interests at heart whatsoever.

  • Tr
    Trade Finance
    16 June 2011

    A MD at one of the so called big Singapore recruitment firms (Australian owned) asked me to explain to him what trade finance is. Umm, you called me about a trade finance role!! Steer clear of recruiters and go direct.

  • H.
    H. Jablowmey
    16 June 2011

    Instituting a minimum IQ of 35 for recruiters would be a step in the right direction.

  • Th
    Than Nguyen
    16 June 2011

    I'm in the IT industry and haven't had good experiences with using self-employed recruiters so I ended up using a recruiting firm that works directly with my needs and the needs of the companies they are recruiting for. They have people on their staff that are much more professional and know the IT industry well. This is the Dallas IT Recruiter I use: http://www.insourcegroup.com/

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