Aren’t Recruitment Consultants all the same? Certainly not! It is a fact that some of us are good at what we do and some recruiters are just plain useless. Typically the only way you find out who is a superstar and who is not, is by permitting one to help manage your career without having first carried out any due diligence. The bad ones will inevitably disappoint you; they will not return your calls or reply to your emails, they will send you job opportunities which are not suitable, and if they manage to get you a job interview, they will not be able to support you; there will be little or no interview or assessment guidance, no feedback call and then at the end of it they will claim a fee from their client for a job well-done. But let’s not dwell on the negative.

The most critical part of a recruiter’s service should be ‘taking the time to get to know you’. Finding out who you are, what you are concerned about, what your needs are, your career aspirations and identifying your strengths and weaknesses. This is what a good recruiter does, and anyone who is not doing this, is not doing their job right and therefore not offering you the service you deserve.

The initial conversation you have with a recruiter should be just that, a prelude to the full registration, it is us saying hello and outlining our services to you. If you get the impression the recruiter is going to work for you on the basis of a five minute chat – you should ask yourself is that good enough for me?

Today’s recruitment processes are now ever more complex. HR professionals are seeking to ensure that they provide measureable value to their employers businesses by ensuring that the people working within the company have the right values to do so. Having the right principles, coupled with adequate knowledge, skills and qualifications is all any HR professional can do to ensure a company remains successful, whilst providing a safe and rewarding working culture for its employees.

A competent recruiter should understand this and thereafter be proficient enough to assist you and guide you through the application processes. A competent recruiter should be able to interpret their client’s assessment needs and ensure that you, their candidate is equipped to pass successfully through their client’s selection processes. A skilful and seasoned recruiter, regardless of their sector specialism, should possess generic business skills, such as the ability to understand P&L, the creation of simple Business Plans and cogent Presentations and should be able to show you evidence of this.

But how do you know who is a good recruiter? How do you know what to believe? To begin with you need to take ownership of your career and do the research. You need to search online. There isn’t a recruiter out there who is not on LinkedIn or Twitter (Or both and more besides), so take advantage of this media. See if they have been recommended and by whom. Having a recommendation from a former colleague is nice and complementary but it doesn’t really shout success. Being recommended by a client or a candidate they have placed is a good source of referral – and often the hardest to acquire. If in doubt, ask the recruiter how long they have been recruiting in the industry, what they did before they came into the recruiting industry, what were their last five placements, what their placement ratios are and if they don’t have any referrals and recommendations don’t work with them. It is your career you are entrusting them with. You only get one chance to make a first impression and one chance to make an application so make it count.