6 Things Candidates Do That Turn Recruiters Off

Recruiters can be incredibly valuable resources who can also help you accelerate your job search. By connecting with them, you may have the chance to be put forward as a candidate for a great position!

As a recruiter who has worked with thousands of candidates, I’ve noticed that a lot of people either don’t fully understand a recruiter’s role or aren’t clear on how to make the most of their time with a recruiter. Taken from my personal experience, here are six things candidates do that turn recruiters off:

1. They don’t put effort into selling themselves.

Be careful not to confuse a recruiter with a career coach. A career coach is someone who can help you define and develop your brand, whereas a recruiter can only work with what they’re given. Many people wrongly assume recruiters aren’t the actual employers, so they don’t have to work too hard to make a good impression. But, recruiters act as a gateway between candidates and employers, and a lot of their reputation has to do with the high-quality candidates they’re able to find. If you aren’t an impressive candidate right off the bat, they won’t waste their time trying to make you into one.

2. They’re demanding.

A common misconception is that recruiters work for you. Unfortunately, they don’t! They work for the company that has contracted them or are members of corporate recruiting teams. It’s not a recruiter’s job to find you a new opportunity, it’s their job to find exceptional candidates. If you approach a recruiter and blatantly ask for a position, keep in mind that they are under no obligation to help you, and they’ll be less likely to do so if they perceive that you’re demanding.

3. They don’t know what they’re looking for.

A recruiter can only help you if they have a role that matches up with your particular skill sets. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you likely won’t be able to sell yourself to a recruiter in a way that’s compelling enough to get your name put forward.

4. They’re not prepared for meetings.

The worst mistake you can make when a recruiter has set aside time to meet with you is to not take it seriously enough. Each meeting with a recruiter is like an interview, and to put your best foot forward it will be important that you do all the preparation that you can. Also, speak in a quiet area where recruiters can hear you clearly. Avoid being out in coffee shops.

5. They write long emails about their experience.

Recruiters get countless emails on a daily basis from candidates who are trying to sell themselves. A lot of them write in paragraph form, and the email can be 500+ words long.  It gets tough to scan through all this content while actively screening through thousands of other candidates. My top tip to combat this is to write in bullet form to draw a recruiter’s attention to your key messages.

6. They ask to be introduced or referred without building rapport.

It can be a bit abrupt when you open an email from someone you’ve never met or heard of before only to be asked to introduce them to someone in your network. If a recruiter doesn’t know who you are and what you do, they likely won’t introduce you to anyone simply because they want to protect their network. If they can’t ensure that you deserve the introduction, they won’t make it. Try first sending an email outlining your experience and recognizing theirs. Try asking for an introduction after you get the conversation going.

Do you have any questions about how to impress recruiters? How to prepare for interviews? What steps to take to set up informational interviews? Let me know in the comments section!


1 thought on “6 Things Candidates Do That Turn Recruiters Off”

  1. Diana, you’ve nailed it!

    As an executive retained search partner, we’re mainly interested in candidates who fit our current search.

    My pet peeve – applying for jobs you are NOT QUALIFIED FOR! Waste of everyone’s time. Please don’t that. Surest way to piss a recruiter off – at least this one. And do it repeatedly and you get blocked.

    Patti Pokorchak, MBA,

    Matching People with Passion + Right Position= Profits!
    http://www.Derhak.com http://recruiterpatti.com


    Derhak Ireland & Partners Inc.
    Confident Hiring Decisions . . 97.6% 24-Month Retention

    Author of upcoming book “ the Reinvention Rebel – Live Life Without Regrets!”

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