The best recruiter in town - How to know when you meet one

Best recruiter

We all know why you should be best friends with your recruiters. After all, the best ones will help you get the job of your dreams.

But like best friends, they are rare to find and difficult to keep. It often takes time and effort to decide if they are right for you.

Check out our tips for how to pick your recruiters when putting yourself out in the job market.

Ignore what they say they specialize in and or who they recruit for, pay attention instead to what they are actually looking for through their job ads.

Their job advertisements should show up on the first two pages of any relevant Google search of the kind of roles you are looking for. Do they advertise roles that you’d be keen to try? Do their ads present an engaging story selling a client and career opportunity to prospective candidates?

The trick is to look specifically for recruiters that come from boutique firms or global firms with teams of market specialists. Either way, your recruiter needs to speak your language, and most importantly, that of your target companies.

You should never have to pay a recruiter.

Especially in talent-scarce markets like Malaysia, be wary of recruiters (however rare they are these days) who ask for an agent fee in return for a successful placement.

You want to work for the really good companies out there. Good companies are willing to spend time, effort, and money to get great talent. After all, star hires pay for themselves quickly and can be up to 10x better than average hires.

The key here is to work only with consultants at global or regional recruiting firms whose client fees are higher and so tend to appeal only to local conglomerates and other multinational employers.

Their interests are not always aligned with yours.

But that’s okay. Recruiters want clients to hire from their shortlist of candidates, whether that’s you or not. They don’t always want what’s best for you. That’s the job of your family.

But a great recruiter knows that even if you aren’t the strongest candidate on their shortlist to a client, you may be a solid fit for another client, even if no job currently exists.

They are resourceful and creative when it comes to making money off of you. They are true experts at practicing proactive recruitment - highlighting an outstanding CV to a range of companies on their clientele.

The best recruiters in the market hire great talent for top organizations who open up positions specially for someone they thought was worth hiring. How’s that for knowing exactly what your customers need even before they do?


Your recruiter should showcase quality of representation every step of the way.

This is true from selling the opportunity to you, to presenting you to the client, to managing the interview process and finally to the offer negotiation and onboarding / follow up stages.

So the next time you meet with a recruiter, ask yourself these questions:

Is he attuned to the keywords that matter to your specialization and industry? Is he able to advise you on market intelligence, salary trends, and career moves that highly successful candidates in your field have taken? Does he accurately articulate the business of clients he represents, their selection process and team, and what they look for specifically in a great candidate?

It is the recruiter, not his firm, that always matters more.

Recruitment consultants, like everybody else, move between companies too. If you find one that understands you and works with the kind of employers you want to join, aim to keep active contact with him even when he moves to a different firm.

Remember that the best recruiters carry client and candidate relationships with them wherever there go because they are that good at their jobs.


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