IT contractors and job seekers have literally hundreds of technology recruiters to choose from when searching for new work. ACSESS, Canada's staffing industry association, has more than 1000 member offices across the country, and that doesn't include the many more employment agencies who don't contribute. With that many staffing agency players, odds are that although most recruiters you deal with will be helpful, you're bound to come across some who are terrible, lazy, rude or, worst of all, unethical.
Selecting an IT recruiter has many considerations -- their connection to the market and opportunities, their ability to communicate, the additional value they bring, etc. -- and whether or not they meet your ethical threshold. Unethical recruiters will not only fail to find you the right job, they also bring you down with them and tarnish your professional reputation.
The good news is that ethical recruiters can be easy to spot as long as you know what you're looking for. Here are 12 traits all ethical recruiters share:
They're part of their staffing industry association and follow a code of ethics.
They never ask you for money
They want to meet you and get to know you, your skills, and your preferences
They've taken the time to know a client and opportunity before presenting it to you
They never exaggerate the opportunity or hide facts
They're clear about the hiring process (theirs and the client's)
They never try to push you into a role you're clearly not a fit for
They ask for your consent before sending anything to a client
They never encourage you to lie
They only let you update your own resume (or make a specific request to make updates and provide you with complete details)
They work with the other recruiters within their agency, so you learn about all new opportunities
They encourage you to work with other recruiters and agencies
If you can confidently check every one of these off of your list, then proceed and build that relationship!
If you're working with a recruiter who doesn't clearly meet one or more of these traits, we recommend treading carefully with your relationship and asking more questions. You may even consider moving on to another staffing agency. What other traits do you look for in an IT recruiter to judge their ethics?