Looking for the right recruiter? 4 things to look for if you’re an engineer.

by Amery Zhen on Jan 31, 2017

When you’re an engineer looking for your next great job, it’s definitely to your advantage to find a well-connected, savvy technical recruiter to help facilitate the right match. Engineers are often inundated with messages from recruiters wanting to work with them, so it’s easy to just sign up with someone without doing your homework. But the reality is that you need to take the time to find an experienced technical recruiter with a broad network who is committed to finding the right opportunity for you.

Here’s what to look for:

An initial message that demonstrates the recruiter has actually looked at your profile.

A good recruiting relationship often starts with the recruiter’s first message to you. It should include personalized content that includes mention of how your work experience matches the company — indicating that the recruiter has taken the time to read your profile thoroughly rather than relied on a keyword or boolean search. Warning signs include messages that look like copied templates. An experienced recruiter will focus more on the quality, not quantity of their outreach because at the end of the day, their goal is to build long-term relationships with candidates with whom they work over the course of years or even decades.

Proper usage of engineering terminology.

In your exchanges with technical recruiters, pay attention to how they describe technical aspects of the role. While most recruiters have not studied Computer Science, they should have done extensive research on tech terminology and understand key differences between programming languages (ex: Javascript Java), as well as have some knowledge of frameworks and databases. Many really good technical recruiters take their training further by completing a few online programming courses in their spare time (such as via Coursera or Udacity) to familiarize themselves with the software development life cycle process. This knowledge helps them present candidates with relevant career opportunities and discuss them in a well-informed manner. When considering a recruiter on LinkedIn, I suggest looking at what they have listed under the “Certifications” section.

Prioritization of how you are treated.

Always look at the recruiter’s profile to read recommendations by candidates they’ve worked with in the past. Several key things to look out for include whether or not the recruiter responds to phone calls or emails in a timely manner, if  they are transparent about the role, company, and interview process from start to finish, and if they listen. These points are important in determining the kind of interaction you may have with the recruiter.

Prioritization of constructive feedback.  

A good recruiter knows how and when to provide constructive feedback. If a candidate’s phone interview or onsite meeting company does not result in a fit, the recruiter should take the extra time to share detailed feedback with the candidate. This should include a breakdown of both positive and negative aspects of their performance so the candidate can have a complete overview. It is important for everyone to leave the interview process with proper closure and know what they can improve on for future interview opportunities at other companies.

Finding a good recruiter is an important first step in a job search. Keep an eye out for recruiters who take the time to read about you before approaching you and those that have at least a baseline understanding of your specialization within engineering, and only sign on with those that place a premium on how they treat candidates and on giving them useful post-interview feedback. Good luck!

Amery Zhen is a technical recruiter at AppLovin.