Does your recruiter smell of BS?

Does your recruiter smell of BS?

13 Jul 17:00 by Ben Cantrall


I went to uni as a mature aged student. I was 26 when I started and I did all the things mature aged students do- speak in class, answer questions and generally be an old know it all.


There was 1 other guy in my class who was a mature aged student- less mature than me but still answering questions in class. We became mature mates.


Yesterday he messaged me on linkedin:


My man

I've got a QQ for you to tell you I'm mad. A recruiter reached out to me- great chat etc, and a nice sounding opportunity- however doesn't have a JD to send me. BS or no BS? (my spidey sense is tingling)

Also now the pubs are open let's catch a beer. 


So I called him to answer his QQ.  (I had to google what QQ meant… Like I said, mature aged student.)


Like many people my mature mate has developed a healthy scepticism for recruiters, having had a few bad experiences over the journey. His tingling spidey sense was just asking him- is this guy full of BS??


So here’s the one question I would ask to cut through the BS when dealing with a recruiter:


How many placements have you personally made with the company you’re telling me about?


The answer you get will reveal a lot about the client/recruiter relationship. When dealing with a recruiter, the fact is that the better the client/recruiter relationship, the more likely you are to get the job (if they are putting you forward). The hallmark of a great relationship is many placements (and some laughs).



  • If they have made at least 1 placement, they have terms of business signed with the client and they are not just speculatively sending your CV unsolicited on to someone as a way of hopefully opening a relationship
  • If they have made placements, they will know the sort of people that the business likes. They will not bother representing you to that company if they don’t think that you would be capable of doing the job and a fit
  • If a recruiter has placed many people with a business, then they know the interview process inside and out, and can assist you in preparing for and understanding the job before you go down there.
  • A recruiter with a great client relationship can also get the client to meet you even if you don’t tick all the boxes on paper. You can imagine the conversation “Look Mrs Hiring Manager, I’ve placed 7 people with you in the last 12 months. You should meet candidate A- you know I don’t waste your time”

If a recruiter says “Zero placements”, then that does not necessarily mean that they are bad at their job or unable to help you. Context becomes important here “Zero placements- this is the first role I’m working with them and as you can imagine this is my chance to deliver for them! My understanding of the company is X Y and Z… This is what the role looks to be like…” People have an innate ability to smell lies and your gut feeling will tell you a lot here.


And my mature mate with his QQ? He’s asking the recruiter a QQ. I’m looking forward to hearing the answer. Hopefully while we catch a beer.