I get a lot of calls from recruiters as I am looking for a job and given my last job(s) have been short term, everyone wants me to tell them 3-4 years of what I been doing.

What annoys me most are 2 things:

  1. They say they will come back to me after looking for some roles.

  2. When I chase them they come back to me after sending my CV and telling me they haven’t heard back from client yet. But they will chase up which ends up in no further email or me confused if I should apply directly to the client?

This has been going on for long time now, how can I know if a recruiter has a job I'm interested in before I tell them my whole story?

  • 5
    You should apply to companies first and foremost, not recruiters. But once they apply for a position on your behalf, you can't apply to that company anymore. Dec 5, 2019 at 10:38
  • Another thing to consider: if you are unemployed it might be worth your time to have the conversation anyhow. Maybe they don't have a position today, but they will get a call tomorrow. Definitely, don't waste your time if you have something more valuable to be doing, but if you have the time to spare, why not open up one more potential avenue for yourself?
    – Lumberjack
    Dec 5, 2019 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


Here is how recruiters work: they usually get payed large sums of money by the employer once a candidate they referred gets a contract (usually tied to the entry-salary). They do not work for you, they work for the prospective employers. You are their raw-material, so to speak. So they like to build up a database of candidates to quickly refer a suitable selection once a request comes in from an employer. That does not mean you can´t get good job offers via a recruiter, but you have to understand they do not work for you.

So, assuming you want to get found, and don´t want to miss an offer:

  1. Examine your public profile. Is it sharp and clear enough, what you seek?

  2. Think hard if you really want to put your phone number out there - writing you an e-mail is much more costly (if it is specific to you - else, spam folder!) than a quick call, so you will probably get messages when someone is really interested in you.

  3. Ask for information about the prospective employer and position before agreeing to be added to their database.

  4. And most important: actively seek for yourself! Recruiters are expensive, so employers tends to use them if the job position does not get easily filled. If you apply directly, you show initiative and you present yourself as a cheaper option. There is also no harm in applying to companies you really want to work for, but don´t have a job offer published at the moment.


how can I know if a recruiter has a job I'm interested in before I tell them my whole story?

Ask them.

Make it the first thing you do in the conversation.

If they open with a bunch of questions about you, then simply ask them "First, can you tell me about the position you're calling about please?" (or a similar question in a polite, professional and casual way - "Hey, what job are you calling about?", "What position are you representing?", "Can you tell me about the job you have first?" etc).

If they don't have one to discuss then end the call.

  • Sounds like a good way coz I spend my morning talking about my role for 3 yrs and she said her colleague will call for the role. But didn’t. Another one called and booked me a interview within a hour without asking me like family history 😂
    – user110973
    Dec 5, 2019 at 11:54
  • @flux, Your family history? In the United States, they're not allowed to ask about that. May be elsewhere they can, I don't know. Dec 6, 2019 at 1:13

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