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A recruiter asked me today if I would like to have a informal meet up with him in person so he could get a better idea of the type of work I am looking for and my personality, skills. I was a bit reluctant to say yes as it costs me travel expenses and a day's time to travel into the capital to do this. Normally in my experience recruiters these days pre-qualify candidates over the phone as its quicker and more efficient for both parties. I also have a online programming portfolio website so my skills, code, CV are already well represented online.

Important facts to bear in mind:

• First off the recruiter does not have me lined up for a role, he merely wants to meet me in the hope of maybe finding a suitable role.

• On average i get between 4-15 calls a day from recruiters who have seen my CV online. Point being i already have the word out on the type of role i am looking for.

My question: "Do recruiters still do face to face meetings to pre-qualify a candidate?" or is it just a waste of time, money and effort in the modern digital age.

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    Personally I would suspect a recuiter that wants to meet you face to face is actually a better recruiter. Digital meetings are far less useful than in person meetings. – HLGEM Mar 3 '14 at 17:15
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    @HLGEM that's my experience. I have only had a handful of recruiters that wanted an initial face-to-face meeting, in nearly 20 years. But that handful have been by far the most effective recruiters I have dealt with, and were responsible for my best job opportunities. – Carson63000 Mar 4 '14 at 2:45
  • I had a face to face meeting with a recruiter about eight months ago when I first started looking for a new job. It helped quite a bit: I believe face time is important especially in an age of IMs, emails, and VPNs. Then again I will walk 20 feet to a coworker's desk instead of calling or IMing, so maybe I am old fashioned. – user16626 Mar 4 '14 at 5:24
  • It can work, it just depends if they're a generic recruiter or a headhunter seeking a specific skillset. The recruiter who found me my current employer was working from another company and we never actually met. The company I joined was a perfect fit for me and my career progression and my employer is always full of praise. – zivc Mar 5 '14 at 3:36
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Face to face just gives anyone more information to help make a hiring decision. Think about it from their perspective, a client could call any minute looking for someone with your skill set. The faster they can cut down the length of the search process, the more money they make.

I would suggest picking enough recruiters and do a few face to face interviews, to help get the job you want. You can feel free to wait until they have an open position, but it could be too late for you. You may have the ideal skill set, but would not be considered an ideal candidate if you're not as cooperative. They need people who will do what it takes to get the job and not those who intend on throwing up too many road blocks.

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In the industry in which I normally work this is exceptionally rare. Most recruiters are quite some distance from the candidate and they are often concerned that a candidate would simply refuse traveling at their own expense to what is essentially just a short conference and not an interview for a potential position.

There's also the fact that most recruiters simply would be loath to have a candidate travel to meet then risk the possible "ill will" if a candidate took this as a sign that their chances would be improved by attending the meeting and then their not receiving the position or even being telephoned for an interview.

Finally, while it doesn't always happen, some recruiters (or their clients) specifically request that certain racial or ethnic minorities not be included their potential pool of candidates. While you may still be rejected as a a candidate after the client discovers that you are not the "type" of person who they are seeking,most are unwilling not to seriously consider a candidate if after a telephone interview, they decide to fly the candidate out for an in-person meeting.

I would advise against a face to face meeting with a recruiter unless they are in your same city or a neighboring area. Any such meeting isn't a guarantee of getting their client to interview you. And any competent recruiter can assess your potential strengths or weaknesses from a telephone call or if necessary a web chat interview.

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As a recruiter I'll say it's pretty rare in this day and age. It's also unfortunate that this is so as meeting someone in person demonstrates a high level of commitment on both sides. It's harder to blow someone off after you've met them face to face. Finally, interviewing in person is always more effective than phone or Skype interviews. It really is one of those old school approaches that really was better back in the day. These days recruiting at many places has devolved to little more than LinkedIn carpet bombing. (I've known several recruiters who boast about sending 500+ LinkedIn emails a week which is absolutely appalling)

Yes, it is a big time commitment for you but it is for them as well so take that as a compliment that this person thinks you're worth their time. My advice would be to have a follow-up call and explain that while you're flattered that they want to meet with you it also represents a significant commitment on your part. I'd also probe a little deeper about the opportunities they have in mind, especially since it sounds like this is an agency/3rd party recruiter rather than an in-house recruiter. Ask who their clients are and if they have references from people they've placed. Third party/agency recruiters are essentially representatives of your reputation. You want to be very careful in choosing who you allow to have this responsibility! There are some really good recruiters out there but there are also many who are in the business because the real estate bubble burst and they don't want to work weekends selling used cars.

  • With travel time it is a LOT bigger commitment for the candidate and may need a day's holiday usage, just for a 10 minute chat. – Ian Apr 19 '16 at 15:58
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Some recruiters do face to face meetings if it is feasible to do so. I've worked with more than a few recruiters and for those in the same city as me, I've often met them face to face though there are some exceptions to this. For recruiters that are some distance away, it is usually through phone and e-mail that we communicate. I've had recruiters in California or Ontario that place people in Calgary where the job is as well as myself.

The point of the meeting is to see the person in their entirety. How do they walk? How do they talk? What kind of facial expressions do they have? While some of these can be done via Skype, it isn't as good as what can happen in other circumstances.

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NEVER meet a "recruiter" who doesn't have a specific position to fill. A recruiter who is paid for placing people doesn't waste time on people he can't place.

It's very likely the "recruiter" is running a bait-and-switch trying to sell you worthless job-placement services. These so-called recruiters prey on the unemployed. They want you to meet them at their office so they can apply high-pressure sales tactics. NEVER meet an recruiter for an unknown firm at their office. Recruiters with real positions to fill will be happy to meet candidates in a mutually convenient location.

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Although I wasn't the recruiter in this instance, I did recruit someone for a position where I requested to meet them for an informal interview in-person.

The client, a manager at a local hospital, was looking for an after-hours tutor that was knowledgeable in Excel. I placed an ad on Craigslist and was then bombarded with inquiries and resumes, some were even from out-of-state! After reviewing them I narrowed it down to 2 candidates, primarily based on their experience and location.

FYI, this was just a part-time job and the candidate had to live within close proximity to the hospital.

After contacting the respondent's, I requested an informal interview at the local Starbuck's. This gave me a good chance to get to know them better, for them to ask me question's and see if they would be a good fit. Also, they had to have a certain kind of personality, like patience, which is something you can't get off of a resume....last time I checked!

This made the hiring process a whole lot easier, not only for me, but also for them. Now I could make my recommendation's with more confidence to the hiring client. Since I took the time to get to know the candidate's and their qualification's, they were almost certain to be shoo-ins for the position. Both were eventually hired and the client continuously told me over and over again how extremely delighted she was!

So yes, as a candidate, I'd agree to an informal interview, unless of course there's some compelling reason not to. Maybe the original poster had some issues?

P.S. One of the candidate's even thanked me (after it was over) for making the informal interview process easy and less stressful then it usually is.

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