I have since accepted a great full time position related to my field of studies that I love since asking this question. Thinking back, before I decided to work with this company, I did some research online about them and from what I found out, the company was local (US based), with a operating history of > 10 years and specializes in IT recruiting. Client ratings were satisfactory.

In the initial phone conversation, the recruiter asked questions such as my requested salary range, preferred job location, preferred industry, and details about related work on my resume. I appreciated the recruiter taking the time to find out about my needs in a job. The recruiter appeared competent and nothing stood out as troubling so I went forward with a face to face meeting. I was given the chance to ask questions regarding the above listed areas, answers to which I found acceptable.

I had an unfortunate experience as I detailed in my linked question. I eliminated any possibility about working with this company in the future. My goal would be learn about the red flags that I must have missed.

The particular recruiter I worked with was young, not more than 5 years removed from college, for which this event could be due to inexperience.

How can I evaluate the legitimacy of a outside recruiter if I decide to work with one in the future?

  • Whatever criteria you use, don't forget it will not be the same when you have a job as when you don't.
    – user8365
    Sep 22, 2015 at 19:40
  • Never hire a recruiter unless you really hate searching for jobs and are willing to pay someone else a lot of money to find a job for you that probably isn't right for you.
    – work
    May 24, 2021 at 20:39

3 Answers 3


I look for the recruiter to go above simply job searching for me, look for.

  • The recruiter to send you info about the types of questions I'll likely be asked in the interview.

  • The salary range you should ask for from companies.

  • Working with your to schedule interviews so they are conveniet for you.

  • The recruiter meets you for a face-to-face in a place that is convenient for you.

On the flip side, these are red flags that will generally end a relationship with a recruiter (if there was one to begin with).

  • The recruiter is in a different geographical location, but sending me jobs for my home city.

  • The first jobs the recruiter finds for me are either outside my commute range, or in and industry I don't want to work for.

  • The recruiter schedules interviews without asking you about it first.

  • The interviews scheduled are ones you cannot make it to - forcing you to cancel the interview.

  • The recruiter cannot be punctual about meeting - calls or face-to-face, emailed research, etc.

  • Nice answer! + 50 bounty coming in 24 hours
    – Anthony
    Sep 22, 2015 at 22:13
  • I feel like this is missing the most important part of all. Which is, is the recruiter spamming out messages or are the messages/jobs you get targeted and relevant? If someone messages me, for example, on Careers.SO about VB.Net that means they obviously didn't read my profile well and just did a blind search - since my high rated tag there is VBA, not VB.Net. This is one of the easiest ways to identify if the recruiter is legit or not.
    – enderland
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:40
  • Feel like that is covered by "industry I don't want to work for." I agree with you tho, its really annoying when someone keeps finding healthcare IT positions for you writing VB.NET when you're a Java Dev. Sep 23, 2015 at 18:11

You don't. Instead, you don't waste a lot of time on them. Is the lunch meeting somewhere close? If it takes you an hour to get there and back, tell them it's too far to travel without a concrete job opportunity lined up, but that you wouldn't mind a phone / Skype interview.

It probably takes you half an hour to thoroughly research the recruiter. Instead spend the half hour to go to the lunch interview and if the recruiter doesn't show up, consider that to have been the half hour of research and enjoy your lunch.

Other than that the only clear red flag is if the job descriptions they send you make it very clear that they haven't even read your Linkedin profile.

  • Good tips! ----
    – work
    May 24, 2021 at 20:39

You do what I do. Look them up on LinkedIn.

Every recruiter I know has an active LinkedIn profile. If they don't, then there is a huge red flag right there. It almost always gives their background, experience and qualifications. While recruiters will use your LinkedIn profile to place you, don't be shy in looking at theirs to see what level of experience they have.

While the number of links they have is not really indicative, you can look to see what level of person has accepted connections with this person. From my experience, the better recruiters are more like to get their LinkedIn requests accepted by solid people.

Lastly, go with your gut! If a recruiter makes you feel confident in their capabilities and they appear competent, then I trust that instinct. It's served me pretty well over the years, and only rarely did I find a recruiter who didn't match my initial impressions.

Good luck :)

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