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Your Recruiter Checklist – What to Ask When Starting a New Job

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As a contractor, you’re used to receiving close guidance on all kinds of procedures, from timesheets to skills testing to interview prep. Every employer has their own methods for evaluating your viability as a candidate, and it’s a recruiter’s job to connect your skills to their requirements.

Sometimes it can feel like a circus with all the information you have to juggle while performing well. With all that going on, are you spending time to evaluate your recruiter’s performance?

Well, it’s time to toss the fire hoops their way. You’re not the only one on the tightrope.

Does your recruiter meet the highest standards of their profession? Are they doing everything they can to set you up for success — and help you accomplish your goals? Run through the following checklist to find out.

Did your recruiter describe the position accurately?

An important part of the recruiter’s job is to determine what each contract requires of its candidates. Keep these questions in mind:

  • Did the recruiter communicate the responsibilities and requirements in a way I could understand?
  • Did they accurately describe the company culture, not just where to be and what to do?
  • Did I feel adequately prepared to succeed on my first day?

Remember, however, that misinformation isn’t always the sole fault of the recruiter. There’s a chance your recruiter’s contact at the employer didn’t pass along all the correct details.


In this case, consider asking the recruiter to follow up with their client contact. To get a better understanding of all the missing pieces, you can also see if your recruiter can set you up to discuss the position with another contractor working there via phone.

How responsive are they?

Even with a great recruiter, you may arrive on a job site and find that something is a little off. For example, you find that the employer asks you to do something unexpected — like spray for termites when you thought you were supposed to be an aircraft mechanic. Some things just don’t add up.

Or, for a more realistic example, a job was described as data analysis but you’re actually doing data entry. Close, but different.

A top recruiter will spend time clarifying job responsibilities to avoid placing you in these types of bait-and-switch situations, but accidents happen. If the job doesn’t turn out to be as promised, reach out for help.

The true judge of a recruiter’s quality is their responsiveness when something requires their attention. So, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will my recruiter be available for emergency communication if necessary?
  • When I told them about an onsite issue, did they promptly address it?

Of course, not everything is an emergency (no, not even when you have to work closely with someone who chews with their mouth open). So, you might not want to send an SOS for less severe issues, but it’s important to evaluate what happens when you need help.

Do they ask me how I’m doing?

Sure, it’s nice to have a recruiter who has your back in any situation where you feel vulnerable. But, it’s also good when a recruiter has your back even when everything’s fine.

Ask the following:

  • Has my recruiter followed up with me to see how the assignment is going?
  • If I ask, do they offer advice on how I can use experience gained at my current job to get my next assignment?
  • Have they passed along any feedback they’ve gotten from my manager?

Mutual trust is the key to developing a solid working relationship with your recruiter, and that starts right away.

Do they have my best interest in mind?

A solid recruiting partner should feel as much like an advocate for you as they do for the companies they work with. Work with someone who genuinely cares and doesn’t treat you like you’re simply there to meet a quota.

If you remember to check this list and check in with your gut, you’ll know if your recruiter is right for you.