7 questions to help you find the right recruiter

Black and white photo of a miner wearing a lamp hard hat
Mining job candidates and employers should ask their recruiter these seven questions.

Here's how both candidates and employers in the mining industry can find the best recruiter.

The recruitment industry doesn’t always have the best reputation.

It’s a huge frustration to those who have worked hard to build highly professional and ethical recruitment businesses, but many people both on the employer and the candidate side of the equation have had bad experiences with recruiters. Perhaps they’ve been promised the world and the recruiter completely failed to deliver. Perhaps they’ve been gouged by a recruiter who took all of the money but none of the responsibility. Whatever the reason, those experiences have left those people with a bitter taste in their mouth.

Those passionate about recruitment — those who have worked hard to build reputable businesses dedicated to connecting the right employer to the right candidate — find this treatment and the resulting view of the industry every bit as frustrating as it is for those on the receiving end.

Here’s the thing: dodgy recruiters are not the norm. They are the few, not the many. Recruitment firms that pop up overnight to make a fast buck usually disappear overnight, too. Why? Their customers don’t come back, so they have to be constantly out trawling for new business if they want to keep their doors open.

The good news is the industry is taking steps to counter this. It’s aware of this reputation and it is doing something about it. The industry is becoming more professional. Standards have been introduced. Compliance and entry costs are increasing.

How to avoid a dodgy recruiter

So, how do you find a good recruiter and avoid wasting money on a bad one? You do exactly what you would do before employing a candidate for any job — you interview them. Here are the seven questions to ask:

  1. Is your organisation a member of a professional industry body? (In Australia and New Zealand this is the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association - RSCA).
  2. Whether they are a member of a professional body or not, ask: Do you have a company values statement?
  3. Can I see feedback on your services from both clients and candidates? What does the feedback say?
  4. How long have you been in business?
  5. How many members of staff do you have? How many have been with the business for more than five years and how many more than 10 years?
  6. Do you get permission from every candidate before submitting their resume to a client, every single time?
  7. How do you access the passive candidate market? What can you do for me that I cannot do for myself?

If recruiters can’t answer positively to all or most of these questions, alarm bells should start ringing. Generally, if they’re not a serious recruiter, they’ll start to squirm in their seats after the second question.

A note for employers on finding the best recruiter

When it comes to finding a good recruiter, employers can also help themselves by not giving a dozen recruiters a poor job brief and turning the whole process into a race. It’s a popular tactic, designed to leverage the benefits of competition, but what usually happens in this scenario is the opposite of the outcome you’re trying to achieve.

In these situations some recruiters will prioritise speed over quality — and they may not give their best service, let alone find the best candidate. While speed is often important, finding the right candidate is vital.

Imagine if you filled every position in your company with people who just happened to be trawling a generic job board the day your job was advertised? You might fill every vacancy quickly but, at some point, you end up with a poorer quality workforce than is necessary to do the job. What could the long-term effect of that be on your business?

A note to job candidates about finding the best recruiter

Often candidates turn to recruiters because they feel like they’ve had a rough time applying directly to companies. So it’s doubly frustrating to find they’ve signed up to a recruiter who treats them like a commodity to “use, abuse and reject”. Perhaps the recruiter takes ages to get back to them or puts them forward for unsuitable jobs.

This should never be the case — it isn’t how ethical recruiters do business, whether they’re working inside a company or for a specialist recruitment firm. The best advice here is to not treat the recruiter in the same poor manner they’ve treated you. As tempting as it can be to hit back, expressing your frustration won’t actually help you land a job. You might not have been the best candidate this time, but you might well be next time. You don’t want to tarnish your reputation in the meantime.

You can circumvent a lot of these problems by working with a reputable recruiter in the first place (go back to those seven questions above!)

If you’re looking for a mining job, or if you’re looking to fill a mining job, get in contact with Mining People International. We’ve been mining industry specialist recruiters for more than 22 years.

Dan Hatch
Mining People International