10 Signs of a Bad Recruiter / Employment Agency in Singapore

If you’re searching for a job, you’re probably dealing with a recruiter in Singapore or maybe even a few. But all recruiters are not created equally.

And if you’ve been dealing with recruiters on multiple occasions, you might have had a few less than satisfactory experiences. More and more frequently many third-party recruiters are gaining a reputation for being greedy and only caring about their commission checks. While this might be true for some, there are certainly other recruiters out there who do care about your career and want to help match you to a great job opportunity.

After you read this post, you’ll be able to recognize the 10 signs that you’re dealing with a bad recruiter/employment agency in Singapore and be able to jump ship and find someone who will help you get where you want to go.


  1. They Don’t Seem to Care About Your Career Goals

If a recruiter doesn’t seem to care about the direction you want your career to go in, you’re dealing with a bad recruiter. Sometimes recruiters might try to steer you in a direction of a certain job opening that doesn’t line up with your career goals because that job placement will earn them more commission.

A good recruiter in Singapore will always ask you about your career goals and help you find positions that line up with what you are looking for. For a good recruiter, placing a client at the perfect job is more rewarding than earning a higher commission and selling someone’s career short. If you feel like you’re recruiter isn’t giving your career goals enough credence, either find someone else or have a firm talk about what you want.


  1. They Keep Rushing You

When a recruiter keeps rushing you through the process, there are several problems that could arise. The first is that the recruiter might be rushing because they don’t really know much about the hiring company or the opportunity and are trying to hide this fact from you. Or they’re not very connected to the company that’s hiring.

When you’re rushed you won’t be able to get a complete overview of the company or the role and you might move forward in the wrong direction.

Another reason the recruiter might be rushing through the process is because they’ve already determined that you wouldn’t fit the role well and are not confident enough to just tell you. If you find your recruiter rushing you, start by asking a few detailed questions about the role and company. If they can’t answer your questions adequately, then let them know you’re not interested in the role and decline gracefully.


  1. You’re Being Offered Unrelated Jobs

In certain technical fields this can happen frequently. If a recruiter sees that you know a certain computer software or have another skill set, they may assume that you are an expert at other semi-related things. If you find that they keep offering you positions that are unrelated to your expertise, it’s important to notify them right away.

Because if your resume is being submitted for jobs you’re not qualified for, the recruiter is probably doing it for other candidates too. And when a company receives too many unrelated resumes, they may stop to trust the recruiter, who will lose their influence.

If your recruiter keeps doing this, it is time to find another employment agency in Singapore. Look for someone who specializes in your field or industry or someone who represents certain companies that you would be interested in working with. You can also ask people in your field which recruitment agencies they recommend or do a search on LinkedIn.


  1. They Don’t Call Back When They Said They Would

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While it might be understandable for a recruiter in Singapore not to call back if they still haven’t received an update from the employer, if you’re noticing a pattern you’re dealing with a bad recruiter. If you notice that your recruiter isn’t calling when they said they would, politely call them out on their behavior next time you talk.

Perhaps they have a good reason but if they seem to just be coming up with excuses, you could try and contact the recruiter’s manager. If you’re a good fit for the role, the manager might try to quickly set you up with a more responsive recruiter to get that job vacancy filled.


  1. They Don’t Remember Talking to You

With all the scheduling technology, online calendars, and databases available to recruiters today, there really is no excuse for them not remember the last time you talked with them. If they don’t remember you from two, three or even six months ago, it is a sign of a bad recruiter. Either they are lazy or just disorganized. And having a disorganized recruiter working with you is not a good thing.

If the recruiter in Singapore shows this sign and you really want the job, call the recruitment agency manager and ask them privately if you could be assigned to another recruiter. Take caution when making a request like this as if you do it poorly, you run the risk of upsetting everyone at the agency and losing the job. But do you really want the laziest and most inattentive recruiter in your area to represent you?


  1. They Don’t Help You Prepare

While some employment agencies in Singapore simply have a five minute phone call with you and the next day you’re interviewing with the employer, a longer more thorough preparation time is ideal. Do you want to be thrown into the interview without being prepared? A bad recruiter will not help you prepare for your interview and dealing with the employer.

You’ll recognize a good recruiter when they give you tips and tricks for your interview with the employer. Perhaps there are certain questions they ask, or maybe you should wear a certain type of clothing. A good recruiter will give you a heads up and help you prepare for these scenarios.

It also shows you that this recruiter has taken their time in getting to know the position and has a good connection with the hiring company. When you work with a good recruiter like this, soak up all the information you can before going to the company for your interview.


  1. They Attempt to Charge a Fee

If a recruiter is trying to charge you a fee for finding you a job, this is a major sign of a bad recruiter. The company that hires you pays the recruitment company a fee. If the recruiter you’re working with tries to get you to sign something that obligates you to pay a fee, you need to walk away from this bad recruitment agency in Singapore. Never pay anything that the employer should be paying. No matter how good their spiel sounds, it is time that you found a better recruiter.


  1. They Encourage Bending the Truth

Sometimes recruiters encourage job seekers to lie a little bit in the interview, or bend the truth in the resume, or in their job history. This is a red flag. If the recruiter is willing to bend the truth on these things, what else are they willing to do?

If they do encourage that of you, do not do it. Stick to the truth and don’t let the bad recruiter break your integrity. It could cost you the job and your reputation.


  1. Your References Become Their Leads

During a job search you need to have employment references. But what if you get a call from your references telling you that your recruiter was calling them offering a job? This is a bad sign. What it means is that the recruiter you’re dealing with is more interested in generating leads than matching you to a career that fits your skills and goals.

If you find out that your references were contacted by your recruiter, you might consider finding another recruiter who is more focused on placing you to a good job than trying to get more people on their list.


  1. They Guarantee You the Job

No one but the hiring company can offer you the job. The recruiter is just the middle man connecting the company with qualified talent. If the recruiter you’re dealing with is so brash and in-your-face overconfident to the extent that they actually guarantee you’ll get the job, you’re dealing with a bad recruiter. It shows you that they are all talk.

Strive to work with recruiters who are more honest right from the beginning. If you have an over confident recruiter representing you, your image might be tarnished and it will cost you the job you’ve been working so hard to get.


In Conclusion

When you’re working with a recruitment / employment agency in Singapore to find a new job, keep your eyes open for any of these 10 signs that you’re dealing with a bad apple. Your recruiter is your first representation to the hiring company and you want someone who will portray you in a good image.

From the beginning look for recruiters who are detail oriented, honest, responsive, and knowledgeable. By working with someone who knows your career goals and the industry you work in, you’re much closer to landing the job of your dreams.

5 Replies to “10 Signs of a Bad Recruiter / Employment Agency in Singapore”

  1. I have been a recruiter for the past 7 years (MNC & SME, 4 years & 3 years respectively) and to a certain extent, I do agree that some consultants are painting a bad image to the industry. Things like rushing candidates during decision making, going MIA for no reasons, not remembering you for some reasons, getting rude during conversations etc. I believe, things have to work both ways if not, result will be disastrous. It is also an issue when recruiters meet up with candidates who are insincere, nasty, indecisive, backing out when they have a better offer etc. True that, in a customer service industry where services are utmost important to sustain a longevity reputation in the industry, even more so for consultants who are looking to carve out a career in this fast-pace, highly stressful and unforgiving industry. So, what was mentioned above is, a general overview of what to look out for, and not restricted to these signs. I strongly encourage cooperation from both parties to ensure a win-win situation for both, in the long run. There is no good or bad agency, it is the person who has the heart to serve you that matters.

  2. Hello Amit
    Shifting to Singapore from India after marriage, currently working in TCS in ITIS.
    Pls suggest how to start job search

  3. As a recruitment consultant here, I have to say that as much as we want to help candidates to match their career, and care for them, it isn’t as easy as it sound in reality.

    It is a number game, and the consultants are all pressured by Sales number. KPI plays a key importance in ensuring that the recruiters will still be in this line.

    Imagine, being caring and concerning to every single candidate, and not being able to achieve their numbers, the pressure of reporting poor sales numbers despite being caring & concern to every single candidate. Who is there to support the recruiters & care for the recruiters?

    We can do our best to help the candidates as much as we can, but do keep in mind that recruiters in the end, are sales people with deadlines & targets to meet.

    1. Very useful perspective to complement the article and something that job seekers should keep in mind when interacting with recruiters in Singapore.

    2. Hi, Is only a Recruiter having a competitive sales pressure?,Right people with sale pressure in their business go with a structured approach towards their clients and they make their clients win so they win.A Hr is selfish to think about his own job alone.If its so competitive why don’t people show some good hr skills like :

      1. Understand the recruiters requirement and help their candidates with key notes in CV to get shortlisted.
      2. They can atleast google and have some little idea of the technologies they are recruiting with and then read the CV before calling a candidate and tell him how well this job can prove to be an opportunity.I would say some good HR consultants i have seen they posses this skill.

      Actually to push people they don’t specify the tenure of the contract if its a short term .They don’t provide proper JD.Especially if they see a candidates resume with same wording as per the requirement(or even if the candidate has recently left the same department of the hiring company) they force him to go for interview even if he is not so interested.Candidates is not a circus lion to go out of his den for every show people want.These people sit in their own seats pull out resume documents which should be well versed by us to get an interview and finally when the contract is over they say that your performance is not good to continue. So called HR guy(who might not be an MBA in HR,probably a graduate in arts with ability to talk on phone and search on the net ) who is not having any technical skills to talk about a technically(BE or MBA or Charter qualified) skilled candidates performance who has many years experience in MNC firms and worked across geographies, is the harshest truth .

      Actually the candidates should note that if your hiring manger is happy with you nothing is a problem,so make all proper communications with hiring manager and raise all your questions in the end of interview.
      Since you are working in the team and the company be aware of the project funding and timelines.

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