A lot of sleazy headhunters insist on meeting me before sending me on interviews. It’s almost always a complete waste of time. It’s so bad that I’m considering adding a policy of refusing to meet headhunters. On the other hand, there frequently is an errand I’m willing to run in a nearby store, so it isn’t a total waste.
I usually refuse to take stupid programming screening tests. I used to do them a lot, but it never led to quality interviews or offers, so now I refuse unless I can do it quickly.
Many of the headhunters who insist on meeting me also demand my SSN. You should NEVER give out your SSN until the offer stage. There’s too great a risk of identity theft.
I have gotten jobs through headhunters, but never through one who insisted on meeting me first.
There’s another reason for this selection bias. Suppose a headhunter doesn’t live in NYC, but has clients in NYC. Therefore, he must have some degree of competence. For the headhunters who live in NYC, they can insist on meeting me, even if they have no leads for me. Of course, the headhunter will pretend to have a matching job, even if he has nothing. If the headhunter isn’t busy that day, he might as well fill his time by meeting with me. They will interview me to “get me in their database”. They also can grill me for places I’ve worked and former managers (i.e., people who might be potential clients). They ask me what other interviews I’ve been on, so they can find out who else is hiring.
I already refuse to take most screening tests. I refuse to give out my SSN. I’m very close to establishing a policy of refusing to meet with headhunters before interviews. I’ve never gotten an offer through a headhunter who insisted on meeting me first, and most of the interviews they did send me on were low quality. If a headhunter is sleazy, his clients tend to also be sleazy.