Ugh Recruiters

I’ve spent over a decade in some version of recruiting and I’ve evolved from the timid girl on the phone coaxing for candidate and client attention to a woman with a passionate conviction, knowing what I have to offer is valuable and if someone isn’t ready to receive my value, well… so be it.

All recruiters have a different style, approach, and intention.  There is no denying that some are really talented and some are quite honestly, just painful to deal with.  This can be said about every industry though right?  The creepy car salesman that doesn’t care in the slightest what your needs are but will pester you and chase you and bully you into a purchase versus the person who stands back, is available at your beckon call to answer questions but gives you space and freedom to make decisions at your own pace – confident that the sale will be made as long as he/she can provide excellent service, education, and attention?

I sit back and question what and where we went wrong in this industry that has caused people to feel so guarded and downright offended when they get that call or email from the dreaded recruiter and wonder if maybe our industry as a whole could do a better job of really hearing and understanding why it is that these clients and candidates cringe when they hear the word “Recruiter.”

The following are 3 reasons that I think our services and expertise is getting largely ignored and crapped on and how we can rectify the damage done and learn to function in a mutually effective partnership with people.

1.They NEVER call you back!

I hear this so often – “I applied to this position and tried several times to get the recruiter to call me back to discuss my resume and qualifications.  When I finally tracked the person down, they immediately discounted my resume and told me I wasn’t a fit for the job – but they would keep me in mind for something else in the future”. This type of exchange is so common and we’ve all done it!  How can we handle this better to leave each and every person who has taken the time to reach out to us with a sense of value and respect?

Recruiters: If you are writing a job advertisement, set a clear expectation of your process and then stick with it.  If you say that people can call or email with questions, then be available.  If someone calls you, call them back within 24 hours.  This is a hard part of the recruiters job.  Setting realistic expectations and then managing those expectations.  Also, if someone calls you, give them the respect they deserve with a 5 minute conversation to establish rapport and to let them know that you are hired by your client to hire a specific skill set and that although they may not have the right skills, you would be happy to take a few minutes to understand their background for any future opportunities.  Full stop.  No promises to call them back in 2 weeks if the position is still open or an invite for them to call you to check in in a few weeks….all B.S.   Just stick to the truth – this isn’t for you, but I’d love another friend in the industry.

Candidates: Please understand that we are paid for our services from the client company and unfortunately we don’t work for you.  However, when we meet a strong candidate that really knows what they want and have proven they can communicate and be present to the process, we absolutely will be working on your behalf.  This is where you can tell what type of relationships your recruiter really has in the industry.  A really good recruiter will have rock solid, trusted relationships with top companies in your field of business and will make calls to any client that they think would benefit from meeting you – open position or not.

2. They drop you like a bad habit when the deal isn’t getting done

Candidates cooperate, they show up to the interview, they call you after the interview as you asked…but your client expresses that this person isn’t a fit for the job.  What happens next is what determines if this candidate relationship goes down the crapper or starts to grow into a career-long relationship.

Recruiters: Communicate with your people and do what you say.  After an interview follow up with the candidate to hear their thoughts.  After you hear from the client, give your candidate feedback.  Let’s make people feel positive about the fact they took the chance to meet with someone new and to more deeply explore what they might really want in their career. That’s all we need to do – deliver honest and clear communication.

Candidates: If the answer you get is no, then the answer is likely just that.  A seasoned recruiter will offer consult to their client.  Sometimes, we think that our client is missing a critical part of your skill set and we encourage them to give you more attention if they don’t find the ideal person in the interview process. Sometimes, this works out and we may call you back in a couple of weeks to let you know you are back in the ring.  Please be patient and know that we will call you IF it is right for our client.

3. This Recruiter has NO IDEA what I do!

There is maybe nothing more awkward then a conversation that is loaded with assumptions and incorrect information.  Imagine calling a Civil Superintendent to discuss a position with a high end, interiors contractor.  This wouldn’t make sense. I imagine a candidate doesn’t feel all that special when the call comes in to let them know they have been sourced as a potentially great fit for a client to then learn that it’s all a big script and the recruiter doesn’t even get what they do.

Recruiter: We’ve all been there – a new client brings you business and you’ve never worked with that exact type of specialty, project, whatever.  If you are like me, it can take a few conversations for things to really sink in and for light bulbs to go on.  So we ask intelligent questions and we do our homework to research and really get in the head of who these people are and what they do.  Probably not a good idea to wing it and hope your charm will carry you through.

Candidate: Be open and willing to help.  There will be times when a recruiter might get hung up on some terminology or reference the wrong software.  Pay more attention to this person’s ability to ask the right questions.  If you can tell that the recruiter is a strong communicator and can admit to what he or she doesn’t know, then that person is probably worth helping out a bit.

Recruiters, Talent Scouts, Headhunters…whatever you want to call us, are important and sometimes critical partners as you navigate through your career. The goal should be to find the right recruiter for you and then BUILD a relationship. Initiate the relationship when you don’t need it.  It’s ok to build this relationship even if you are happily employed elsewhere.  You aren’t cheating on your boss by sharing your career and life goals with a trusted partner that can be there to help when and if the time is right.

The right recruiter partnership will serve you in ways that go beyond job introductions.  A good recruiter is a consultant and a coach that is available to guide you through transitions, pay increases and other challenges along the way.  Maybe we are a rare breed, I don’t know.  Recruiters don’t call me, so I have to take your word for it…


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