Defending RecruitersLately there have been quite a few articles, comments and statements made about both Recruiting as a profession, as well as Recruiters as individuals.  Over and over, we have seen statements from candidates, clients and even other Recruiters that shine a negative light on this profession.  Well, a few of those statements gave me pause.

While looking through a few of the complaints and comments about Recruiters I had to admit that a fair number of them were probably true.  Recruiters aren’t always great at getting back to people.  Recruiters don’t always have the best idea of what a Manager is looking for.  But what I did notice more and more is that most of the folks that had had bad experiences in the profession had very little experience or knowledge about recruiting on a first hand basis.  So just a few notes about what a Recruiter deals with day in and day out.

  • Bad Candidates: Most often candidates are reasonable, practical professionals.  They understand that they’re out in a constricted job market and they know that any leg up will be not only helpful, but probably necessary to secure that next job.  On the other hand, Recruiters also deal with the bad candidates, every single day.  When talking to candidates to prep them for interviews, I’ve had a number of people feel that I was being condescending when I told them to wear professional attire and bring several copies of their resume.  Of course they were going to do that. Do I really think they’re that unprofessional? Note to the world; every single Recruiter out there can tell you of at least a handful of candidates who have shown up to interviews in shorts, beach attire or a micro mini skirt.  Every Recruiter can tell you a story of someone who showed up and intentionally threw an interview.  Every Recruiter can tell you about the candidate essentially went into an interview and did a 180.  It happens.  A lot.  When you’re dealing with a Recruiter, you should always bear in mind that their end game is to get you a job but that they have been burned before by not carefully covering every base, even the silly ones.
  • Bad Clients, Rules and Contracts: In recent years, complaints about recruiters not knowing enough about a job opening, or rushing through the qualifying process or treating each candidate like a number have increased.  They’ve increased because so has the behavior from recruiters.  But why the recent change?  Another piece of information most folks (clients, candidates, other recruiters included) don’t seem to understand is that very often these days Recruiters are dealing with Service Level Agreements, corporate contracts and Vendor Management Systems that essentially require Recruiters to sprint through the process. We are not only encouraged but required to submit a specific number of resumes within a very short time frame.  Most of us don’t like it.  It takes the real pleasures of recruiting right out of our day.  There is no real qualification; there is no real client consultative relationship…we’re forced to go by the numbers.
  • What Came First, the Recruiter or the Job: Last night my husband and I went out to dinner.  He held the door open for an elderly couple who thanked us on their way by.  When our waiter brought our food and our bill, we thanked him.  But does anyone thank their Recruiter?  We get people jobs, career stepping stones and a paycheck when people these days are in dire straits…but interestingly enough; the ‘thank you’ is few and far between.  Yes, employing people is our job, but when we are able to find someone a job successfully, when we get someone out of the market and into the job, many candidates act as if it’s their due.  Many candidates forget the Recruiter the day the job offer is signed.

Recruiters deal with everybody; we don’t pick and choose who is looking for a job and so we work with the best professionals as well as the most difficult candidates.  We get treated like we’re ignorant; we get treated like we’re a necessary evil; we get treated like a cold-hearted criminal just for doing our job.  The next time you’re dealing with a Recruiter bear in mind that the ten candidates before you may have shown up to interviews wearing turquoise turtle shorts, yelled at the Recruiter or performed so poorly that the Hiring Manager took time out of his busy schedule to yell at them.  And if they get you a job?  Say thank you. You may not think you have to, but honestly, almost every Recruiter will have their day made by a thank you. That is, if they don’t pass out from shock..

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