October 11, 2013

Recruiters, Please cut Job Seekers Some Slack

man carrying large boxDear Employers, Recruiters and HR managers,

I think all of you should make an effort to cut job seekers some slack—especially recent college graduates. What I mean is, have a heart and be more understanding in your dealings with job seekers.

Now, my reasons for asking for such a thing are not because job seekers are lazy, or young, or don’t want to be challenged. No. But, it’s important to note and remember, job seekers are human, just like all of you.

Take this recent case for example: A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student seeking employment in the accounting industry sent the following please-offer-your-advice email to a recruiter he met at a career night:

Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 11:06 PM
Subject: Question


We talked a couple weeks back at the UW-Milwaukee accounting night. (I was the one looking for equity research positions and had a zit on my lip that could have passed for a cold sore. Lol. Whew. It was not. You’re probably like, “uh.. What?” Maybe that helps you recall, maybe not. Not completely important, I suppose.

Anyways, if you have a chance here is my question: (background first) I interviewed with BDO and Baker Tilly today, two firms that seem like good places to work, I believe they don’t kill you like a big 4. Tomorrow I have an interview with Deloitte :O somewhere I thought I’ve always wanted to work. Obviously I don’t have an offer so this is all hypothetical thinking, but if I get the job, the reality of the situation is that I’m getting old. 25. I know you can’t force love and I know it just comes when you’re not looking, but would working for a big four completely squash any possibilities for potential relationships if one came along? Is working for a big four a potential career – love trade off? I mean, I like money(as do most females) but love is…great 🙂 What are your thoughts?



Sent from my iPhone

Apparently, this email went viral among #financebros on Wall Street. People are writing articles about “how not to approach recruiters,” and all I could think after reading this was, poor kid.

Recruiters, have a heart. Yes, this young (and probably inexperienced) college student made a few obvious “don’ts” in this email; that’s pretty clear.

  • Don’t bring up the fact that you may have a cold sore or use that (or a zit) as a way for recruiters to identify you
  • Don’t send an email to a recruiter without proofreading and spellchecking…MULTIPLE TIMES
  • Don’t use “lol” in supposed-to-be professional emails
  • Don’t tell a recruiter you like money because it can come off that compensation is your only motivation

Don’t, don’t, don’t—we got it. But, and maybe it’s just me, I saw a lot more than mistakes in this student’s email. I saw a genuine need for help, direction, guidance and fear.

Here we have a college student who has most likely been bombarded with news and headlines and stats EVERY DAY about how millennials are under-employed and/or unemployed; about how there aren’t enough jobs; about how millennials are moving back home after college graduation and sinking from mounds of student loan debt.

He has probably also heard about the many stereotypes that HR pros have about millennials; about how the “real world” is so tough; about how Americans are workaholics and struggle for work-life balance. This kid is probably scared and is certainly unsure.

In reaching out to the recruiter, it’s evident that he had concerns about work-life balance; can he truly  be successful and make a certain amount of money and still have a personal life—both achievements most people strive for. He was genuinely seeking help and guidance from a recruiter, from someone who is already in the industry and has much more experience in these areas.

He was seeking advice. Why, instead of “making an example” of this student, couldn’t the recruiter choose to be an example? Why couldn’t she discreetly show him the error in his approach while offering advice? Why couldn’t she cut this job seeker some slack?

Now, I’m not saying recruiters need to be open to job seekers approaching them in any kind of way. Yet, I am asking recruiters to look deeper and think about job seekers’ backgrounds. Most about-to-be or recent grads don’t know about the “real world” or if you can really have work-life balance or even if it’s okay to want a personal life and a career. We read articles and go to lectures seeking job search advice, but most of us still don’t have this down pact.

So, then the opportunity arises to possibly get advice from someone in the industry, and because of our inexperience and (most likely) ignorance on how to approach recruiters, our efforts get blasted for the world to make a mockery of.

Recruiters, have a heart. Young job seekers are just trying to get some help. Like the millions of other unemployed Americans, they’re facing a tough economy and are simply seeking any aid available to them. Please make an effort to look past “perfection” to uncover the true motives of a job seeker’s inquiry.


A young job seeker

Read more in Job Search Advice

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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