Unless you just started recruiting yesterday (yikes) you’ve already come face to face with recruiter bashing. People seem to love bashing recruiters more than investment bankers or… criminals for that matter. Recruiters spend their days finding people for jobs and finding Managers talent. It seems like a win-win service and one that’s necessary for our businesses to function. So what’s with all the hate out there? Where’s the love?
These days there are a lot of folks out of work and looking for employment. There are still others who are employed but have decided (for any number of reasons) that it’s time for them to move on. Recruiters are fielding more resumes, more phone calls and more candidates than they were 5 years ago. It’s a tough job. From our perspective, the sheer volume of business can be close to paralyzing. But let’s flip it around for a bit and try to understand why candidates (though often working with us to secure employment) often turn around and bash recruiters with such fervor. Because there are a few reasons and any Recruiter would be hard-pressed to admit that they don’t fall into at least one of these categories.
- No Call Back: When people are out looking for a new job, it can be a very momentous change in their lives and a very personal one at that. And unfortunately, most people don’t know where to start, so they do what everyone does. They apply their butts off…and are deafened by the silence from each and every hiring company. So they turn to us. They apply for a job, send in a resume, call and email to follow-up, all the right stuff that the books say to do. Still nothing. Can you imagine the frustration? But most of this anger stems from a misunderstanding from what it is Recruiters do: we work for our Managers and our clients, not our candidates. If the resume isn’t a match, more than likely the Recruiter legitimately cannot spare the time to call the candidate back. Sad, but true. In a time of 10% unemployment and a constantly changing marketplace, Recruiters are working twice as hard and unfortunately, it’s the candidates who aren’t a perfect match that get left by the wayside.
- Lack of Understanding: Over the years I’ve heard any number of candidates complain about Recruiters that A) don’t understand the job they’re trying to fill or B) don’t understand the resume that they’re reading. In some cases, this might be a legitimate failing in the Recruiter…after all most professional strive to understand their business as much as possible. But more often than not, candidates are expecting the Recruiter to be an expert in the job they’re filling…but we’re not. We’re experts at our job; interviewing and hiring talent. There’s a fine line people in our profession are often walking; we have to understand the jobs we fill in enough detail that we can honestly and clearly represent the role to our candidates. Still again, we have to make clear to the candidates that we are not, say, aerospace engineers or software developers. Until you’ve been in this business for awhile and developed the necessary background knowledge for your jobs, it’s a tough (and narrow) line that we walk.
- Feedback: Everyone wants to know how they did! We’re wired that way from grade school on up. Take a test? Here’s a grade. Take a class? Here’s how you did. Give an interview? Here’s what happened. It’s natural. So why can’t us Recruiters get off our butt to share some honest feedback with our candidates? This is a tricky one and it almost always falls into two categories. One, the Manager hasn’t given us any feedback. Though it may be hard to believe for people externally, even the Manager who shook your hand and said you were a hit might be fudging the truth because he doesn’t know how to end an interview. And then the Manager doesn’t give the Recruiter feedback…we’re frustrated because we don’t want to throw the Manager under the boss and sour you on the job so we absorb the blame and take the hit. And the other time we don’t give feedback? It was probably bad, harsh, personal feedback that would hurt a person and injure their job search long-term. We’re actually pretty nice people by and large and telling someone that the Manager called them a jerk or said their personality was awful…yeah, it’s soul crushing. We avoid it. We shouldn’t, but we do.
Please remember, while you may have had a bad experience with a Recruiter in the past, don’t assume that we’re all bad people or unprofessional. I dare say that unprofessional, crappy people exist in all jobs and professions. So when you’re working with a new Recruiter, understand the basics: We work for our clients or internal companies, we are looking for the person that fits the job spec best and we don’t like hurting peoples’ feelings. I bet that if you told a Recruiter you understood that and just wanted realistic expectations set, they would be a lot more honest and forthcoming with you.