The Making of a Bad Recruiter

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Makings of a Bad Recruiter

I’ve been an Agency Recruiter for a long time now. I like what I do and I know how important a service recruiters provide to both their candidates and their clients, whether internal or external.  It’s actually a fantastic profession for people who are personable, driven and ambitious, yet thrive on challenge and change.

However, more and more the industry is being filled with ‘part-time recruiters.’  Sure they work their 40 hours a week and sure it’s a full-time job to them…but it’s just a stop along the way, not a career or a calling. What’s the problem? Are we simply hiring the wrong people or does the industry just churn and burn talented people right out the door? Are we constantly planting seeds for more bad recruiters?

As an Agency Recruiter, I see a lot of turn-over in the industry and a lot of new hires coming in and out of the proverbial revolving door.  Over the years I started to wonder what the issue is.  Lots of hires come in seeming bright, excited and optimistic, but in short order they’re frustrated, negative and tired.  When you take a step back and really try to identify the problem there are a few tell-tale signs of what turns a good prospect bad.

  • Bad Hiring Mentality: I’ve trained a lot of Recruiters at this point…a lot.  Some have seemed very promising while others have seemed just ‘alright.’  But they all seem young and inexperienced.  A shocking number of Agencies like to follow the model of hiring the young and out of work. If they work out it’s a coup, and if not, well not a lot of time or money have been expended before the inevitable parting of ways.  We talk a lot about the negative stereotypes that surround Recruiters, particularly on the Agency side.  But surprise, much of that bias and that lack of value come straight from the Agencies themselves.  If you consistently hire inexperienced, inexpensive resources what implicit value are you really seeing in your recruitment team? What signals are you sending to people both in and out of the industry? Beyond that, if your new Recruiter is at all good, they know why they were hired…not a great way to start off.
  • Professional Development: A few years ago a colleague of mine was grumbling about having to renew his CPC.  I had no idea what that meant. A CPC or CPS certification is essentially a professional training and certification for the Recruiting industry…and it’s a term most recruiters haven’t heard of.   There are a lot of big corporate recruiting agencies out there with specialties ranging from Administrative to Executive staffing, but precious few of them either encourage or pay for their Recruiters to become certified.  Realtors, Appraisers, Doctors, Teachers and even Electricians spend countless hours re-certifying and re-training…but Recruiters often don’t.  Primarily this is the fault of the companies that we work for…the lack of value placed on experience and training is a clear signal that the recruiting role while absolutely vital isn’t highly valued.  Mix in an inexperienced Recruiter with limited training and voila; a recipe for a wreck.
  • The Sales Environment: Lots of companies and Sales Managers like to point out that their Recruiters need to be able to sell.  After all, our job is to sell clients on us, candidates on jobs and clients on candidates.  At the end of the day, we spend more time selling someone on something than we do on traditional hunting.  But the sales attitude doesn’t flow down from the top.  After taking a look at most of the big companies out there I can safely say that the majority of agencies have management that motivate through numbers (You haven’t hit your requisite number of candidate connects today), fear, (The market is getting worse. You have to pick it up), to generic nonsense statements (You’re doing great.  But I need you to pick it up and double your productivity. But you’re doing great). When you bring a new recruiter into an environment like that it’s not surprising that a number of people become frustrated and burnt out quickly.  The feedback isn’t helpful, the inspiration is limited and interaction meaningless. The dividends in this business only pay out if you keep moving, keep your head up and remain optimistic.  If you let the naysayers get you down, well, you’re already done.

Recruiting definitely isn’t an easy business.  Recruiters get to deal with negativity from candidates, clients and often colleagues.  If you choose to bring a new recruiter into this environment, it can be a culture shock for them.  And if you don’t provide the feeling of value, the training or the positivity, chances are you’ve got a lost cause on your hands from day one.  Hire smart, value your team and keep up the attitude…that’s long-term success.

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With a background in business development and an expertise in staffing and employment, Christine is the Manager of Market Development for At Christine focuses on creating new marketing avenues and products for Recruiters and HR professionals alike.
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