It's time to take an aggressive position against this prevalent and disappointing trend of demeaning recruiters. It's almost become a fad for recruiters to write blogs about how recruiters suck, so that they can distinguish themselves against the others... their main 'selling point' being that they 'suck less' than the others. This is no way to be a professional!
I've been a recruiter for 25 years, and I don't know any recruiters who suck. I see instead a trend of highly vocal people who are discontent and unemployable or unrecruitable saying so, as though they have the expertise required to do the job themselves, and could teach us all vastly more about the profession we have dedicated our lives to in five minutes than we have ever learned before. In my experience, most of the critics happen to be in the software industry (which is an industry where mental illness is 3 to 5 times more common than it is in the general population). I do see a direct correlation between complaints and suspected mental disorders... I've rarely encountered a persistent critic in any other industry.
The harsh reality is that 'recruiters who suck' end up finding other jobs in other industries very quickly, since they can't bill or make a living as recruiters. I've seen 300+ people walk into my company over the years and try to become a recruiter, with our best training and help. Only about 5 actually succeeded to any extent.
Recruiting is a very difficult job and much harder than most 'candidates' are aware. It is also much more intricate and involved than outsiders know, and a top recruiter can provide an extremely valuable service to companies and candidates, both. It requires a degree of persistence, tenacity, and determination that other people in other industries simply do not usually have. We are worth our weight in gold (literally), when we do our job to the best of our abilities, and we need to remember that when "sour grapes" critics are being disparaging towards us.
I see a disappointing trend of marginalizing recruiters going on, and I think a lot of that had to do with the slow economy in the last several years, because it was much harder to find job opportunities, and people (rightly or not) like to blame other parties than themselves for this lack of growth -- hence they blame recruiters. Now that job prospects are improving, I predict a shift back to the days when people were less likely to be critical towards the industry. My intention is to remain on the forefront of the new growth trend, which is almost an inevitability. So far, 2014 has been a record-setting year, with billings surpassing any of my previous years.
The bottom line is, if my client companies are happy with my work, and I'm enjoying myself, then the tiny minority of odd-balls who say negative things about my profession doesn't matter to me. Nonetheless, I am always professional and courteous to candidates, I return every phone call or email that comes in, and I would never take advantage of a candidate or ignore them... but I do draw a line with crazies that say obnoxious things for no reason. In most cases, there are other underlying causes for negative remarks than something I or another recruiter has done. In most cases, the people making the remarks were clearly not viable candidates, and seemed to have the impression that they were, despite my explanations that I wasn't interested in people who present insoluble management problems or bizarre behavior.
Sometimes the complaints are completely ludicrous. For instance, I've had an engineer with 3 year's experience insist that he wanted a stock option package that only VP-level executives could have. Is that my fault? No. I explained why it was impossible, but the candidate didn't care, and we placed someone else, instead. He probably still thinks that I let him down, but I have to recognize that he was delusional. That is why it is vital to always have a back-up (and a back-up for the back-up).
In another instance I had a 4-year candidate who started telling me how 'unprofessional' I was (he had cancelled an interview at the last moment, without cause, and I let him know that I thought it was not professional of him). He then started telling me how he was going to make much more money than I make, which seemed strange. I pointed out that he didn't have any idea how much money I made, whereas I had elaborate amounts of statistics on the income in his profession, and I didn't think so. Such bizarre comments can only come from people who have embraced the ideas that recruiters are menial, trivial people... that 'recruiters suck'. We need to put our collective foot down, and reverse this trend -- we'd be doing the candidates a service to do so.
By the way, I have yet to find any recruiting software that works better than my own network of people that I have known for 25 years, but this is probably another topic for another time.