A couple of years ago, we spent New Years Eve in Thornton Park, at the end of Balmain, with a great view of the Harbour Bridge. We got there around 4pm, set up our chairs, and prepared to wait for the fireworks. There was about 100 people there, one of whom was a talker. He was floating around, talking to people, most of whom were doing their best to pretend he wasn’t there. He sat on a bench about 10 feet from me, and identified me as his next victim.

To be honest, I can’t remember the first few things he asked me, and I didn’t really mind. What got me nervous was when he asked me what I did for a living. As I said, he was about 10 feet from me, and there were plenty of people around. Why didn’t I want everyone else to hear that I worked in recruitment? I tried it a couple of times quietly, but of course this guy couldn’t hear me. “I’m a pilot!”, I would have preferred to say.

Recruitment is a valuable profession - everybody needs recruiters whether they like it or not. But unfortunately many people claim to hate recruitment consultants. Like car salesman and real estate agents (hey, we need those guys too). Even recruiters engage in rec con baiting. Agency recruiters hate in house recruiters, and everybody hates rec to recs. So why is this?

We use recruitment consultants when we are looking to make a big change in life. When things go wrong, or you are not happy with the service you have received, naturally you are going to curse your consultant. How many people have had only positive experiences when looking for a new job? Not many, I’d say. And of course there are a lot of crap consultants out there. These guys don’t help.

However this is no different to any other profession - there’s a lot of crap everywhere to be honest. It’s just that we can hang up the phone on those people; those people who may not have a face, or a name, or that can be easily replaced. Recruiters are the ones who help us with our careers, so it matters.

That’s an important thing for us to remember. When you are dealing with a candidate, no matter how rubbish, or annoying, or C grade with poor comms you deem them to be, they are in a difficult position and need help, guidance, and support. Give feedback, return their calls, and approach them with a sensitive honesty. Same goes for the top candidates!

Finally, it amuses me that everyone gives out about ‘bloody recruiters’, but most of the people I know that do that love to share a drink with recruiters, because we can be great company!

Please share with me your thoughts - do you agree that recruiters are disliked? What about the reasons for it? Is it deserved? What about why hiring managers hate recruiters? I can think of a few reasons, but can’t be bothered going on anymore about it!


Views: 1250

Comment by Sharyn Yuloff on October 4, 2009 at 8:34pm
As a corporate recruiter, I can say that I get frustrated by recruiter consultants who continue to call trying to pitch a candidate even though I have repeatedly advised that we are a small firm, with little turn over, and that I will contact them when we have a need. I encourage them to focus on larger clients who can actually utilize their services. Although they thank me for my honesty, they continue to call monthly, quarterly, sometimes even weekly. We haven't hired anyone in almost a year...I really do have other things to do to help me retain my own position rather than listen to their pitch when they have already been advised of our situation. Thanks for letting em share!
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on October 4, 2009 at 11:56pm
Ian, from a corporate HR perspective I would agree with Sharon's comment that there seems to be some recruiters that are better at sales than candidate care. Fully agree with your comments about candidates and I talk regularly to candidates to get their perspective, which often is tainted by the perception of a firm, rather than a specific recruiter.

The worst case I had was a year ago, when I happen to have won a bottle of Moet & Chandon at a recruiter's function. Great opportunity to showcase this recruiter, you would have thought. A few weeks later I phoned them and spoke to the consultant, who apologised and arranged a meeting to drop it of, obviously with a sales spiel. On the day she failed to show up, and when I phoned to see if there was a reason, she was off sick. Fair enough, but after a few more weeks, I thought bugger it and phoned again, after all it was a bottle of Moet! This time she admitted that the bottle was stolen from her desk for Friday drinks - so much for building relationships with clients. I think it took about three months to finally get my bottle of champagne, which I really needed desperately by that time to retain any positive memories from this debacle.
Comment by Sharon Graham on October 5, 2009 at 9:32am
Good perspective. I don't think that everyone hates recruiters, but I do agree that recruiters need to treat every candidate with respect. As a career strategist working with candidates, I can offer some input from the other side of the table:
Comment by Richard Tillbrook on October 5, 2009 at 10:41am
I think its all down to years without effective (or indeed any) regulation in our industry. We have alll met those people in recruitment who we feel give our industry a bad name.
Comment by Jim Canto on October 5, 2009 at 11:53am

Recruiters are "hated" for the same reasons as car dealers, door-to-door salespeople, mortgage brokers, insurance salespeople, etc. Why? Aggressive sales tactics (said the former car dealer, door-to-door salesman, mortgage broker, almost insurance salesman. LOL) Seriously, why else would someone be despised who is actually trying to help other people?
Comment by Joe Flores on October 5, 2009 at 12:30pm
Oddly enough this comes at a point in time when I often here "Wow! You are not like most recruiters I have talked with about positions."

As someone with genuine concern to find the candidate that best fits both a spec and corporate culture, I find the topic amazing to even be a topic.

Our success is highly dependent on deliverables and activity like phone calls, left messages and phone tag games does not add up to deliverables. Action items like the phone screens, presentation of candidates, and, ultimately, hires are the things we need to provide to clients (both internal and external).

Many recruiters, to date, are focused on those action items so intensely that the "human element" of recruiting tends to slip away. We are so busy with reports, or call logs, or tracking and pushing candidates through the process that we forget to place compassion into our recruiting.

We forget things like coaching and development. If I have a "C" or "B" candidate, even an "A player", I always find something constructive for the candidate to take in as additional insight. Even a top candidate can continue to learn and grow. This task is also great to identify how well your "A player" will receive constructive criticism or other additional insight. All the while, your developing candidates appreciate your interest to help them land their next big "gig" through small coaching and tips for the interview process.

This is what I do to keep the recruitment industry in a good standing with candidates that come across my desk. And on another note, no one candidate is my candidate, nor am I their recruiter. I am a recruiter, and they are candidates, people even.

That is how I want to be treated...like a person.
Comment by JoAnne Auerbach on October 5, 2009 at 12:31pm
Although currently an executive recruiter & consultant, I was also in-house in recruitment and HR management. Recruiters/hiring mgrs inside companies dislike recruiters because most who call to get business don't know anything about the company they're calling, the job they're trying to recruit for, the candidate they want to present (who doesn't have any background for the specific position) or is presenting the candidate without asking the candidate's approval and make gradiose claims. In-house recruiters don't like that outside recruiters constantly pester them or go directly to hiring managers, but that's often because in-house recruiters won't communicate with them or give them status updates re submitted candidates. From the job-seeker perspective, it's that recruiters are rude, bring them jobs they're not fit for (usually the candidate is overqualified) and try to talk them into what a perfect fit it is and for candidates, it's that recruiters don't keep in touch or return calls. If I had a nickel for every person who thanks me for a response to receiving their resume (saying it's so rare), I wouldn't need to work any more. There are 2 types of recruiters - sales and relationship. It's the relationship that will win out every time (well, almost......).
Comment by Ron Rafelli on October 5, 2009 at 1:28pm
I am an "in-house" recruiter for a global company. I started on the agency side (years ago) and still have many friends on the agency side. I get about 25 sales calls per week from agencies. I have professional relationships with several agencies whose help I appreciate and value when needed. The reason some people do not like some agency recruiters is simple (notice I did not say all people or all agency recruiters)... they are pushy. Very, very pushy. They are pushy during sales calls, they are pushy when they cold call candidates. They are pushy during the presenation and interview process, and they are pushy during the "close". The agency people with whom I choose to work are not pushy, which is why I work with them. Unfortunately, in my experience, they are very much in the minority. I think it is the nature of the way the profession is structured. There are no barriers to entry, so anyone with a telephone and an internet connection can suddenly be a "recruiter". Secondly, they usually don't get paid unless a placement is made. This can lead to a mindset of despiration, which causes many people to become very pushy. I can't say I blame them to a certain extent, but I don't want to do business with them. In order for the profession as a whole to gain respect, you have to figure out a way to get rid of at least some of the pushy, fly-by-night members of the profession. Unfortunately, that is not an insignificant portion of the people currently calling themselves "recruiters".
Comment by Mitch Sullivan on October 5, 2009 at 1:40pm
Comment by Jim Canto on October 6, 2009 at 8:44am
OMG... Sandra.. that reply just about brought tears to my eyes. *grin* Love the honesty. I agree 100%. This is exactly what motivates me to build what I'm building (story for another time though.)

So... now... does anyone still wonder why Social Recruiting is less effective than we'd all like it to be? I mean really. Do you really expect intelligent candidates and clients to simply jump in front of a speeding bus? Think about it.

Lucky for us; The value of Social Networking (for some) outweighs the risk of "playing in traffic."


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