Why do people hate recruiters?
After nearly 21 years I can share with you that being a recruiter is a pretty tough gig!
Well, we’re viewed by most of our employer clients as a “grudge purchase” rather than a professional business partner who will help then save time and money and find better people…
The majority of our job seeking candidates view us as a “gatekeeper” trying to prevent them from getting what they want…
In most instances, we only make money when we achieve a successful outcome and then the employer usually resents having to pay! Often we do a lot of leg work only for the employer or job seeker to change their mind about proceeding at the eleventh hour…
A recruiter's nightmare...
Imagine that you’ve spent weeks finding the “perfect” candidate for some hard to fill role. This will have entailed hours spent interviewing the candidate, selling them the job, checking their references, coaching them for client interviews, countless follow up attempts etc.
Just when you think the deal is done and the money’s as good as in the bank, on of the following happens:
Employer announces they have made an “internal appointment”
Employer announces that they have decided not to proceed with the appoint for now
Employer goes “off the grid” and stops returning calls, emails etc
Job Seeker has change of heart and decides to remain with current employer
Job Seeker advises that he has accepted another offer
Job Seeker goes “off the grid” and stops returning calls, emails etc
Respect for Job Seekers is paramount but it needs to be a two way street...
As a former Job Seeker, I can understand the frustrations endured by those forced into the job seeking process! In fact, one of the promises I made to myself 21 years ago when I got into this business was that I would treat my candidates in a professional and respectful manner.
To say that I have never failed in this area would be untrue, but I know that wherever possible, the concept of “candidate care” is high on my priority list!
Unfortunately, many Job Seekers have unrealistic expectations and seem to think that recruiter are magicians and mind-readers rather than real people trying to please many masters in a system that is not quite perfect…
If you’re Job Seeker, chances are that sooner rather than later you will need to deal with a recruiter; and your actions will influence how positive or otherwise that experience is…
The first thing that Job Seekers need to understand is that the majority of recruiter assignments are “multi listed” i.e. the employer has given the same job to more than one recruiter in the belief that it will deliver better results. There are many reasons why this thought process is flawed but we’ll leave that for another blog post!
How not to deal with a recruiter...
After listing the job, the recruiter gets a call from a potential candidate that will go something like this:
Job Seeker: I’m calling about the xxx job…
(That’s the opening line - no self introduction or identification)
Recruiter: Who am I speaking to please?
(This question is often met with a level of suspicion / hostility as if you’re asking for their online banking password)
Job Seeker will either then identify themselves or ask some sort of vague questions about the job - usually salary related…
Recruiter: Can you please give me a brief overview of your experience and how it is relative to the vacancy in question?
Job Seeker will hopefully offer the necessary information…
Recruiter: (assuming candidate meets basic criteria) That sounds great, did you have any specific questions regarding the job?
(Most questions short of the employer’s identity can be dealt with quite easily, at least in general terms)
Recruiter: (assuming candidate is unsuitable) Unfortunately the employer has stipulated certain criteria for applicants and based on what you told me I doubt you would be successful in your application for this position.
However, you are welcome to forward your resume and we’ll keep your details on file for future reference…
(most candidates fail to take advantage of this offer)
Job Seeker: I’d really like to know who the job is with?
Recruiter: I understand that but unfortunately our policy is to only reveal that information once we have confirmed who we are dealing with and their suitability for the vacancy. If you forward your resume I will review it and contact you with more information…
(Many candidates fail to send their resumes which suggests they were not serious or real applicants in the first place)
Now, I know that many recruiters totally fail to acknowledge receipt of applications but we acknowledge all applications that are made through proper channels. I do not respond to applications from totally unsuitable candidates e.g. General Management applicants whose only work experience is low level in totally unrelated industry. These people have not read the advert and are wasting everyone’s time!
Telephone contact by potential candidates is welcome!
It is perfectly acceptable - encouraged even - to make contact with a recruiter prior to submitting your application; but like most things in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it…
An example of the right way occurred only recently…
Job Seeker: I’m calling about the xxx Sales Manager role…
Recruiter: Who am I speaking to please?
Job Seeker: My name is xxx xxx…
Recruiter: Tell me a bit about your experience and how you fit into this particular role?
Job Seeker: Background explained and key criteria addressed…
Recruiter: Sounds great! Was there anything in particular you wanted to know?
Job Seeker: Yes, can you tell me where the job is located?
Recruiter: Location revealed and suitability discussed…
Job Seeker: Are you able to tell me which dealership this job is with?
Recruiter: I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that just now, but if you email me your resume I’ll call you back and give you that information…
Job Seeker: Ok, I’ll do that tonight!
The Job Seeker emailed the resume, I called him straight back and identified the employer. We discussed the opportunity and arranged to conduct a video interview that evening. Interview was conducted and the next day I conducted reference checks, forwarded report to the employer and arranged an interview with the client in three days time. WIthin a week of his initial inquiry, the candidate had secured the job!
The moral of the story is that the recruiter generally wants to help but the Job Seeker needs to be realistic and be willing to play the game according to the rules!
Job Seeker feedback and follow up...
Another thing Job Seekers often complain of is lack of follow up and feed back on their applications. We have a process that acknowledges applications and gives a timeline for future contact (or otherwise).
We contact all applicants following interviews to advise them of the status of their application.
All applicants are advised if unsuccessful and given feedback where possible.
Applicants need to understand that employers and recruiters are somewhat reluctant to get too detailed when it comes to feedback for fear of being accused of some sort of bogus discrimination etc.
Ultimately, if the employer says “Candidate xyz is a NO” then I don’t go looking for too much feedback beyond that.
It would be great if you could give “honest” feedback, but the fact is that in the words of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men - “You can’t handle the truth!”
In a perfect world all applicants would be selected totally on their merits using scientifically proven testing methods, but until that day arrives, we are stuck with the old fashioned “gut feel” process that most employers use...
Written by Laurie Williams
Australia's Most Experienced Motor Industry Recruiter
LJW Employment Solutions - Melbourne & Adelaide - 0412 523 168