It’s no secret that I am a Recruiter. Some would call me a traitor to my industry because I believe in keeping it real and calling out (some) recruiters on their shenanigans.  Have you ever wondered what some recruiters say about candidates behind their backs?  For the most part, many are empathetic and genuine.  But there are some who only see candidates as a commodity and not the potential human resource that could benefit their company (or client’s company).

I belong to a small handful of recruiter focused sites.  The main three arguments that are ongoing and never-ending are:

1) What type of candidates post their resumes online and does posting make them low level or loser candidates?

2) I don’t have enough time to respond to candidates. I will only communicate with finalists and I don’t need to close the loop with those who didn’t make it.

3) Agency recruiters are superior to corporate recruiters.

Yes, it’s disgusting isn’t it.  People see recruiters as the first line of defense for a company.  It is our job to keep the lines of communication open and treat all viable candidates with the utmost respect.  But there are some recruiters who don’t care about candidates.  They reason that if candidates are posting their resumes on job boards, then they are “low hanging fruit” not worthy of their time.  They only want to go after passive candidates (people who don’t post their resumes) because it means they are good at what they do and are more worthy of consideration.  They also say that there is too much on their plates to bother with candidate email or phone calls (some get annoyed when a candidate follows up!).  They say that candidates are not in control, recruiters are.  I disagree.

Let’s take a look at what some are saying:

  • The Job Boards don’t necessarily get you connected to the “best of the best”. Resumes are posted by candidates who are actively seeking a new job. These are sometimes desperate people who will apply to anything (choking up in-boxes along the way). The better candidate resumes get picked over in about 20 minutes — BUT, by everybody.
  • From a resume mining standpoint the major boards can provide a few leads, but I think you can agree that the quality of the candidate pool on the “majors” is very thin compared to the pool you can develop through traditional, “deep web” and Web 2.0 sourcing strategies. The job boards pretty much only contain the active job seekers & misses the “premium” active seekers because frankly they don’t need to post their resumes to get a job.
  • A recruiter is someone who can navigate the hurdles of finding the quality, high caliber, exceptionally skilled, and competent candidate for a specific position. Not finding them at the job board.
  • Active candidates are on the full–time job hunt and constantly visible in the candidate market, therefore the competition is intense even for these “low-hanging fruit”. Many smart companies have recognized this competition and have increased their recruitment efforts in targeting the elusive passive candidate.

A real eye opener huh?  I have been in countless discussions about respecting candidates and the importance of communication to an employment brand.  Now don’t assume that ALL recruiters are like this.  There are many wonderful recruiters out there who understand the value of relationships and establishing a rapport with candidates.  I would venture to guess that maybe 40% of recruiters (agency and corporate) fall into the ignorant category.  Fortunately, some companies are getting the message and are investing time, training and money to strengthen their employment brands and improve communication with candidates.

Let’s be honest for a second.  Wouldn’t it turn you off to go through an interview process only to never hear from a recruiter again?  Two months go by and you reach out and they say “oh that positions was (filled, on hold, canceled)?  How does that make you feel?  Or how about you just got laid off from your VP position and you have a family to support.  So as any logical person would do, you’d reach out to your network, but also find job boards that might have a lot of the major companies you’d like to work for, and post your resume.  Does this mean you are “low hanging fruit” not worthy of consideration?  No, it makes you a smart person who is exhausting all avenues and mediums to find your next position.  And that is the argument I have with some recruiters.  Posting a resume doesn’t make you unqualified or undesirable.  I’d go even further and lay blame at the way some recruiters post job ads.  Instead of giving you the skinny on what the position and company is about, they put out a formal job description (which is different from an ad) from a corporate binder listing all the duties required.  But at no time, does it give you the true essence of the job.  Then they want to get mad that they are receiving unqualified resumes. But I digress.

I can’t lay all the blame on the recruiters though.  Candidates also need to take responsibility in this when applying for positions.

  • Make sure you have a clear understanding of the job.  If not, ask questions.
  • Don’t apply just because you want to get your foot in the door at a company. You waste your time and the recruiter’s time.
  • Make sure you put your best foot forward.  Create a personalized cover letter and address it to a specific person.  I don’t care if you don’t see a name, research and find one.  In this letter, don’t just tell how much you think you fit, show and prove. Give examples of your accomplishments.
  • Make follow up your priority.  If you you have not heard from a recruiter by a given date, wait one more day, then follow up.  DO NOT call or email the recruiter daily. This only gets you put on the ignore/pest list.
  • Know when to cut your loses.  You pretty much can tell when an interview process is not going anywhere.  That’s your cue to keep it moving.  Don’t expend your energy on a long shot.  Find other opportunities.
  • Hold recruiters accountable for their word.  If they say they are going to follow up, hold them to it.

It’s a two way street that both candidate and recruiter have to navigate.  The easier you make it, the better rate of success you’ll experience.  The next time you get blown off by a recruiter, consider what I’ve written above.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham