Hate – it’s a strong word. But the sentiment, fair or not, comes up time and time again when it comes to recruiters. So what can you do to avoid having a bad experience with someone who potentially has a big part to play in your next job?
In all industries and professions, there are some people who are incredibly good at their jobs, and there are some who are, well, duds. Recruitment is no different. Throw in the fact that many recruiters don’t get paid until they make a placement, and that there are not necessarily any formal requirements for becoming a recruiter, and you end up with a big mix of people in the industry.
What's wrong with recruiters?
According to the very scientific study I just conducted - asking around the office – it seems that the number one complaint job seekers have about recruiters is that they don’t return phone calls. This may not seem like a big deal to the person receiving the message, but it can be very upsetting if you’re the one waiting to see how you went after an interview, or to confirm your resume was received, or to discuss the finer points of a role you have seen advertised. We’re talking money and livelihoods here – very personal stuff.
Job hunting can be a stressful and emotional experience – recruiters who don’t keep in touch can make this even worse.
The nature of the role
A lack of understanding about the advertised company and role, perceived dishonesty, a lack of candidate care, not listening, some form of discrimination and a lack of post-interview feedback all count against recruiters. There are lots of horror stories – a former colleague of mine made it all the way to offer stage before discovering that the salary range outlined by the recruiter at the outset was significantly above what the role was actually paying.
Not all recruiters are bad
First things first – remember that not all recruiters are bad eggs. There are good ones out there. If you’ve had a bad experience in a restaurant, it doesn’t mean you never eat out again, but it does make you more selective about where you go.
Sometimes it’s not that easy when it comes to finding a job – you can’t pick your recruiter. If you do stumble across a good one, stay in touch. Connect with them on LinkedIn and touch base every so often. We all complain about recruiters, but how often do you make contact with one when you don’t want something from them?
Maybe they’re just not that into you
If a recruiter is not returning your phone calls or emails, move on. It may sting personally, but it’s not worth wasting the energy on. Focus on the genuine opportunities and don’t put yourself through the wringer second guessing why you missed out on something you don’t have actual feedback on.
Be the bigger person
Keep in mind that the recruiter’s focus will be on the client, and manage your expectations accordingly. You might get lucky, you might strike recruiter gold, but at the end of the day it’s the client paying their fee. Be clear about the role from the beginning – a good recruiter will want to discuss what you’re looking for, what the hiring manager is looking for, what the role would involve, what the salary range and approximate start date would be, and some details about the company itself. If it sounds too good to be true, or they are not forthcoming with any details, it’s possible that it is an exercise in resume-gathering and nothing more.
The key is to always remain professional, for your own sake, despite how they may be behaving.
Don't take it personally
Don’t ever sink to a bad recruiter’s level. Contact a recruiter you have previously had good dealings with, or ask around to see if anyone can recommend a good one – they may have a suitable role or two to discuss with you.
Recruiters can be the gatekeepers to dream roles, so knowing how to deal with them is essential for you as a job seeker. You may not be able to avoid all of the bad ones all of the time, but remember, bad recruiters are just not very good at their jobs - it’s not necessarily a reflection on you, so try your best not to take it personally.
How to spot a bad recruiter:
- They don't return phone calls
- A lack of understanding
- No follow-up or feedback