Job Seekers and Recruiters: Do You Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?
Recently, we’ve noticed a lot of conversation going on about recruiters and their relationship (or lack of relationship) with job seekers. Whether you love or hate recruiters, this exceptional article from Tim’s Strategy authored by our friend Tim Tyrell Smith, a popular blogger, professional keynote speaker and life coach presents an interesting side to the recruiting question that’s typically not discussed. See what you think…
Recruiters: Inglorious Bastards or Freedom Fighters?
Do you love or hate recruiters? I’m sure you have an opinion. I know I do.
Because we’ve all experienced working with recruiters, right?
Some experiences were very brief:
- Job seeker e-mails a few recruiters.
- Recruiters ignore the e-mail.
- Relationship over.
But this post isn’t about bashing recruiters, regardless of whether you love ’em or hate ’em. In fact I know why sometimes recruiters completely ignore candidates for open jobs. And I’ve written before about the growing chasm between recruiters and job seekers.
So what is this post about?
It is about exploring the relationship. Trying to understand the person behind the recruiter. Looking for root causes of good or bad behavior. And engaging you on this important issue. To hear what you have to say.
It’s also about moderating the push and pull nature of the changing market for jobs. In good times, many recruiters are begging for candidates to participate in searches. In bad times, those looking for jobs are desperate for opportunities to interview for recruiters. Who, by the way, are working really hard to find good clients.
So I’m going to explore the two opposite characterizations. The “love ’em or hate ’em as it were. And I invite you to pick a side and join in.
Recruiters Are Inglorious Bastards
For some reason, there is a segment of the recruiter population that seems to think they are more important than the rest of us. There is a raw arrogance in the way they work. They don’t have much time for the candidate. Even though the right candidate, in the end, will be the ticket to a pay day with the client.
I’m not talking about those that try. Because many do try. To respond, to guide and to connect beyond e-mail. I’m talking about those that don’t try. That go out of their way to avoid interacting with the job seeker. And when they do interact it is with harsh feedback. Or an aloof brush-off. This group of recruiters sees sport in evading and eluding people who simply want to be considered for an open position.
I once shared a recruiter-led job opening with my network only to get a response from that recruiter that floored me. They warned me never again to share one of their openings with job seekers. That I was only creating a problem for them. Too many job seekers tried to get in touch. Bummer.
I get it that recruiters want to manage the client relationship first and, ideally, be in touch only with those job seekers that fit the specification. But her note was so full of “nasty” that I enjoyed replying to her. Letting her know that I will gladly no longer share leads with my growing LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook network. Nor would I consider her for any upcoming recruiting assignments at my company.
So why does being a recruiter give you a license to be nasty? Who knighted the recruiting industry? And who said helping companies find new employees was a job that could lead to them looking down on others. Social media is leveling the playing field in recruitment. And a part of me couldn’t be happier.
Is there a power or control issue in those that act this way? Is it like the segment of our population that just needs to be in a position of self-importance to feel important?
Recruiters Are Freedom Fighters
Now here’s the other side of the coin. I have met and worked with some awesome people in the recruiting business. Professional connectors who clearly get how this relationship should work. That there is a back and forth, long-term relationship to be built here.
These are folks who fight through the massive influx of e-mail, phone and in-person connection requests to find great people for new jobs. Everybody wins. Or they have a system (computer or human assisted) to make sure that people get feedback. Unlike the applicant tracking systems that are there to push you out.
They are honest with people. If a job seeker is being too aggressive, they will tell them. After an interview, they will provide feedback. And they seem to actually care about the development of a long term relationship.
I have a number of good, long-time recruiter friends. They call me once a year or so to see how things are going. To get an update on me, the company I work for and to look for connections to top candidates.
They don’t put themselves up on a platform well above the job market. They play an important role. And know it. But you’d never feel it in the actions and messaging coming from their chair.
This group sees their role as a sales person, of course. But also as someone looking to solve a problem. And view the job seeker (active or passive) as the solution. Not as an annoyance buzzing around their ear at a picnic.
So now it’s your turn.
Pick a side. And tell me your experiences. Why do you think recruiters are the way they are? Does the job attract certain personality types that just can’t help themselves?
Read more from Tim Tyrell Smith at his blog, Tim’s Strategy.