Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only A Recruiter

You know what’s fun to do? Walk into a room full of people, say the word ‘Recruitment’ and watch as 30 people simultaneously imitate the facial expression of someone getting a tooth pulled without anaesthesia.  This is, in fact, one of my favourite pastimes. Or, try calling a company and see how quickly the phone answerers tone changes from “Hi! I’d love to help you!” to “For Christ’s sake, GET OUT OF MY FACE” once you say you’re calling from a Recruitment agency. The perception seems to be that Agencies are colonies and Recruiters are lepers.

“Half a shekel for an old ex-leper?”

What makes me cranky is that this perception is not entirely unwarranted – Recruiters who do shoddy jobs are pulling the carpet out from under their own feet. But at the same time, people are willing to write off an entire industry based on the wrongdoings of a few individuals. If a Recruiter lets you down, it is the individual’s transgression, not the industries. And, believe it or not, dodgy recruiters are disliked just as much, if not even more so, by recruiters themselves.

The main issues people cite as the reasons for their aversion to recruiters are:

No contact, no follow-up: If you’re looking for a job, you want to know as soon as possible what’s happening and whether or not you’ve been successful. You don’t want to spend your time waiting around on the middleman to find time to get back to you. Bear in mind however, that recruiters don’t know if you’ve been successful until they’ve heard back from the client – someone can’t tell you something that they don’t know. And if they don’t know, it’s not for lack of trying. Don’t forget that there is another party behind the scenes and that efficiency is, in this case, interdependent. And also that recruiters are not responsible for a singular role, often they’re working a couple at a time – it’s a business after all. This doesn’t mean they aren’t giving your role their full attention (it’s in their interest to keep everyone happy).

Industry ignorance: People often say that recruiters don’t understand. It might be that they don’t understand the resume they’re looking at, the job they’re trying to fill or the industry they recruit for. It can often be that this perception stems from candidates who have been rejected from a role they feel they were eminently qualified for. This can potentially breed ill feelings for the recruiter that gave them the information that they’ve been unsuccessful – even if the person who applied for the job had only previously worked at McDonald’s but had applied for a Business Analyst role. If you feel the recruitment agency you’re working through doesn’t understand your industry, then look around for a niche agency that specialises in particular industries – agencies that focus on specific industries/sectors will always have a better understanding of the needs of their particular markets than agencies that stretch themselves too thin over broad spectrums.

Are you a recruiter? Afraid to tell people you work in recruitment? Or do you represent the opposite side of the argument?