Why Everyone Hates Recruiters

When you’re on the hunt for a new job, everything about it is stressful. If you’re unemployed, you’re hoping and praying to land a job so you can pay your bills. If you’re employed, you may be trying to get out of a bad situation and every day is painful. Even if you’re currently pretty happy, but are looking for a change, taking time off for interviews is stressful and if your current manager finds out, you may find yourself out of a job before you land a new one. (Note to managers everywhere: This is an extremely bad practice. Stop it.)

Ignoring the Resume

On Saturday I was working a booth at our annual school festival with a woman I’d never met before. When she found out what my job is, she shared a recent experience. She had been a stay at home mom for about the last 10 years and was now looking to get back into full-time work. She recently had a phone screen which included the question, “Why are you looking to leave your current job?”

“I wrote a detailed cover letter that explained why I had left, why I had been out of the workforce for so long and why I wanted to get back. I asked her if she’d read my cover letter.”

To keep reading, click here: Why Everyone Hates Recruiters

And leave your recruiting nightmare stories in the comments! I love to hear them.

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18 thoughts on “Why Everyone Hates Recruiters

  1. I am a recruiter and have been for more than 15 years. When I started, it took me six months to realize that “hiring” is one of the most broken and dysfunctional processes in the business world from both the employer and employee side. Mostly, because both sides are ignorant, arrogant and lazy and simply refuse to do the work necessary to make a good, no, great, hire.

    But me and my partner decided to be idealists and fix it but, reality, neither side really cares or wants to fix it…or at the least, are unwilling to do what is necessary to fix it…so, you get what you pay for.

    Today, we run an agency that has not had a single fall off in 13 years and enjoy results like:
    o Average Days to Placement – 34
    o Average days from our engagement on a search project to the date of acceptance by the candidate.
    o 99% of searches completed in 100 Days
    o Retention Rate – 100%
    o Percent of candidates placed and still employed by the client company in the same, similar or elevated position during the first 18 months.
    o We have not had a single placement leave in under 13 months in more than a decade.
    o Placement Rate – 99%
    o Percent of search projects in which we placed a professional in the role we were retained to fill.

    A great recruiting PROFESSIONAL is a critical part of the success of ANY organization. in fact, I would go as far as to say that, after the CEO, they are the most important person in the company. Why? Becuase without the right professionals on the “team”, the most brilliant CEO’s plans and strategies will fail.

    Problem? 85% of all recruiters (and I am being nice) should be greeters at Walmart. They need to get out of our industry so we don’t to suffer for their incompetence.

    And, don’t get me started on zipRecruiter….they used to be called Help Wanted Ads…..but then, again, you get what you pay for.

    When I first got into recruiting, I thought our fees were ridiculously high…who in their right mind would pay them. Today? No matter what my clients pay me, they are getting a bargain for the quality of talent we bring to the table.

    But we go far beyond what normal recruiters do. We are career counselors who stay with our talent for as long as they want us to be there and we don’t charge a dime for it because it makes our candidates and our client companies better….it is talent management as well as recruiting. THAT is what Search “Professionals” do.

    So, there ya go, the difference between “recruiters” and talent professionals.

    It can, and should be, a great industry and an indispensable asset to any organization but I am happy to say that “they” will never figure it out because, if they did, we would be out of business.

    Suffice to say, I am proud to be an exceptional provider of talent that makes companies better, puts roofs over peoples heads and sends children to college and am proud of the teams I lead that do the same.

    But I get it…human nature just can’t pass on “cheap prices”…just remember…if it sounds too good to be true…….

    “…a sucker born every minute”
    -P.T. Barnum

    1. I agree with you about how valuable a great recruiter can be. What I don’t get is why so few people seem to care. CHROs don’t care. CEOs don’t care. Why do these people not care?

      1. My guess, based on my experience? Becuase we have become a culture of “good enough is good enough…just get it off my plate”…good enough is rarely good enough if excellence is the goal….we, as a country, seem to have lost that

        1. Also, we are not viewed as revenue generating. We cost a lot (LinkedIn licenses are my lifeblood) and while we know the value of hiring talent, it doesn’t show up on the budget lines.
          I’ve been recruiting for 15 years. I love what I do. But I am a human who makes mistakes and is very often overloaded (I went from a job where I had 30 open exempt jobs, to a job where I am the entire recruiting team.) Please stop feeding the “Recruiters are the worst” fire, EHRL. We’re part of HR, too.

    2. What a great service you offer. After the bad experience I had with a recruiter who had no idea of my needs or skill set, I have sworn of them. And , Yes, it is ridiculous today to get even considered for a job unless one has those key words in place which are preset by a computer program.

  2. My Horror Story;
    Early on in my career go on an interview that a recruiter had set up. Get there, get met in the lobby, as we are walking in, I’m asked “So what were you told about this job?” I reply “Well, that it is for a position in QA, but a chance to move into development because you have a policy of moving new hires through QA so they get a chance to learn the product” (This is not a bad idea actually). He stopped, turned to me, asked “Who told you that?” I give him the recruiters name. He says “I’m sorry, you were misinformed. Is there any point in going further today? No? Thank you for coming in”.

    I’m pretty sure they flagged that recruiter.

      1. Again, my guess..because we have become a culture of “never tell truth when a lie will do…”…or so it seems.

  3. The recruiter who asked me where I had gone to high school. I told him, “In the Panama Canal Zone.”

    He answered, “Oh! I love Florida, but I usually go to Tampa.”

    No. I did not get the job. Even though I am really sure I concealed my surprise at how dumb he was.

  4. I know someone who used to work as a recruiter. I don’t know what firm it was, or what pile of poo they taught her to say. But she told me I should embellish my title on my resume to make it sound more important. The title in question? Receptionist. “Don’t put that; make one up.” Mmkay. I could just imagine the company calling that old job–“So according to her resume, Elizabeth worked as your Documentation Director?” “What? We don’t have a document director position. She answered the [squidlip] phone and filed stuff.” Bye bye job opportunity!

    She also said everybody lies on their resumes and then wings it when they get the job. “All my friends do it. Nobody will know.” Yeesh. >_<

  5. I agree with basically all your points. It’s unforgivably rude not to promptly notify someone that they were not selected for a job. However, the woman who expressed surprise at being asked why she left her prior job — after submitting a long letter explaining that she had been a stay-at-home parent for 10 years — should not have been surprised. Even if the recruiter had read the letter — which seems doubtful — an applicant should be prepared to be asked about any information they have submitted. Frankly, after being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, very little about her prior job would be relevant. Instead, she should have been ready with a quick — snappy — response about her current readiness and enthusiasm to return to work and to provide value to the employer.

  6. Ugh! I just had a recruiter contact me about a position. He didn’t know any of the programs that I work in, admitted that he isn’t really technical for a technical recruiter, but said he would still like to meet me. I guess he was randomly calling people on Linkedin that had a special keyword and he didn’t look beyond that single word.

  7. I see several LinkedIn posts on a daily basis with candidate’s bashing recruiters and recruiters bashing candidates. Can’t we all just get along? 🙂

  8. Well since I have received 7 emails in two days from one company inviting me to submit my resume for the CHANCE to be entered into a “event”. Said “event” is a multi-hour “fun exercise” THAT IS TOTALLY NOT A SKILLS TEST! Seriously…just send me the job requirements and salary and ask if I’m interested.

  9. Recruiters simply push you to some random job without checking your core skills. I have had so many such experiences. In my experience, if you need to get hired via a job posting that you find in websites that you use the most professionally. For example for developers, you can get the best possible job from StackOverflow.

  10. Had a recruiter contact me about a dream job with a major tech company.
    A recruiter scheduled an interview for a communications opening with an electronics firm back around November. A month later, she told me the company wanted to send me a copywriting test to complete, which I did. Then I was told that the company wanted to discuss the opening with me further.

    So we set up an interview, but when I got her confirmation email, things got confusing. The email said the interview was set for the afternoon PST time (the HR person is on the West Coast; I’m on the East Coast) so I figured no biggie. But the job title was completely different, involving weekend work, updating databases, and monitoring questions about the company’s new product release. I figured just to speak with the HR person and what happens.

    Here’s the end result:

    – The interview was actually for an EST time not PST (the recruiter was out and her assistant emailed and called me to find out what was going on).
    – The recruiter sent my resume to more than one job (which I don’t know anything else about) and this was more of an IT role. Their assistant said they could withdraw my application and that she’d let her boss know what happened.

    A few days later, the recruiter explained that she had accidentally submitted me to a different position and that she was sorry for the error. She wanted to still work with me to find a role at this company (It’s a cool place to work for, but I wouldn’t lose sleep if I never got a job there. The XXX role that she thought she had submitted me for was put on hold until the beginning of the 2017.

    I decided to keep things on good terms and talk with her after the holidays. We followed up in January, where I had to quickly do another test and she submitted it. I followed up weeks later and her response was that these decisions take time, and that she would contact me again when ready. Three months later, nothing. If she contacts me again, I’m going to completely ignore her.

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