Recruiting: Job seeker’s friend or foe?
I have been successfully placed by a recruiter once in my career. After that, I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with recruiters. The main problem with technology recruiters isn’t necessarily with the recruiting itself. It’s the human element that always gets in the way. A recruiter’s bottom line is the commission they will receive when they place a candidate. This commission, unfortunately, drives the entire placement process. When a recruiter’s sole motivation is based on money, the candidate and the hiring company both get the short end of the stick.
Case in point, I have used recruiters for the last two or three jobs I’ve attempted to land. In nearly every case, the recruiters misrepresented the job to me in the phone interviews. So, when a recruiter sent me on an interview, the job was clearly not a match for my skills. Basically, either the job was entirely wrong based on my skills or I had specifically told the recruiter not to place me in that industry or job type. Yet, there I was, interviewing where I shouldn’t have. This ends up as a wild goose chase. When I explain that to the recruiter, they get defensive and blame me for the ‘bad interview’. It wasn’t bad, it was just a mismatch because of the recruiter’s lack of skill or inability to listen. But, this comes back to the commission. Once the commission dollars become a reality in their mind, the recruiter puts blinders on. They then attempt to force a square peg into a round hole to avoid losing that cash.
That’s not to say that there aren’t sincere recruiters out there. I’m sure there are some. But, the recruiting industry is so filled with inexperienced recruiters only willing to make a buck that you can’t tell the difference between who is sincere and who isn’t. It’s not like recruiting is regulated or has any grading system. So there is no method for you, the candidate, to determine just how a specific staffing firm works.
The one recruiting game that gets to me is when recruiters simply resume collect to fill a database, but have no intention of placing you. Robert Half (RHI) is notoriously bad for this. They’ll collect your resume, ask you to step into their offices for a ‘face to face’ and additionally ask you to spend an hour or longer filling out paperwork. After you’ve done this for them, they never call you back. That’s such a waste of time. So, instead of wasting a day at their offices, the candidate could have better spent that time sending out resumes to actual employers and going on legitimate interviews with direct employers.
Other tactics from recruiters include them finding a job posting on the Internet, collecting resumes and contacting qualified candidates. Only after they have the candidates in hand do they then try to lasso in the employer. So, they string the candidate along thinking they have a chance at the position when they haven’t even talked with the hiring company about the position. Once the hiring company turns down the recruiter, this is when the recruiter stops calling the candidate and stops taking your calls. This is yet another colossal waste of time. These become very apparent when you get two or three recruiters calling to recruit for the same hiring company and same position. In a typical recruiting engagement, the hiring company only allows one recruiter to recruit for the position. When multiple recruiters are recruiting for the same position, either the hiring company doesn’t understand the process or the recruiters are not on retainer.
When choosing to work with recruiters, be cautious and ask lots of questions. They do attempt to be the candidate’s advocate, but usually only to the point that they don’t lose their commission. If losing their commission becomes a reality, recruiters can become desperate in the relationship between the candidate and the hiring company. In fact, a working recruiter relationship can turn sour in about 30 seconds once the candidate or hiring company expresses disinterest. This is when the recruiter’s professionalism is tested. If the recruiter keeps pushing the candidate or the hiring company after disinterest has been expressed, that behavior is not professional. It also shows just how much the recruiter values their commission over a properly filled position.
For a recruiter, it’s much more valuable to place a qualified candidate in the proper position than collecting recruiting commission. But, many recruiters turn desperate when the square peg won’t fit into the round hole. On the other hand, some recruiters just don’t care. They’ll attempt to place anyone in any position just to fill their quota.
It can be difficult to find a recruiter who is actively willing to work on your behalf as a candidate. If you find one, stick with them. Keep in mind, however, that they are all working on commission, so placement of you fills their (and the recruiting firm’s) bank account. That money motivation can cause the recruiter to do things they would not otherwise do. Finding the most suitable job for you should be their number one priority. Unfortunately, it isn’t always the case.