Dodging a Nightmare Recruiter

nightmare recruiter

Years ago, I worked in a branch office of one of the 10 biggest law firms in the world. I had moved there from a boutique firm, where I worked as a self-taught network admin; after five years I was ready to move on and learn other technologies.

The interview at the big firm went perfectly, I landed the job—and in five months I was miserable. I hadn’t yet developed the political muscles to survive in a large corporate environment that was built on deflecting blame. On the recommendation of a friend, I called a recruiter and poured my heart out about my situation.

Check out the latest technology jobs.

If I was bad at work politics, I was worse at recruiter politics. I thought sharing the agonizing details of my workplace fiascos would prove cathartic, but it turned out to be a bad move. When the recruiter didn’t do anything for me, I went to another one, who helped me score a successful interview at a midsize law firm. The job was essentially mine. But then a few more days passed without definitive word; when I queried, I found out they had dropped me from consideration because the first recruiter had repeated my story to my potential employer so she could get her own candidate in.

Yes, recruiters can help you land a high-paying job at an incredible company. But for every great recruiter who executes his or her job with skill, there seems to be another who can’t seem to manage an effective relationship with candidates and clients. You want a professional who knows your skills and sets you up with the right people, not someone who e-blasts your CV citywide, including to your current employer.

Part of the problem, as headhunting expert Nick Corcodilos wrote on his blog last year, is that a significant portion of the recruiting process is now automated. “Both the HR profession and independent recruiters don’t really recruit,” he wrote. “To recruit means to go out into the world to find, talk to, assess, judge, cajole, seduce, convince and bring home the best people to fill a job for a client. This still requires getting one’s duff out of the chair from behind the desk and the computer display to actually meet people.”

You see examples of this excessive automation all the time. This year, I made the leap from desktop applications engineer to information security engineer, which has led to a sharp uptick in requests for resumes from recruiters. One glance at my profile, and you’d know the security engineer position is still too new for me to start jumping jobs. But these recruiters aren’t looking at my profile; instead, they’re just searching for the term “Security,” and querying any potential applicants who appear in the search results. Nor is that good for employers, who face a flood of not-quite-qualified candidates.

Before engaging with a recruiter, it pays to do some due diligence. “If you’re a job-seeker using a recruiter, try to find out a bit about how they operate,” Alison Green wrote on her blog Ask A Manager.

Look out for warning signs: If they can’t really give you any details on a prospective employer, or don’t seem to know much about a particular job, that could be a sign they’re e-bombing your resume to everybody in your area code. In addition to due diligence, make sure the recruiter knows your requirements and your area of expertise: If he or she can’t seem to produce jobs you want, why are you still hanging around?

Of course, recruiters can be effective. The recruiter who landed me the interview with that midsize firm—before the other recruiter spilled all the details about my then-current employer—stuck with me, and eventually got me an interview with another boutique firm. I got that job, and learned a valuable lesson in the process: People have their own agendas, which don’t necessarily align with yours.

Related Articles

Upload Your ResumeEmployers want candidates like you. Upload your resume. Show them you’re awesome.

Image: dapoomll/Shutterstock.com

Comments

9 Responses to “Dodging a Nightmare Recruiter”

March 04, 2015 at 12:00 pm, jgalt2000 said:

> ..“To recruit means to go out into the world to find, talk to, assess, judge, cajole, seduce, convince and bring home the best people to fill a job for a client. This still requires getting one’s duff out of the chair from behind the desk and the computer display to actually meet people.”..

That’s rather difficult when the majority of recruiters’ desks are in some shack in Bangalore.

Reply

March 04, 2015 at 12:58 pm, Marcus Griffin said:

Good article Dice keep it up. Although my experience with recruiters has been lousy, perhaps if I had some of this advise I could have avoided some bad and lazy recruiters.

Reply

March 05, 2015 at 10:04 am, US Recruiter said:

It’s a shame that all recruiters get a bad name by a few lazy Indian recruiters.

I have been IT recruiting for 3+ years and I pride myself in my professionalism. One suggestion I would make: after being contacted by a recruiter, check out their LinkedIn profile. Most good recruiters will have recommendations from prior consultants that they have gotten hired and it takes literally 1 minute to conduct a Google search on Recruiter name/Company name. My LinkedIn profile has 10 recommendations shared by prior consultants.

Reply

March 05, 2015 at 2:28 pm, Dino Londsi said:

Thanks US RECRUITER, I really don’t think being Indian has anything to do with it. All the recruiters I’ve worked with, bad and good, were not Indian. It may be more a nature of the profession and the competitive environment you are under. People end up a commodity because it’s such a competitive environment.

Reply

March 12, 2015 at 4:31 pm, Successful Consultant said:

Dino,
The idea that being an Indian recruiter has nothing to do with it is patently false. I have a db with over 450 Indian recruiters/firms that i block and they change names or phone #’s constantly to avoid being blocked. They have literally destroyed the consulting market here due to their rates. Jobs that were SAN architects and averaged 140-170/hr are now peddled by Indians at rates of 50-65/hr! Their english, both written and verbal is horrible.Look at IBM – in the storage market, they are 63% Indian and after being approached for an IBM SAN consulting position over 100 times, the best rate I have ever heard was 80/hr! That is embarressing. Why don’t they stay in India and make what is supported there….go big Indian blue(IBM)

Reply

March 07, 2015 at 9:50 am, Nightcrawler said:

Funny you mentioned LinkedIn. Sometimes, I do check the LI profiles of “recruiters” (not all of them Indian, BTW) who contact me for jobs that I am wildly unqualified for. Nearly every single time, I discover that (1) They’ve been with their “agency” for less than 90 days and (2) Prior to becoming a “recruiter,” they worked in retail and restaurant jobs, or maybe as a telemarketer.

My favorite was the [American] guy who, up until two months before he contacted me, had been manning a burger stand at a Six Flags Park.

Reply

March 08, 2015 at 3:29 pm, Joe Brownson said:

Interesting post, now I wonder what type of qualifications do you need have to be a technical recruiter.

Reply

March 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm, Louis said:

Recruiter is the one job that has zero requirements. Agencies will literally pull someone off the street (or plane) and tell them how much money they can make with little effort. ‘Just place one person a week, and you’ll be living the good life’, they tell them. So small wonder there may be no more than one keyword in common between the resume and the job description. And why bother to see if the location is within commuting distance, when you can tell people they can stay in a hotel during the week. I almost feel sorry for the poor slob who came all the way from India just to search for resumes on job sites and LinkedIn. Almost.

Reply

March 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm, Rick said:

“So small wonder there may be no more than one keyword in common between the resume and the job description.”

I get that a lot. But then I get a lot of things presented to me by shady (my opinion) recruiters where there were virtually /no/ keyword matches. For example, getting job descriptions where .Net, C#, and Java were absolutely required where none of those appear anywhere in my resume. Makes you wonder what they’re using to scan resumes.

“And why bother to see if the location is within commuting distance, when you can tell people they can stay in a hotel during the week.”

It might be helpful if the places where one can post their resume would offer a checkbox for “willing to relocate”, or a place to specify “longest commute desired” (I’ve actually had to explain that Chicago to Peoria is /not/ a reasonable commute), shortest contract one would consider. That last one is a pet peeve of mine with up to a half dozen recruiters calling per week to let me know about great 3 month contracts — what /they/ call “long term” — that are supposed to be so exciting that I’m going to move from Illinois to Podunk, Idaho for a short term gig.

Reply

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.