Agency Recruiter Complaints-The Flip Side

Agency Recruiter Complaints-Two Sides To A Story

The job market is filled with stories from job seekers working with an agency or third-party Recruiters who give the industry a bad name. LinkedIn is filled with rants from employers and job seekers alike frustrated with poor customer service, lack of follow-through and sometimes just downright unethical behavior. Yet, the recruiting industry is estimated to be $145 Billion in revenue in 2018. SHRM's California report shows 70% of employers in the last year had difficulty recruiting for full-time positions and that using a recruitment agency is the #1 most effective way to hire. So clearly the industry is creating a lot of opportunities for bad behavior.

Job seekers like to criticize agency recruiters for the following issues but I want to show the flip side for consideration.

Recruiter complaint #1-Calling with irrelevant jobs.

I hear this complaint often. “The agency calls me with jobs I am not interested in.”

  • It’s true, some people simply don’t listen. Others are trying to keep a line of communication open and present you with options. They may be calling you with the only openings they have available. Despite the thinking of many job seekers that “job openings flow to Recruiters from a magic fountain” your perfect job opening may not be available to them to recruit.
  • Recruiter confusion can also be an issue. Often this issue stems from the information you shared during your initial job search meeting and then changed your mind about. They will likely check notes before calling you. Be clear about your desires, and what secondary or less attractive roles you will consider. As an example, I want to share an excerpt from a call I had with an administrative professional. The woman’s work experience could span roles from Receptionist, Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, and Executive Administrative Assistant. In our call, she indicated that her commute parameters included San Francisco city, Peninsula South to Palo Alto. In our call, I dug a little deeper on the roles listed above in particular, about the willingness to do Reception work if it included administrative duties as well in combination. She pointedly discussed a role listed at the top of her resume which was just that, a combination role. When I asked about commuting into SF city limits she responded, “My resume is littered with jobs in SF”. This is someone who has been consulting for years, numerous temporary jobs listed who also shared a desire for a full-time regular role. I immediately presented a direct-hire opportunity in SF as a Receptionist/Admin. Despite the long conversation, she told me “I wouldn’t consider that type of role for a full-time job”. I was confused and really felt a little frustrated that I just spent fifteen minutes asking for her parameters to learn that the information she shared wasn’t what she really wanted. In the end, she wanted to make sure I was providing her with options but wanted to be able to say no to anything and everything. Yes, that is her prerogative but I would have appreciated if she could really narrow what was truly of interest instead of “bring me options, any options” as was the impression I was left with. I would end with this advice. Be clear about your desires and rank them if need be to avoid confusion. Last, if you feel the person isn’t listening to your needs, communicate that to them instead of suffering in silence. If they continue with the bad behavior sever your relationship with them.

Recruiter complaint #2-Black Hole of Non-Response.

A common frustration, Recruiters initiate a conversation and then job seekers never hear from them again. I agree that is frustrating and may be simply a sign of some firm’s metrics for conversations per week. Yes, that is a thing! However, job applicants engage in this behavior as well.

  • Job applications. Applicants who actively answer an ad or respond to a LinkedIn posting or social media share about a job and then won’t answer my inquiries to discuss a role. I am speaking of direct inquiries initiated by the job seekers instead of the Recruiter.  Sometimes this includes repeated forms of contact and then the black hole of non-response.  If your interest or timing has changed, simply send a polite response “no longer interested”.
  • Job presentations. Then there are the job seekers who invest thirty to forty minutes to hear a job presentation, ask for detailed job descriptions and time to research and then never respond back. I don’t expect everyone to say yes. I do expect the courtesy of a reply.

Recruiter complaint #3-Time Waster.

This is perhaps the most common complaint I learn during conversations. Agency Recruiters who ask a lot from a job seeker at the onset of a relationship and then never follow through.  Here are a few ways I see this on the flip side.

  • Lack of research. Have you spent time learning about what types of roles, industries or clients an agency works with or did you simply dial the phone and hope to connect? Often agency websites list the roles, industries, and types of companies they work with. Look at blog topics and articles posted to get clues. Spend a little time to research. If it really is unclear certainly reach out rather than assume but use common sense. There is nothing listed on that should indicate we recruit for Engineers or Software roles. Look at my FAQ. I have job seekers all the time who book onto my calendar in hopes that there is a magic connection. I spend precious time each day communicating with people whom I cannot help. Yes, a part of the job yet sometimes a frustration when it could be avoided with a little forethought.
  • Process push back. Many job applicants do not want to partake in a formal interview or background checking process, instead, they simply want to be connected to the hiring manager. I understand this usually is a result of process fatigue from working with multiple agencies and a lack of return on investment. I believe it is also about timing when the pre-presentation interviews, applications, reference checking occurs. Some process needs to be before client presentations and others can be done prior to an offer. Discuss this upfront as every firm varies in the policy. Ask about expectations and timing and to describe the process from beginning to end. Don’t expect to change policy. Some processes have legal and/or financial obligations and ramifications that make them non-negotiable.

Recruiter complaint #4-Lying.

Nearly everyone has a story here. I am not sure what to say here except that personal ethics vary. Never lie is my motto. Speak the truth, albeit with kindness and professionalism. Job seekers who embellish experience or lie about skills to get into an interview are not doing themselves or the Recruiter any favors.

Communication and research are key to creating a fruitful relationship with an agency Recruiter. I hope hearing from someone on the inside is helpful. Please feel free to share your stories and comments.



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