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‘Recruiter-bashing’ on LinkedIn – Isn’t it time to cut the Recruiter some slack?

By Paul Thompson of Voyager Software

“Recruitment is easy”, or so it may seem to an outsider, but look at little closer and you’ll find it’s much harder than you think. 

Having worked with some of the best Recruiters in the market, I figured I’d shed a little light on why I think we should cut them a little slack.  In short I believe the perception of the Recruiter is unfairly harsh, so let’s agree on a few things first;

  • It’s nothing like Estate Agency, rarely are they representing a unique product to sell
  • Candidates and Clients change their minds – and they are in the driving seat
  • For every applicant that starts an agency advertised job, the Recruiter has probably told 100+ applicants they’ve been unsuccessful
  • Few industries are as fast paced and competitive as Recruitment, and 2016 will be no different
  • Recruiters are the middle-men and don’t hold all the cards
  • Recruiters are working much harder than you might think

I believe Recruiters are the lifeblood of UK industry, the engine room of the jobs market which last year was worth over £30 billion and where in most market sectors there is a skills shortage. It’s an industry to be proud of, whether you’re in it, or like me supporting it.

With most Recruiters essentially being on a ‘no win no fee’ deal, the majority will be doing all they can to offer a good service and to the very best of their abilities.  Whilst I don’t doubt there are good and bad in all industries, I’m confident that most Recruiters are doing their best, or simply put, they’ll not last long.

LinkedIn seems to be a great source of moans and groans about the industry at the moment and this got me thinking.  Isn’t it time to cut the Recruiters some slack? Or, is it the Recruiters inability to set realistic expectations that’s the cause of all this ‘Recruiter bashing’?

Being a ‘360 Recruiter’ is often seen as the best of the best, the all-rounder that’s proven to be good at all aspect of the role.  That said, I suspect few Recruiters would be happy to share what that means to an applicant or candidate.

For those unaware a 360 Recruiter does everything.  A 360 Recruiter is capable of finding a client that’s looking to hire, earning the opportunity to work a vacancy, writing the adverts, searching the web and internal systems for passive candidates, building a long-list of potentials, selecting a few for the shortlist, interviewing them and presenting them to the client. After that you need to ‘broker the deal’ which means doing it faster than the competition and any direct applicants, whilst keeping everyone in the loop… is a tough job.

If you’re a job seeker and are reading this, I can promise you the Recruiter is not hiding hundreds of unfilled dream jobs from you or ignoring you on purpose.

That said, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a recruiter that’s been honest enough to admit that if you called them at 9am there is a good chance they’ll have no workable roles at all.  But it would be hard to share that fact with an unemployed applicant, it’s not likely to breed confidence after all.

The art of being a great Recruiter is not just calling a list of clients or posting fake jobs to get the phone to ring, but to continuously identify new opportunities and jobs worth taking.  Nurturing relationships with numerous people is achievable with the right tools, but Recruiters need to help themselves to deliver the goods and breed competence amongst their peers.

I suspect there are more casualties than heroes in Recruitment, but there are many who do an outstanding job – they’re the IT-savvy, work-smart type of Recruiters that no doubt have a great work ethic.

Recruiters know that the ‘best candidates’ are not likely to be stood at the train station holding a sign.  They’re often well paid, employed and ‘happy’ in their current position, so stop bashing and take it as a compliment.

The chances are that if you’ve had a negative Recruitment experience, you’ve been talking to the wrong one, or more to the point an unorganised and stressed one that simply didn’t have the time to deliver the bad news or deliver on the impossible.  Consider that for many Recruiters the goalposts aren’t even in sight when they start the game and they turn up to the park on their own.

If you’ve had a great Recruitment experience recently you’ll probably find it was the individual that made all the difference, and that behind that individual was a team of like-minded IT savvy technology partners like me waving the flag from the side-lines.

If you’ve been approached about a potential role that didn’t amount to much, or asked if you could recommend anyone for a job, don’t take offence, but take the opportunity to build the relationship, it might be more valuable than you think.

By Paul Thompson of Voyager Software

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  1. I think this article has come just at the right time considering the amount of Recruiter bashing that is happening across Social Networks (i.e. Linkedin). I have been working as a Recruiter for over 5 years (still quite junior compared to some in the industry) and have never seen so much anger towards the industry. Its welcoming to see that someone outside the industry is recognising this. Really good article.

  2. Good article and insight into how some firms work. I think the nature of the recruitment model makes it very difficult to be universally liked.
    We have to accept a few key facts.
    1) The more selective we are as Recruiters, the more candidates we have to reject. Even if a candidate is almost perfect for the role, if there are two good candidates and one vacancy, a good one will still be rejected. On the basis that we would reject 9 applicants for the average role, if the anecdotal tale is correct, any of these 9, if unhappy will tell 26 other people. the “winner” on the other hand, has to keep quiet until they have made the move. On that basis we have a 0.4% chance of good news coming from a candidate.
    2) It’s the embittered candidates who are a) more likely to be rejected and b) more likely to complain anonymously via social media.
    3) As Recruiters we often cannot help the candidates who most need a job, our role is to select the best available candidate for the job.
    4) Often we cannot disclose client preferences, so our choices may seem irrational and we have to take the flak.

    I try, and too often fail to give meaningful rejections as I feel the most demoralising thing for a rejected candidate is thinking that nobody has read their application, cv etc. and seriously considered them.

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