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Thursday, October 27, 2005

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4:56 PM     How To Piss Off A Recruiter In 1 Easy Lesson

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

A situation has come to my attention recently regarding someone that I provided advice for. Now, before I lay into all of you, you have to understand that this Blog is here to help you advance your career, find better jobs, and change jobs when the time is right.

As the pathetic click-thru rates show, it isn't to make me any money off of this. I mean, how much effort does it really take to click once just to keep things going? (See 5 Seconds of Your Time for more information on that...) But, I digress.

I'm here today to talk about the one big, huge, repeatedly peformed way to piss off your friendly neighborhood recruiter.


Periodically, you may run into a Headhunter who seems to be somewhat jaded, rather skeptical, and appears to have had his sense of humor surgically removed. Or, perhaps, you may run into one or two in your life that don't act that way.

The reason for this attitude is that candidates frequently sabotage their own job search efforts (while, in the process, taking food out of the recruiter's mouth). It is endlessly confusing why candidates do this and the best answer I've heard is that you just don't know what you're doing to yourself.

So, here I am to help you understand once and for all.


So, here's the scenario: You're looking for a job at a specific company or short-list of companies. It has become your mission in life to get a job at one of these cool / hot / stable companies and you're going to make it happen.

You hear of a headhunter who is doing a search for one of your companies. You rightly figure, "Hey! They may have an 'in' over there!" So, you talk to the recruiter. You interview with the recruiter. You fix your resume for the recruiter. You pin a lot of hopes on your recruiter.

So, there you are: The recruiter loves you and thinks you'd be perfect for the job. She's submitting your resume today, she says, and will get back with you as soon as she hears back from the Hiring Manager. Yes! You're IN!


So, while you're still looking at job openings and sending in resumes, you evaluate every job against this one at your dream company. Yeah, it's not your job yet (heck, you haven't even interviewed), but you can feel the good vibes.

Really, all you're doing is just filling time until the headhunter calls you back, anyway. She didn't call back yesterday, but there's a lot going on, so it'll probably be today or tomorrow. By tomorrow, for sure.

But, you don't hear back. It's been a week and you don't hear anything. You're leaving voice mail for the recruiter and don't hear anything. You send e-mails to the recruiter and don't hear anything. You have no more nails to chew and the knots in your stomach can't get any tighter. What is the deal with that stinking recruiter!?


Let me stop for a moment to say, "I know." I know that the recruiter should be in better contact with you. I know they should let you know what is going on. I know they should at least send a "Nothing new yet" e-mail to you.

I know.

That being said, almost all recruiters experience at least a period of what I like to call "Moronity" every now and again. That is, they don't think about the fact that they've left you twisting in the wind after building your hopes up. They don't think about the fact that having no information is worse than knowing "you're out". They are in the state of "Moronity".

Many of them live their life in this state. I know it's hard to imagine, but in my headhunter career, I had my own states of "Moronity", too. It doesn't excuse it, but it's just to let you know:

I know.


This is sort of like the situation of the duck gliding across a pond: Above the surface, you see a graceful duck gliding effortlessly across the pond. They make it look like no big deal. But underneath the surface, that duck it paddling for all it's worth. Pumping, churning, paddling away like mad!

So, while you're waiting nervously, chugging coffee, and looking for someone else's nails to chew, you aren't hearing anything and assume that nothing is happening. But the reality is that the recruiter is calling like a madwoman trying to get you an interview. At first, the Hiring Manager doesn't return her calls right away.

Then, a week later, she gets a voicemail saying, "Gee, I'm sorry I didn't call sooner, but I've been swamped. I got the resume and I'm going to be reviewing them today. Give me a call back in 2 or 3 days and we can talk about it then."

Of course, in 2 or 3 days, she calls and the Hiring Manager doesn't answer the phone and doesn't return calls again.

That cycle happens a few times usually before there are any results to report. That's why they aren't calling you: it makes them sound stupid to keep calling you back saying, "He hasn't called me back" over and over again. I know they should, but they don't like sounding stupid.

In the end, however, the recruiter's pay is riding on getting you hired. They are, more than anyone else in the process, trying their darndest to get you an interview, a 2nd interview, and and offer letter!


Meanwhile, back at the cube farm, you've decided that you've had enough. That stupid recruiter isn't doing anything and doesn't care whether you get the job or not. It's time to take the bull by the horns and take care of things yourself.

And it is at this exact spot that you shoot yourself (and everyone around you) in the foot.

You decide to send in your resume yourself. First, you send it in through the company's careers website. Then, if you're lucky, you know the name of the hiring manager and send it directly to them, too. After all that, if you're bold, you give the Hiring Manager a call, just to make sure they know that you're perfect for the job.

I guarantee that you will not get this job, nor any other job with this company. Here's why:


The recruiter has a contract with the Hiring Manager's company. It says that the recruiter gets paid if the company hires the recruiter's candidate that the company didn't know about before.

So, once you submitted your resume directly to the Hiring Manager and their company, you created a conflict right there. The recruiter presented you, but the company now has "prior knowledge" of your through their recruiting system.

If they were to hire you, the recruiting agency would probably sue them for a fee. It creates a huge hassle that nobody wants to spend time on. As a result, in 99% of these conflict cases, the company just drops you from consideration.

And not just for this job - they won't consider you for another job with their company for at least a year.

AND you've now pissed off the headhunter. You may have noticed that headhunters talk a lot. They will talk about this to every recruiter in their office (positioning themselves as the victim, of course). And you won't get presented to any of their clients, either.


Now we come to the long-awaited moral to this very long story. It is this:

Yes, your headhunter may be a moron, but you can always make your situation worse.

Please, PLEASE, don't let this happen to you.

Pretty please?


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  • Hey Dan,

    Yeah, I was aware of this problem. It actually happened to a candidate that my brother, the manager of desktop services here, really wanted to hire. But the problem for this guy was much more sinister...

    He had been submitted through a recruiter that he'd spoken with at the rate he agreed to. He went through the interview process and Ben REALLY wanted to hire him.


    When he asked HR to draft up the offer letter he was informed that they received another recruiter-submission for this candidate at a MUCH lower rate and would not allow him to be hired now.

    What happened?

    After hearing this my brother immediately called the guy asking why he'd allowed this to happen...the guy had never heard of the recruiting firm that had submitted him and successfully screwed him out of a job.

    It appears that an unscrupulous recruiter had downloaded his resume off Monster, with a boatload of others and blanket submitted them without even contacting the candidates.

    My brother suggested he sue. And the recruiter is off our list of accepted recruiters now.

    The moral of the story...
    If you intend to submit your resume to a job site, choose the option to hide your name until the recruiter has contacted you...or better yet, just don't do it.

    Putting your resume online isn't as good an idea as it was during the IT boom of the late 90's to 2000. I did get an awesome job doing that in July of 2000 but I won't do that today.


    By Blogger Brian Efting, at 10:47 AM  

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