Dear Claudia,

I had to lay off several recruiters recently, and one of them is not taking the news well. She calls me almost daily to see if we’re ready to hire again, or to ask for coaching or networking advice in looking for a new job. She was a decent recruiter while she was here, but I don’t have any prospects of rehiring until the new year (at the earliest), and she’s starting to drive me crazy. How can I get her to move on?

Annoyed


Dear Annoyed,

The simple approach is to tell her directly: “I won’t be hiring again until next January at the earliest. Let’s talk in December.” When she calls you back before then (as her current behavior indicates that she will), tell her directly again: “I wish that I could help you further with your job search, but I’m now doing the work of everyone I just laid off. Please don’t call me again until December.” And if she calls a third time, save the voicemail as you may need it later to prove a pattern of harassment.

Although the national unemployment rate was hovering at 9.4% in May, the picture is so much worse in some regional areas than others. And current forecasts anticipate that in spite of the country’s return to growth in the second half of this year, unemployment rates will peak somewhere above 10% before they start to get noticeably better. In contrast, however, the Recruiter Confidence Index took a leap of 16 points in May and sits at its highest level since June of last year. Translation: things are still tough out there for candidates, but the pendulum is swinging in a good direction for executive hiring which is a leading indicator for broader hiring in business. Hang in there, Recruiter.

There are still a lot of people out looking for work, and crazy times bring out crazy behavior. Your recruiter is most likely grappling with the fear of not knowing what will happen next, and may have been financially unprepared for a lay off as well. She’ll get the message that her job search is her responsibility (not yours), and move on soon. If not, you’ll have a great collection of voicemails to review with your legal department. Won't that be fun?

**

In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here.

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Claudia - I'm hearing more and more stories like Annoyed's about those they've laid off ; behavior like this accelerating about the beginning of June. This thing has 'gone on so long those who held on did and many of those now have reached their limits, both financially and emotionally. The emotional one seems to follow the financial.

There are very few left.
******
Our goal is to save you time and help you succeed.

Maureen Sharib
Telephone Names Sourcer
513 899 9628
And if she calls a third time, save the voicemail as you may need it later to prove a pattern of harassment." This is the exact same advise I give my candidates.

Very good, Claudia. This is the exact same advice I give to my associates, candidates and anyone else I come across who has the misfortune to be called by a "persistent" recruiter.

In the recruiters defense, she should have been given better schooling in handling stalls, objections and put-offs. "But I’m now doing the work of everyone I just laid off..." sounds like a buying signal to me - contract work, scheduling, PHONE SCREENING? "Please don’t call me again until December..." begs: "Great, let's pretend it's December 12. What does this conversation sound like then?" Of course, any half-way decent recruiter knows that "call me in December" invariably ends up with seasonal excuses like holidays, New Years, budgets, bloat and blah-blah-blah.

If I had to apportion blame for this situation it would be with the Annoyed. She should have set expectations realistically upfront when she let the recruiter go and trained her recruiters to be better attuned to selling opportunities in the first place.
Ok Ami, so I was nicer than you would have been. But is it really the fault of Annoyed that the recruiter can't let go? I'm not convinced. And does "call me back in December" really amount to anything more than "I just laid you off, I don't have budget, and no you can't help me?" The reality is that the Manager's budget has just been cut or frozen, and she may not be able to hire recruiters back in December. Possibly not until Hell bloody freezes over - and there is no "overcoming objections" training that will help to speed that up.

Amitai Givertz said:
Very good, Claudia. This is the exact same advice I give to my associates, candidates and anyone else I come across who has the misfortune to be called by a "persistent" recruiter...
Claudia, you are always nicer than I am. I resigned myself to that some time ago.

Besides, what could I possibly add to Sandra's perfect reply?
Maureen, you're not alone in hearing the stories - which is why the timing for this letter was good (I think). Do you think that Annoyed should spend any more energy on coaching the candidate through the transition, or should just have been more clear up front as Ami suggested?

Maureen Sharib said:
Claudia - I'm hearing more and more stories like Annoyed's about those they've laid off ; behavior like this accelerating about the beginning of June. This thing has 'gone on so long those who held on did and many of those now have reached their limits, both financially and emotionally. The emotional one seems to follow the financial.

There are very few left.
******
Our goal is to save you time and help you succeed.

Maureen Sharib
Telephone Names Sourcer
513 899 9628
As usual Sandra, love this!

Sandra McCartt said:
The reason that phone has a receiver on it is so you can hang it up. What's wrong with, "Sorry, i have someone in the office gotta go, click". Most persisant callers including stalkers and obsecene phone callers go away when they hear "click" a few times. The other alternative is to mention if she wants a good reference from you she needs to let go , quit calling and move one before she destroys your ability to give her a good reference..

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