Hate people

Hooey. If you aren't familiar with this term, it's a nicer and friendlier way of calling "BS" on something or someone. It's when your words and your actions don't line up and your hypocrisy has been exposed. Such is the case with Recruiters. I am calling "hooey" on you today.

I have been in recruiting for around 10 years. During that time, I have interviewed and hired countless other recruiters. I have conversations with other recruiters all of the time just talking shop and exploring strategies and processes and so on. One of the things that I always find myself asking is, "How did you fall into recruiting, since no one ever really sets out to be a recruiter?" What I really want to know is, "Why are you a recruiter?" One of the universal answers that I hear well over 95% of the time is, "I love people. I really like helping people." To this, I call hooey on you.

More and more recruiters are seeking out technologies or apps to do their work for them. Companies invest small fortunes into their recruitment technologies to try an minimize the human element in recruiting now. As a result, many candidates now can go through the entire application process - and within seconds afterward, the rejection process as well - without a single human being ever even knowing that they applied or considering them for a job opportunity. Recruiters love people so much that they want to minimize any interaction with people. Robots are the preferred method of dealing with people. Let them scan a resume seeking out exact matches to keywords found in a job description, and if enough of them can be found, then you might be a special enough person to a recruiter's attention. Just a quick question though, what about the candidate who is fully qualified for the opening but they used a different term than they one used in your job description? Oh, silly me....candidates are supposed to re-write their resume for every single job that they apply for and make them robot proof...got it.

Want further proof of your hooeyness? For those recruiters who are generous enough to lay eyes on a resume, you spend an average of 6 seconds on it. Yep, you enjoy helping others. After your 6 seconds is up, you discard that resume and never even consider sending an email, a phone call, a text, a smoke signal - nothing - to let that person know they were not going to be considered. Instead, you've decided that you love people so much that you'd send them a message when they applied that thanked them for their time and letting them know that you would be in contact if it was a match (presumably letting you off of the hook for any future common courtesies). I would consider giving you a gold star for this effort if you had sent it from your own personal email address, but instead you sent it from a "do not reply" email address so those people that you love helping couldn't possibly know who you are or reach out to you.

As I mentioned at the outset of this post...I've been in recruiting for about 10 years. Do I spend hours pouring over every single resume that I receive and place individual phone calls to each and every candidate that applies for my openings? Absolutely not. But I do provide them with feedback - every single one of them. I'm sure I may have missed a handful of them over the years, but I do try to give every candidate information (good or bad). Am I anxious to answer the phone every time it rings, especially when I know it's the candidate who has already called me 15 times in a 3 day period...no. I roll my eyes and I dread answering that call...but I do or I call them back. Am I a saint for doing these things...nope. But here's what the point is for this post...

Behind every resume that we receive is a person - a human being - a family. Many are in a desperate situation. The mortgage is due. Car payments need to be made. Groceries need to be purchased. Their kids have a school or church event coming up and they need to register. We sometimes think we just live in a world of resumes, but each one has a face and a story.

The way forward is to have a balance of high tech and high touch. There is no way to do effective recruiting today without a heavy dose of technology involved...but they should be used to make the process more effective and efficient for the candidate, not as an excuse for the recruiter to do a lesser level of work. There are some recruiters who truly do love people and gain great satisfaction in helping others. To you, I applaud your extra efforts and keeping the big picture in mind. But for those recruiters who say they love people and want to help them, but actually loathe people and cannot stand talking to them - please get out of my industry because you make the rest of us look really bad.

Views: 283

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on February 28, 2014 at 1:38pm

Thanks D2. It 's good (and I envy) that you have the depth of personality and empathy to recognize the fundamental humanity behind our applicants, and to provide each of them with due consideration and care that we'd hope to receive when we are in their positions.

I don't. My bad. Oh, well....


Keith "Still Effectively Contract Recruiting After Nearly 20 Years" Halperin

Comment by PAUL FOREL on March 3, 2014 at 11:19am


In the main, I appreciate your sentiment.

Since I am a niche recruiter who no longer advertises, I have been insulated from all those resumes and calls you speak of.

However, when I do on-site recruiting for a client and whenever I feel it will be well-received, I make a point of letting candidates I'm turning away know just what they are missing that would have qualified them or made them competitive for the position and in many cases in the past I have also given them the name of an appropriate recruitment firm or employment agency that would be suited for their background.

I try my best to be sure they have something in their fist when they leave as opposed to leaving empty-handed for just the reasons you point out in your post.

(Interestingly, consistently, it is the female candidates who are most appreciative of the extra time I spend with them and it is almost always only they who send me notes in the mail, thanking me for the extra time I spent with them.)

You make a good point about how each resume represents a real person and not simply 'a process'.

I also believe that if more people understood that the background condition to their applying for a job through an employment agency, recruitment firm or corporate recruiter includes the probability they will not be acknowledged unless considered qualified and subsequently will be contacted, they would save themselves a lot of heartache.

The basic problem is that too many of these applicants are pawing at the 'recruiter' or employment agency staffer because they have no one particular person on our side of the [perceived] barrier to speak with.

They want to be heard, they want to be acknowledged, often for the same exact reasons you described.

They are anxious and/or are in pain and believe they can get relief 'if only they could get through to us' and talk their way into that job.

Even more basically, the process of applying for a job is to them like having a conversation with someone who won't talk back to them when addressed.

So therein lies the frustration because almost everywhere else we conduct a similar 'transaction' there is an exchange whereas in our business, we seem to 'take but not give'.

It does not feel natural for most people because they refuse to look at the application process as though it is a lottery and in fact, in many, many cases, they tend to believe they are 'owed' a response; that it is more than just courtesy they seek, they seek what seems to them would be common decency....especially since, as you describe, so much [for them] is at stake.

This is why filling out application forms and using a company ATS is so offensive to applicants- because it is a cold-blooded process having to do with they feel is the human spirit.

It is an unsatisfactory relationship because people feel they have so much of themselves on the line but are not treated as individuals and of course, this is automatically offensive by its very nature.

When at a corporate website it indicates that 'only applications deemed qualified' will receive a response, it just plain feels unnatural to be told this. People [who are in need] want something back for their efforts. Again, because they refuse to accept they are in effect, 'laying down five dollars on black/red'.

This is discussed from time to time -here, recently- but until a system is developed whereby each and every applicant gets a lollipop for applying, the angst we know exists will persist.

Auto-responders are a partial solution but until corporate America and even the individual recruiter/employment agency staffer takes responsibility for each and every applicant who comes to their door, the employment process will continue to be a one-way mirror and you will continue to throw your 'hooey' at us.

Thanks, Doug.



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