After some recent scheduling inconsistencies causing a few extra absences from the gym, I was pumped to get my sweat on today. My energy level was revved up from the brief break, so I was eager to take advantage of the situation to get back in the groove.

My workout routine started out strong and I was looking forward to making my 24Hour Fitness check-in count. Then, my enthusiasm quickly waned as I noticed the dripping wet dude with veins bulging out of his forehead grunting and groaning away on the sweat-puddle-surrounded treadmill behind my spot on the elliptical.

For a while I tried to ignore the very loud and disturbing guttural noises. I did my best to keep the momentum on my machine while shoving my ear buds deeper into my ears. But the more I tried to tune out Grunt Guy, the more obnoxious the sounds became. It was loud enough that moving to a different location wouldn’t have mattered.

Eventually the gross-out factor was too distracting and disgusting, so I cut my gym visit short. It was as if that guy’s overexertion was creating my own internal (silent) grunts and groans about how easy it is for something that should be simple, even pleasurable to get ruined.

I was reminded how there are many ways things should be simple, and quite possibly pleasant, in the recruiting and hiring process but get wrecked by inconsiderate habits. Some grunt and groan inducing examples include:

  • Poorly written ads (full of incoherent copy, typos, misspellings, grammatical issues) and carelessly formatted job postings with exhaustive lists of “requirements” for specific skills, experience and education, yet no correlating business (or BFOQ) justification
  • Inexperienced agency recruiters cold calling a hot prospect based on a basic resume key word match, but not an experience-related or appealing match with that hot prospect’s career journey
  • Same awareness-lacking agency recruiters conducting cold calls without having ability, willingness or know-how to describe the role in question (on behalf of the client company) and thus no way of assessing whether the person they speak with is in fact qualified
  • Again same, dial-for-dollars, agency recruiters calling same hot prospect every week or so, with a hot new opportunity at his/her "confidential" client company, yet never providing any feedback to said prospect about the hot new opportunity(ies) from the week(s) prior
  • Corporate career website content purporting to value the best and brightest, yet company staffing their recruiting function with the worst and dullest
  • Applicant tracking system steps that go on screen after screen with more “required” fields and disclosures than a $1M home mortgage application
  • Demanding that applicants reveal current or prior earnings in order to be considered for a posted opportunity (*required field)
  • Requesting interviewed candidates to regurgitate their entire career history at the start of each interview round with each new interviewer rather than referring to the resume or initial screening notes
  • Pretending that there is some significant difference between hiring candidates of different ages, genders or other demographic traits rather than just seeking the most “appropriately” talented human being

All of the above are grossly unnecessary behaviors that shouldn’t be allowed ruin anyone’s recruiting process or cause candidate overexertion to the point of frustration or disgust.

What are some other grunt and groan causing actions that you would add to the list of things to REMOVE from the routine?  


Views: 701

Comment by Matt Charney on June 26, 2014 at 8:56am

I could live without the rest of the world, really. Nice post as always, Kelly. #yourock

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 26, 2014 at 10:08pm
Hey Kelly,

"Grunts and groans"? I thought you said you were at the gym,not at work, dealing with hiring managers....

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on June 28, 2014 at 12:37am

Okay!  Let me respond to the challenge about grunts and groans.  I have at least 20 friends who are/were Olympic Athletes I have met and competed with in Local Tournaments, National Tournaments, International Tournaments, etc.  Athletes do groan and grunt and scream and yell.  There is nothing wrong with this.  Try learning to grunt, groan, scream, etc.  In Karate, it's called a Kiai --  It happens somewhat often in fencing as well.  Worth noting that French for 'fencing' is "escrime" (which is pronounced ess-scream!).  So do women scream in sports, too?  Absolutely. 

On the other hand, issues like body odor are still offensive, to me.  I'm used to screams, though.  Usually of pleasure.  lol

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on June 28, 2014 at 12:39am

Personally, I would recommend that anyone who seriously wants to have a career as a Recruiter should study fencing for at least a year or two.  The main benefit is learning to be aggressive, and to have strong nerves.

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on June 28, 2014 at 1:04am

Some of my favorite fencing screams (that I have heard) were "gateau" (French for 'cake', as in "it was a piece of cake to score that touch against you, my child"), or "Kafka" (as in "so that metamorphosized into something you weren't expecting and it bugged you a little?") or "Aiieeee!" (which is classic from De Sade), or "Oppayyaaa!" (which means nothing much, but is evocative of 'opium', perhaps being a double-entendre indicating that the loser of that touch should be happy to have experienced it, like an incredibly potent drug).  Another aspect of "Oppayyaaa!" or "Opppaaaayyy!!" is that there is a subliminal context of payment (especially in 'epee' [pronounced epp-pay in English]).... This is somewhat twisted, of course, and the neurolinguistic programming that is being exploited on a subliminal level is the concept that the victor is paying the opponent to lose, by unleashing a beautiful and aesthetic, perfectly logical and concise, perfectly timed attack.  So, did I mention that I get a bit vocal sometimes?

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on June 28, 2014 at 4:48pm

I guess that's off-topic, though...  

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on June 28, 2014 at 7:54pm

@ Nicholas: "Personally, I would recommend that anyone who seriously wants to have a career as a Recruiter should study fencing for at least a year or two."

That makes a great deal of sense, since being a recruiter, we should get used to others trying to poke us in various parts of our body...


Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on July 2, 2014 at 9:52pm

Thanks for the comments, guys! Hope everyone has a safe and fun July 4th. 

Comment by Tyson J. Spring on July 3, 2014 at 12:11pm

The circle of recruiting life continues.  I haven't been doing this forever, but I've got ten years in, and it's incredible to me that there are certain topics that go hot and cold on a very regular cycle, and just won't die.  Some of them are:

1) The boiling cauldron of hate between HR and Recruiters and blog posts from both sides of the field

2) Experienced recruiters bashing inexperienced recruiters.  Trashing the quality of cold calls they put out, the jobs postings they throw together, and smashing their quality of work altogether.  Even implying that a particular breed of high volume/ low avg fee agency recruiter is on a lower rung of humanity's ladder.

3) Everyone, mostly inexperienced recruiters shocked that our industry has a "bad name" and posting all the reasons why this is unjust, usually blaming SpamBots from overseas while writing self-serving articles on LinkedIn explaining to the Engineers and Developers of the world that, "no really, my email to you is way different than the other 5,000 you've gotten".  

I like rants, I've been known to launch some pretty epic ones myself, but will the recruiting folks ever find some new topics to rant about?  We all started somewhere.  Maybe you graduated from Yale and were immediately recruited as an associate at some fancy retained firm who sealed every document produced with 14k gold, or maybe you got canned from your job selling pretzels at the mall and out of desperation took a 100% commission role at a sweat shop recruitment firm who puts out crap job adverts all over cyberspace.  The industry purges: good ones stick and get better, bad ones fail and go away and find something else to do, like working on the client side- heading up Corporate Recruiting and HR :-)

And this whole myth that bad recruiters give us all a bad name?  Not true.  If anything, the slop out there gives clients and candidates a sincere appreciation for our quality of work. 

Kelly, sorry for hijacking your thread to discuss this, but I'd love to see more data-filled posts and problems that we're having and hearing solutions from you guys as opposed to the constant rookie-bashing.  Aren't we all more secure in the quality of work than to worry about our reputation being tarnished by job posts with some typos from a non-english speaking robot out of who-knows-where?  

I'm with you on the grunts and groans though. Not so much at the gym, I think it's generally accepted there, but holy smokes, getting stuck next to a grunter/ groaner/ snorter/ smacker at a restaurant is my idea of what dinner in hell would look like.

Happy Independence Day, people.



Comment by Tyson J. Spring on July 8, 2014 at 12:20pm

@Kelly- I take my comments back about wanting to see more "toolsy" posts.  Most of our posts here are pretty danged helpful..  I had end of the week tunnel vision and didn't read your post in the traditional sense of: viewing words, processing them, and forming a concept of their purpose, then creating a knowledgeable and informed response.




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