Hey Recruiter, I thought you were on my side!

fightI think most people feel corporate recruiters are always an impartial bunch whose sole purpose is to fill open jobs as quickly as possible with the best qualified candidates. As a former corporate recruiter, this is the principle I lived by. In speaking to people in the job market I am hearing troubling stories of corporate recruiters who may not be living up to this. This is particularly disconcerting in this market when you are fighting enough battles to get a job, the last thing you want is to think a recruiter isn't acting on your behalf. You want the recruiter to be your biggest internal advocate. Be assured that most of the time they are, but you need to create a strategy to deal with uncooperative corporate recruiters.

First, we need to understand why this sometimes occurs, because to most people it seems counter intuitive.

Unlike their counterparts (or some may refer to as their "evil twin" :-)), the agency recruiter who is very much commission based, the corporate recruiter is primarily paid salary with maybe some bonus tied to personal hiring goals and overall group/company performance. There are some places that in fact do pay bonuses per hire. This may be one instance where you may see some below board recruiter behavior. If you got referred for a job by an employee, many times the company won't pay that "per-hire" bonus to the recruiter and the less than ethical recruiter will give preference in "advocating" for someone they sourced instead.

Another instance is a twisted form of job security. If they are an internal recruiter on the payroll or even a contractor and see there is only a finite amount of hiring the company will be doing, they will sometimes slow the recruiting down to avoid being fully staffed. What do you do with a recruiter when you have no job openings?

One other potential reason may not be because of a lack of ethics but more a soured relationship between the recruiter and candidate. Was there something you may have said or how you treated them to make them turn on you? Did you treat them like an obstacle to getting to the hiring manager and in for interviews or as a true partner? Did you marginalize their importance? Did you circumvent them in the process, contacting the hiring manager, and make them look like they weren't doing their job? Were you constantly calling or displaying stalker-like behavior? All these things can turn off a recruiter. And these are legitimate reasons for them to possibly lose interest in you because they speak to your character, ethics, business savvy. Think about if that may have happened.

So we spoke about symptoms, next post we'll talk about remedies.

Bill Meirs is the Managing Principal with the Church & Palfrey Group, a search firm specializing in Technology and Sales Searches. Bill has 11+ years experience in corporate and agency environments. He frequently consults companies and individuals in the areas of talent acquisition, recruitment process improvement, recruitment advertising and branding, resume writing, and salary negotiation.

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