"It's a recruiter's JOB to deal with candidates and put up with shit"....Really??

I was reading this article/blog on LinkedIn by Andrew Fraser "My history of abusive, co-dependent relationships with recruiters”. It was interesting to read people’s  expereinces/thoughts on recruiting.  All of a sudden I come across this response.  “... I'll say it another way. It's a recruiter's JOB to deal with candidates and put up with shit. As candidates, we really don't care about you and would avoid you if we could. We see you as a tiresome, unnecessary obligation standing between us and our livelihood. We just want to speak with the hiring manager who actually understands our value and makes the decision. That's the difference.”

Really? Is that part of my job? Along with going through hundreds of resumes, making N number of calls, talking to candidates, convincing my manager, the stress of making placement etc. etc. of all the things that I have to do, now I am expected to take shit from candidates as well? For what? Finding them a good opportunity? Hummm….

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Comment by Nicholas Meyler on June 13, 2014 at 12:55am

The mere fact that some percentage of the population of the candidate pool treats us indiscriminately and poorly, like a member of some inferior class, or like convicted felons, does not entitle recruiters to lash out at the vast majority of candidates who are very appreciative of our work.  But, as far as 'mere facts' go, it is definitely a bummer.  

I read that article, too, and my first thought about the author was "So you think you are talented enough to merit my attention? Don't you know that co-dependence is a mental illness that is your own fault?" Still, that article was interesting, since it reflects a viewpoint of some candidates.  Yet, factually, it's the candidates' responsibility to be aware of his/her own existential freedom, and an agent of his/her own future. 

The whole point of identifying the psychological pathology of Co-dependence itself was to remove blame or stigma from the 'other' party in the relationship.  Co-dependence is a fault only of ourselves.  We cannot blame anyone else for that -- that is the whole point of inventing a name for a 'condition' which is less than optimal. However, realistically, I don't think that Recruiters tend to be co-dependent with candidates, if they have learned the fundamentals of the business.  

I'm never professionally dependent on a candidate, because I can almost always find another to replace them. On the other hand, the odds are stacked heavily against a candidate being able to find another Recruiter who also happens to have a great career opportunity for them (probably by a factor of about 8 to 1, according to some statistics I have read).

There is very little doubt that anyone who has the mentality that a recruiter 'stands between' a candidate and his/her profession is a fragile individual who is probably a failure.  Recruiters wouldn't even exist if they didn't provide a legitimate and very valuable service.

Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" has an excellent retort to this malaise of blaming others: "There's Man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet."  That should be the Dictionary definition of "Co-dependence". 

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on June 13, 2014 at 1:06am

About "we would avoid you if we could"....  (i.e. the idea that candidates don't need recruiters to find a job).  It's extremely easy to avoid Recruiters if you want to, actually.  If you can't, then there is something fundamentally wrong with YOU.  That condition might be termed "Co-dependence" -- one possible definition of which could be "The illness of blaming Others for One's own faults."  Meanwhile, my goal as a Recruiter is to present only career opportunities that those I contact would never have heard of without my intervention.

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 13, 2014 at 3:36am

Thanks, Leena: "...I am expected to take shit from candidates as well?"

From your bosses, hiring managers, colleagues, etc: yes, but from your candidates: DEFINITELY NOT!


Comment by Linda Ferrante on June 13, 2014 at 10:38am

I find it completely fascinating that candidates will repeatedly write/blog about the horrible treatment by recruiters and think it's OK.  If you don't like working with recruiters, here's a couple thoughts:  1) don't work with them 2) don't work with them.

Recruiters are not the be all end all to the job search.  Not by a long shot.  If it bothers you that much, find a job without using a recruiter, plain and simple.  

Wait, what's that?  The companies you want to work with are using recruiters?  Maybe their philosophy doesn't align with yours and that company may not be a good fit for you overall.  That's something worth thinking about, isn't it?

I feel like recruiters have to defend themselves ad nauseam sometimes.  There are great recruiters and there are sucky recruiters.  Maintain your composure, Mr. Candidate, and find a recruiter you can work with if you must.  Not all recruiting companies are created alike. Find the one that works for you.  It happens in the medical field, the legal field, the banking industry, etc.  If you don't like your doctor, you switch until you find one you like.  Have you ever bi$%ched out your doctor?  Probably not.

Give, and get respect.  It's that simple. Pay attention to your own behaviors before you call out others on theirs.  I don't have to deal with candidates that are a pain in the butt.  Why?  Because I don't have to.  It's not mutually beneficial if we don't work with a level of respect for each other.  I can't, in clear conscious, present you to my client if you've been a jerk.  

Bottom line, check yourself and your attitude.  My best guess would be that you dish out attitude and expect others to take it.  Rethink that philosophy. 

Comment by Valentino Martinez on June 13, 2014 at 12:29pm

Some candidates and recruiters attract a shit-storm that lands on all of us.  Linda's right -- "...check yourself and your attitude"...before you wreck yourself -- which applies to both candidates and recruiters.

Comment by Derdiver on June 13, 2014 at 3:10pm

Leena, I was a little hesitent to open this due to the title but DAMN I am glad I did!!!  

Comment by Leena Chhabra on June 13, 2014 at 5:52pm

@Derdiver - :) and your comments?

@Keith - I think at times a jr recruiter like me have to take shit from everyone. But it definately is not my JOB its but still I have a right to be offended, and express it :)

@Linda and Nicholas - Agree no one is asking to go thru a recruiter. Good luck with the search.

@Valentino - Agree its a two-way street :)

Thanks for your comments..This is the first time I have expressed myself (blogged) ever, and your comments have encouraged me to do so more often :)

Comment by Derdiver on June 13, 2014 at 7:05pm

@leena Write more. I liked what you said but wanted more than a limited rant. Keith is best at that! ;) The article made me laugh and showed me why he is STILL unemployed. I look forward to more of YOU.

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 16, 2014 at 10:28pm

@ Leena: You most certainly DO have a right to be offended at uncivil, rude treatment and to express yourself. If you worjk in a basically healthy, functional environment, by stating your needs in a  positive  way, you should be able to remedy the situation. If you're in a toxic, dysfunctional environment, it's pretty much "take it or leave it"....

@ Derdriver: Not sure if you're talking about me ("STILL unemployed") but I currently have 1.5 contracts and a split retainer.



Comment by Mitch Sullivan on June 26, 2014 at 1:00am

If the way you work is shit, then yes, it is a natural part of your job to also take shit from candidates.

I never get any shit from candidates because I never work a job, or with a company, that I don't have a comprehensive understanding of.  

I enable that condition to exist by never working any job on contingency.  Everyone has to pay me something upfront, even if it's for a position paying under 25K.

That way, I'm acting as a temporary extension of the hiring company, which means I can put out much stronger attraction materials, brief and assess the candidates better, and reject them with more transparency.

If, like most agency recruiters, you're always racing other agencies to try to fill jobs on the 'success only' model, then both you and your clients are openly stating that you see candidates as a commodity to be traded.

So if you and the companies you try to recruit for choose to work this way, then some candidates will view you and your work method as shit - and treat you accordingly. The better ones will probably assume the hiring company is a bit shit too, and pull out of the process.

Either change the way you work or stop whining. 


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