No Respect for the Candidates! Who is with me?

Where has the respect for the candidates gone?
I was trained in recruitment some years ago by the true old timers. The owner of the agency I cut my teeth in had owned this permanent recruiting agency for 30 years at that point. Same office, a handful of the original guys, ashtrays on the desks next to the phone and of course a phone book. No computers, applications or technology. Believe it or not you got smacked in the back of the head and publicly humiliated with vulgar words if your cell phone rang. Still to today they have one computer and one email address for each recruiter. How I lasted their over four years still blows my mind. In order to shorten up a very long and entertaining story, we were taught no respect for the candidate. The client company is king and people are dispensable. That always sat like sour milk in my stomach to me.

Over the years I have been trained by some phenomenal people and true industry thought leaders. With the opportunity to learn and grow as an Executive Recruiter I have gained incredible respect for the candidates themselves. Where do we draw the line with our class, our character, our salesmanship, our relatibility, our concern for the actual person? Do we feel as recruiter that since the candidate is not paying us that they are any less of a human? That they are simply a pawn in our process.

Look friends, I am not the person that has perfected this process however learning. I am not going to "should" on anyone about my thoughts on what to do. But simply want to pose the questions?

**Does a candidate deserve any less than the truth?
**Do they deserve the runaround?
**At the offer process are we really looking out for the best interest of the person or are we willing to jam a deal together so we can paid?
**Are we willing to disclose all of the information to our candidates even if it may result in not being able to close them?

We are not in the business to solve everyone's pains or problems. It is just not possible with the volume of people we network with daily. This is a relationship business not a job business. Jobs will come and go, but the relationships are what I strive for.

I understand the way it feels to put someone to work. The thrill of victory, satisfaction and accomplishment. I am sure you have felt it too. What I have found is that respect is the key to success in my business. It is the ability to truly try to do what is right for all parties. Is the candidate going to look back on this experience and remember my name, our firm, our relationship or will it be one of those things where they wipe it from their mind?

Anyone feel the respect scale tipping more to the side of the client company leaving the acrophobic candidate hanging from the other end?

Views: 104

Comment by Jeff Dries on August 20, 2009 at 3:37pm
Well said Darrin.

I, too, come from old-school recruiting - where there were no computers, but rather 3x5 cards to write each candidate bio on.

Some of my best clients today were candidates I either placed years ago or simply treated them w/their best interest in mind. It IS about relationships, and doing what is right.

Have fun storming the castle...
- Jeff
Comment by Ambrish Kochikar on August 20, 2009 at 11:22pm
It's about ebb and flow. The tides of recessions and boom economies tip the scale in one direction or the other, depending on what kind of a market it is. Recruiters get trained or learn on their first job (if they're smart) about the trade. Loosely speaking, there are about as many kinds of recruiters as there are people wanting to be recruiters. Each one brings their own motivation and unique background and work ethic to the job they're doing.

You've worked with people who think the candidate is disposable. They're just another version of the the recruiters who think that a prospective customer is disposable (that is, they're no good to you until they put out and help you make money). This approach is transactional and not transformational, for the customers and candidates they work with are chips they need to cash in to buy that big vacation. It's not all about relationships for everyone, and ultimately that fact is helping you stand out because of how you work and what matters to you.

I don't for a second doubt that the best recruiters earn their stripes by creating a win-win-win for the customer, the candidate and themselves. It's hard to continue doing that if you're selling any one of those three short. If you're not focusing on building rewarding relationships as you go along your way, you're not creating a foundation for a successful career as a recruiter.
Comment by Darrin Grella on August 21, 2009 at 9:51am
Thanks Ambrish for the comment. I like your thinking about disposable customer as well. Those in my mind end up being the potential suppliers of talent right. People have to come from somewhere.

Thanks again.
Comment by Mat von Kroeker on August 21, 2009 at 4:35pm
I liked your analogy of "cutting one's teeth"! I "cut my teeth" initially working Government contracts-- and if you have any experience working these RFP's, you know it takes MONTHS for the hiring manager to call you back on a candidate (budget concerns, bureaucracy, etc.), so I had to develope a respectful and courtious way of conveying to the candidate "Don't call me-- I'll call you." or I'd be inundated with calls on a daily basis, all asking "Have you heard from the client??!! Have you heard from the client???!!" I always preface each interview with a candidate that there's no guarentees and we might not hear from the client at all-- and if a job is offered to you in the interim-- take it, by all means. I think being absolutely honest upfront saves headaches down the line (for the candidate and recruiter) if the candidate wasn't chosen.

And that's my biggest problem with candidates looking for work. They need to develope a thicker skin when it comes to not being chosen either for the position, or even for an interview. "There's always someone better than you" is a phrase I use consistantly to convey the fragile nature of a hiring managers decision to go with someone else-- even though you're just as qualified-- or even MORE qualified. Also-- I've had some pretty unpleaseant phone calls with candidates that if their not chosen-- they do nothing but berate the client "Your client must be morons to not choose me!!!" or they want you to follow-up with the client to find out specifically WHY this "uber-talented, sent-from-heaven" candidate wasn't chosen-- which is impossible in most cases. Today-- no position is a slam dunk-- and you don't have the job until there's a measurable temperature on the seat at the company ITSELF-- not in your mind.
Comment by Darrin Grella on August 21, 2009 at 8:43pm
Mat, I could not imagine having a Govt client like you described, nor some of the clients in desperation. It makes it difficult to work with people that have so much on the line to lose. That is where the patience is worn thin and extra effort on our part is needed.
Thanks for sharing.
Comment by GA Cooper on August 23, 2009 at 3:09pm
There is no excuse for treating candidates poorly. Indicative of a company which has endemic problems and lack of ethics.

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