Recruiters Don't Want to Kill Your Grandmother (and other recruiting myths debunked)

Commentaries, articles, posts and emails have been flying left and right in an attempt to clarify and disassemble the falsities being spread about Obama's healthcare reform. Rumors of death panels, promoting euthanasia, cutting Medicaid and bringing about a complete government takeover of healthcare have been flooding the media channels. I’ve watched in wonderment as town hall meetings, editorials and letters escalated to the point of comparing President Obama to Hitler. I read the proposals, both attended and watched town hall meetings and tried to understand how these misconceptions originated. Whether or not you support Obama’s healthcare reform, the aforementioned rumors and accusations being concocted are simply untrue. And so it becomes incumbent on the Obama Administration to educate and inform the public of the facts, to quell the rumors and set the record straight.
Recently, in this job climate flooded by candidates, there have been an increasing number of rumors flying around about working with recruiters. It seems just about every candidate carries with them a story about a horrible experience they've had with a recruiter they have worked with. There is sometimes an undertone that recruiters provide little worth, do not value their candidates, and get in the way of candidates getting the jobs they want. I also would like to quell the rumors and set the record straight.

Myth #1- Recruiters are glorified coordinators

Malcolm Gladwell, a staff writer for the New Yorker and author of several international best sellers, writes about what he refers to as the “Connectors,” in his book The Tipping Point. Connectors are people in the community who have large networks, know lots of people and are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is like a computer network hub and typically knows people across a variety of social, cultural, professional and economic circles. They make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles.

A good recruiter is a connector, not just a coordinator. Outside of hunting for candidates, studying companies, and being in the know about current business trends, recruiters make introductions that connect two points that wouldn’t necessarily meet otherwise. We bring A, to Z, connecting all of the letters in between to make it possible. So while we are indeed just coordinating the interview and submittal process, to get to that point involves a behind-the-scenes connectability that only comes from being a true Connector. A good recruiter has a relationship with the hiring manager and can help to give an opportunity to a candidate who otherwise would be overlooked. She will leverage her relationship with that manager, and the trust she has built to get you a chance to interview if she believes you fit that position. She will help the manager see what isn’t on the resume that makes you a fit, and even put her reputation on the line if she believes you deserve the position. This brings me to my next myth..

Myth #2- Recruiters can’t help you break into a new industry

Okay, this may be true a lot of the time. However – as was mentioned above , a good recruiter sometimes has the power to make a hiring manager consider a candidate he normally would pass on. An even better recruiter can both understand, and convince the hiring manager of the portability of your skills, even when they don’t match up in an obvious way. I have helped Scientific candidates break into IT, Developers break into Project Management, and Administrative Assistants break into QA.

I’m not saying this works every time, but if you have a recruiter who can recognize portable skills and how they apply to a new industry, she will help to make a hiring manager see the match, with or without having all of the buzz words.

Myth #3- Recruiters get in the way of you getting the job you want

I recently cold called into a company seeking a candidate with a very unique skill set. Knowing the technologies I needed to identify, I did my research, found the company's competitors, and narrowed in on my top 5 list. When I contacted one candidate in particular, his response was not favorable. "I don't work with recruiters," he said. "If I'm interested in a job, I'll just apply to it." I pushed him a bit and asked why he did not work with recruiters and his answer was surprising. "Because," he said, " Recruiters get in the way of the process. I can just find a job on my own if I'm looking."

But what about when you're not looking? A good recruiter will not only help you find the perfect job, but help the perfect job find you. It took some work to figure out which company's employees would be a match for this particular role, learn about which candidates might be a fit, find them, and contact them. This is not a service that is provided through a job board. Aside from that, several A-list companies don't even post all of their positions, which means sometimes a recruiter is your only way in. I thought about all of the times not only have I not hindered the process, but gone to bat for a candidate helping them to win the job on my recommendation, or pushing a hiring manager to meet with a candidate they originally passed on. There is always an exception to the rule, and there certainly, like any profession are bad recruiters out there. But if you are not getting the jobs you want, it is most likely not for lack of recruiting effort. A good recruiter is not only submitting your resume to a hiring manager, but is behind the scenes, pushing it along, being your advocate, trying to hurry the process and trying to deliver constructive feedback whenever possible. The rest of it unfortunately, is out of our control, and we are just as frustrated as you when we don't get feedback. Also, we want to see you get your dream job- for most of us that is what we are most rewarded by - both monetarily and instrinsically.

Myth #4 – Recruiters have no pull or decision making authority

I cannot tell you how many times a hiring manager has asked for my input on who they should hire. Especially in this economy, when a hiring manager may have several technically identical candidates in front of them, it is not uncommon for them to turn to the recruiter for their input. If all hard skills are equal, it will come down to which candidate followed up, which has the better attitude, and even which was more receptive to the recruiting process. If you are friendly, respectful, responsive and appreciative, you are in good shape – the recruiter will almost always be in your corner. These may seem like small details, but doing things like following up with the recruiter after your interview, expressing your interest in the position, and making every conversation positive, will go a long way. If I have two technically equal candidates for the same position, and one out of the two has a positive attitude and always returns my calls quickly, I will assume that candidate is more interested in the role and a better overall fit, therefore will make that recommendation every time.

Myth #5- Recruiters sit on death panels

Though I have addressed the paragraphs above that recruiters can often influence a hiring decision, ultimately, it is not the recruiters fault, nor is it solely their decision when it comes to whether or not you are selected for a role after an interview with a hiring manager. Be careful how you handle the rejection, and understand at this point in the process, the recruiter is simply delivering the message. Once delivered, the results are final and binding, so don’t kill the messenger, and remember, handling feedback constructively may lead to other opportunities in the future **

Views: 294

Comment by Thomas Patrick Chuna on September 8, 2009 at 5:33pm
great points about recruiters and the myths surrounding them...not sure how mentioning obama and healthcare helps make those points, but whatever - a soapbox is a soapbox right?
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on September 9, 2009 at 5:26am
I don't and won't pretend to understand your introductory paragraph, as I am living in Australia, though observing with interest your issues with health cover, as we have Medicare which covers all citizens.

Having worked with many recruiters in various countries, I would suggest:

Myth 1 - recruiters are more facilitators unless they do real search, otherwise why advertise?
Myth 2 - agree they can and should encourage other industry skills, though more a function of transferable skills, with a healthy dose of "selling" the candidate
Myth 3 - like any sales person, you sell yourself as a brand, your company and your candidate
Myth 4 - I value recruiters' views but ultimately the decision is with the hiring manager, with HR as a veto
Myth 5 - recruiters dictate the line-up, most candidates just want a fair chance to be on the short-list

You have certainly busted some myths!
Comment by Ken Forrester on September 9, 2009 at 11:27am
I love the way that you use the current healthcare debate issues to bring light to similar myths taking place in the recruitment Industry. If the present administration had presented such a complex and emotional issue with clarity as you have, maybe we wouldn’t have to listen to so much noise!
I couldn’t agree with you more; but those myths are real in the minds of job seekers (active/passive) simply because of their past experiences dealing with recruiters. Most of the confusion stems from the brand associated with the word recruiter. Job seekers need to be enlightened to the fact that there are many different types of recruiters as well as the objectives of recruiters when interacting with job seekers. A generalist recruiter may not have the same objective as a specialist recruiter, and a contract recruiter’s objectives may be different from a full cycle recruiter. Either way it is up to all recruiters to increase our level of professionalism especially in sensitive times like today.
Comment by Kathie Turo on September 9, 2009 at 12:10pm
I agree with Ken and would like to add, it is up to us recruiters to break these myths! If we don't like what is being said about us, then we have to actively do our part to change it. good article!
Comment by Jackie Wolfstone on September 17, 2009 at 8:33pm
Fantastic article Mindy! Having worked both as an agency and corporate recruiter I understand the challenge in articulating how RECRUITING IS A PROFESSION! It is a difficult and constant education for our hiring managers and candidates, and you've done an amazing job in approaching this overall question from the the idea of recruiting 'myths'. In my experience, these myths arise when a candidate or HM doesn't know or understand what we do on a day to day basis. Whenever there is a void of information people will naturally fill this void with their own story and thus a myth is born in the place of real information and data. I'm so excited to read an article so thoughtfully written about my own profession, I'll defintiely stay tuned for your next one. Thanks!


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