Resigning My Position As Career Coach of the Universe

You win, universe. I quit. I hereby resign as career coach helping the wayward un/under-employed. You know I feel a responsibility – a moral obligation, even – to help job seekers. I don’t mean candidates for my company – I mean job seekers who can do no more for me than say thank you. I just think it’s the right thing to do – to offer help and career guidance when and where I can. I've reviewed hundreds of resumes, mock interviewed candidates, edited LinkedIn profiles, made intros to other recruiters… but no more. I'm tired. I'm worn out hearing that networking doesn't work. I'm exhausted by the constant complaining about how much recruiters suck. The continual blame game has made me dog-tired. I am sick to death of apologizing for my industry and I can't explain to one more person that I am paid to find PEOPLE for JOBS, not the other way around.

I quit.

How did I get here, you ask? What made me finally decide to throw up my hands and stop trying to be so damn helpful? It was actually a snide comment made about a recruiter I know personally. Let me tell you something about the Seattle market. It's SMALL. For such a big city, the recruiting/HR community is pretty tight. So when a job seeker I'd been trying to help threw a friend under the bus, I had ENOUGH. I was surprised to hear that this recruiter had been non-responsive. When I asked for more details I found out that apparently, the recruiter had been an outright bitch and treated my job seeker like day old dog crap. I was shocked (I told you I knew this recruiter, right?) and asked for more details. I got to listen to a very nice voicemail where the "bad recruiter" explained in the nicest way possible why this job seeker wasn't a fit for a role.

What. The. #^(%.

At first I just sat there, too stunned to speak. Then finally I said "help me understand. I get that you're bummed you didn't get the call for this job, but if you're not a fit, what would you like [recruiter] to have done?" Job seeker looked at me like I had grown an extra head. He couldn't believe that my recruiter pal wasn't going to "get" him a job. He also couldn't believe that the recruiter wouldn't just send him to the client, because the client should be the one to decide if he was qualified or not. My friend is a commission only agency recruiter. There is no throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks, people. As if that wasn't enough, this job seeker has apparently nominated my friend to be his own personal career concierge. It is the recruiter's job to find him employment.

I just… I can't even… what?

Do accountants deal with this? Plumbers? Lawyers? Is there any other profession that is expected to provide professional advice for free, and then get slapped when it's not "good enough?" I'll admit I ask professional friends and family for advice, but if I want my taxes done I certainly don't expect my CPA buddy to do it for free! Here's a better analogy – my friend gives me tax advice, I don't take it, then it's her fault when I get audited and have to owe.

I'm going to be honest. I don't know very many "bad" recruiters. Maybe I'm lucky, or maybe I just don't see it, but I like to think most of the people I've crossed paths with professionally are pretty darn good at what they do. If they are giving you advice, please consider it. Test it out. Get a second opinion if you want. But whatever you do, please don't blame us for your ineffective job search if you're not willing to do the simplest things we suggest. There is a lot of crappy, conflicting advice out there and you know I'll call it out when I see it. So help me help you, yeah?

I'll resume my self-appointed position tomorrow.


Views: 1111

Comment by Will Thomson on April 2, 2013 at 9:26am

Great Post Amy!  I think all recruiters at times feel "thankless".  We do work hard.  We just want a "thank you".  Candidates, we are trying to help you.  Sometimes, things don't work out.  It is not always our fault. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 2, 2013 at 9:55am

thanks Will. :) I'd even appreciate a "your advice sucks! I tried what you said and it didn't work!" That I can have a reasonable conversation about. But when I make all these suggestions and you do NONE of them because "it takes too long" or "networking doesn't work" (when you haven't even tried it) I have no sympathy.

Comment by Derdiver on April 2, 2013 at 9:56am

Great post Amy!

I too help people daily with resumes, profiles, interviews, etc. with trying to find employment but I do tell them upfront that I will not get them a job.  I can only present them as best I can to the opportunity.  I tell them that I will edit the resumes but will not write it for them, that is their words not mine.  I help answer standard questions at interviews but I do not interview for them.

It is hard for people to grasp that we are not the unemployment office. We are NOT social workers.  We are paid to help companies fill the vacancies that they have.  This applies to ALL recruiters.  I have spoken before that we are NOT job placement people.  WE do not have the actual power to GIVE a person the job.  They have to be part of this process. They have to apply, show up, and do well.   Yes, my opinion matters and yes I have fought for candidates before that I knew could do the job or that worth getting in the door but I did not sign the offer letter. 

Over the years it seems that generations before me feel that they are entitled to a job and do not have to actually work for it.  They have been GIVEN everything and now are realizing that it does not work that way.  Anger, bitterness, resentment should be reserved for the mirror.  I think that is where the problem begins for many.  That and too many degrees in Art history and not enough in computer science but that is for a different time and post.  

Comment by Will Thomson on April 2, 2013 at 10:11am

@ Amy- I have to agree with you.

@Derek- "WE do not have the actual power to GIVE a person the job" AND "Over the years it seems that generations before me feel that they are entitled to a job and do not have to actually work for it." Says it all.  I agree. People do feel entitled.  At the end of the day, they have to sell themselves!!  We can't do a majic trick for them.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 2, 2013 at 10:22am

What further complicates the issue is the very resources our tax dollars fund (speaking of the unemployment office) often give the worst advice!! I don't begrudge any job seeker EVER reaching out for input. I honestly do feel like I have a responsibility to help within reason and as long as it doesn't impede me from doing the work I'm paid to do.

I tell job seekers all the time I can't change the rules of the game, I can only help you play it better. In 15 years I have only got one job through traditional application methods - and I've had lots of jobs in that time! The rest of the time through networking / who you know / connecting with people who could get me in front of the right decision makers. I don't think that only applies to our industry.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 3, 2013 at 12:12pm
I always love it when I spend an hour on the phone going over a resume, making suggestions about who to contact, how to transition a skill set, locations where there is demand for skill sets, how to present, what to put in a cover letter and other recruiters who are specialized in their field. Then I hear,, "that is great and very helpful, now what can YOU do for me?

Uh, well, I think I just did everything for you that I can do, but send me your resume and if by some chance I gat something listed that will be a fit I will call you.

And then they say..."oh , no, I am really looking for somebody who can help me find a job"

I had one good friend going nuts during a job transition who called me and said, "ok, I am prepared to pay you to find me a job". I knew her well enough that I said, "listen up, Grizelda, I am doing everything I can do because I like you so don't insult my efforts by offering to pay me. I can't find you a job. I can only suggest, recommend, critique, point you in a direction and help you get ready. So far you have refused to follow any of my suggestions or counsel so what the hell do want to pay me for, more of the same that you don't listen to..what are you smoking. Do you really think that you can buy a recruiter or buy a job? At least she laughed when I hit he upside the head.
Comment by HRNasty on April 3, 2013 at 1:15pm

Great post and this one brings in a lot of memories.  I think Will said it best.  Sometimes all you want is a "thank you".  I am now to the point where I just want some common courtesy.  I may have lost my faith in humanity but I really don't even expect a thank you these days.  LOL.  Sorry you had to experience what you went through.  Your candidate is probably going through their entire life treating everyone with a very singular lens.  "theirs".  Do this city a favor and re consider your decision.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 3, 2013 at 1:34pm

darn it I wrote a really long comment and it disappeared. :) Anyway, thanks to Sandra and Nasty for weighing in on this! I agree and yes Sandra the best we can do is offer advice but if they won't take it - what do you do?? We talked about this a bit on Animal's show today...

Comment by Malia Jorgensen on April 3, 2013 at 1:37pm

Well said, Amy!  I used to be an agency recruiter and people just didn't "get it" that we weren't just working to find one candidate a job.  We were paid once we filled a position with the best candidate.  I think people expect recruiters to be miracle workers.  I find the attitudes to be a little better now that I'm not in an agency setting.

Comment by David Wells on April 3, 2013 at 2:07pm

Great post.  With external recruiters I sometimes think candidates feel we work for them.  And admittedly I will push candidates to redo their resume, clean up their interviewing techniques, teach them some networking tips but in the end of the day my fees are paid by clients and we have to respect (within reason) their wishes. Unfortunately sometimes candidates just dont get that and since they feel like we work for them we should do what they want us to do, regardless of the consequences to us. 


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