The Quickest Way for Recruiters to Shame Their Company

I know we all have a job to do…for recruiters it is finding people for our open positions.  I know it is not an easy job to do at times, but we need to do it in such a way as not shame our companies.

For example, before you reach out to a potential candidate by email or phone…do you at least review his or her resume or LinkedIn profile?  I would think this is common sense, but I got a call this week for a JD Edwards position.  I asked the recruiter why he thought I was qualified for the role…and he laughed and then admitted that he has not seen my resume.  His sourcing department sends him names and numbers for him to call.  I said he might want to speak with them as I am an IT recruiter who has recruited for JD Edwards, but I wouldn’t be qualified for the role.  With egg on his face, he thanked me and said he will follow up with them.  This is just another form of spam.  I have never heard of his firm before, but already I have no respect for them and would prefer not to hear from them again.

Another example of this is an email I received from a recruiter last week that said, “I am excited to inform you that your background meets our current criteria for the position that you recently applied for” and gave me several times to pick for an in-person interview.  Guess what…I never applied to any such position.  Also, it was from a company I had never heard of before until their email.  In the attempt to get a call back, they lied and hoped I would not care about the lie.  If you are going to say something like this, you better actually see the application in your tracking system and perhaps even mention the date of application.  If you tell potential candidates this and they know they have not applied…do you really think they will call back?  You sound like sort of scam.  Nothing like starting a relationship with mistrust.

Also last week, I had a recruiter email me about a Senior Recruiting position via LinkedIn.  But all he said was, “My name is XXXXXX and I am a recruiter at XXXXXXX, this is in regard to a job opportunity with our major banking client, would you be interested in it?”  Really?  Where is the position located (is it even in Minnesota)?  Is this position contract or full-time?  Obviously more information would be needed for me to determine if I might be interested.  Why do I have to guess or reply just to find out?  It would take a few more words to say 4 month contract with a client in St. Paul.  As recruiters, we need to anticipate the questions and objections, and answer them before they are brought up.  By just saying “I have an opportunity…are you interested”…with no details, how would you get any passive job seeker to reply?  How does this compel them to respond?  You would only attract desperate job seekers with such an email.  Don’t they know this is spam?

I had recently been speaking with a candidate about his experiences with various companies.  He related a story and asked my advice.  He said he was called about a Project Manager role in Minnesota.  The recruiter called and told him a bit about the role and responsibilities…and it sounded interesting.  He knows that “project manager” is a somewhat abused term and that salaries for project managers are across the board.  So towards the end of the discussion, being it was not yet mentioned, he just asked…”this sounds great, but could you let me know what kind of salary range you have.”  The recruiter then replied, “well, we are looking for someone who is interested in right position and not focused on the money.”  He said that he understood that and to make things move quicker he told her his current salary.  She immediately said, “we can’t pay nearly that high.”  This is all too common in recruiting, but think about it for a minute.  Are we so naive to think that salary should have no bearing in whether someone is interested or not in an opportunity?

Obviously, this person knew that salaries in his field varied a lot…and he figured he was on the upper side of it currently…so would it not be unreasonable or illogical to ask the question “can you afford me?”  I don’t care how much you say your position is great…it will not make someone work for 1/2 of his or her current salary.  Why be so coy?  Asking what is the salary range doesn’t even mean they are looking for the money more than the opportunity.  It could just mean time is valuable and he or she does not want to waste your or his/her time on a position that really is not in the same ballpark.  Again, as recruiters, we need to anticipate the questions and objections, and answer them before they are brought up.

As recruiters, do we not realize that doing things like the above make us and our companies look bad.  It gives a very poor candidate experience.  We are shaming our companies with these practices.  Who wants to work for such companies?  I don’t.


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Eric Putkonen is a public speaker / presenter and he is passionate about recruiting / talent acquisition & retention, culture & employment brand, engagement, and leadership (which affects all of the prior).

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