The Top 10 Things I Hate About Recruiters

OK, so I know Im a recruiter, but after seeing countless Top  10 Things I Hate headlines, I realize a little recruiter introspection is in order.

Sure, we see what in-house HR hates about us, which is most everything, but how about those of us who are in the trenches on the dark side. Theres a reason getting new business is often an uphill battle, and you know what? It isn't the fees! It's pretty much what the recruiting agency has done to sabotage itself.

Now, those of you who follow my postings, might think this might be another Recruiter Pet Peeves  blog, but to the contrary, I think these are universally despised agency tactics and behaviors many of us in our own industry abhor.

Here we go:

  1. Unresponsiveness  - Clients and candidates can get away with this. We cannot. Double standard maybe. But if you don't return calls/emails in a timely manner, you might as well kiss your practice good bye.  
  2. Pestering - do you see how far nagging your spouse/significant other gets you? Now put yourself in a clients shoes. And they don't even love you.
  3. Hard sell - everyone gets what you do. How about building a personal relationship, imparting knowledge, sage advice, sharing experiences, influencing and motivating. In other words, the essence of your job.
  4. Forgot to tell the candidate they didn't get the job -  this makes me cringe when I hear a candidate tell me they never heard the end result from another recruiter. Shame on them for being too chickenhearted or inconsiderate to call. This candidate is a fellow human being! And potentially another candidate or client in the future. Be kind. Be professional.
  5. Non delivery -  promises, promises. Contingency or retained; make good on your word or get out and let someone else do it.
  6. Running the same add the company does - OK, so this is a REALLY BIG pet peeve. Recently saw an agency run the same ad right under their clients on a big jobsite.  If I were your client, I'd dis you on principle. Disgraceful.
  7. Double dipping - you cannot bite from the hand that feeds you.
  8. Putting the fee before the quality of hire - money isnt the means to the end folks. We are not the Wolf of Wall street or Gordon Gecco. You do your job with integrity and professionalism and guess what, the fees will come!
  9. Undercutting fees-  I'm not talking about giving a great client a break or a multiple hire discount or one time event special fee consideration. I mean chronic fee discounting and market undercutting. You have just denigrated your own value and the value of the industry. This has me believe that you don't see yourself as deserving of the standard industry fees we charge. Whether due to lack of integrity, experience or just plain ignorance, you (and often purposely) make it harder for the rest of us to justify fees. And by the way, we do charge 25-35% with good reason. To name a few: years of experience, contacts, credibility, closing success rate, access to inaccessible talent. Need I go on?
  10. Submitting candidates without their permission  why is this still done? To beat the competition? To get in the door? If I were your candidate, I wouldn't let you represent me if you were the last agency on earth. Employed candidates rely on our discretion. Use it!

There are more of course, but you get the gist here. Getting new business is often challenging enough without our own industry destabilizing the playing field. No one wins by lazy, deceitful and disrespectful tactics. Play hard, play to win, but most of all, play fair.

Views: 971

Comment by Matt Charney on April 8, 2014 at 3:09am

Cindy - another great post from you!  Two in two weeks is a nice treat - and while these are spot on, the #1 thing I actually love about recruiters are ones like you who are passionate about our profession, our industry, and the candidates & clients we work with every day. Keep the good stuff coming.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on April 8, 2014 at 1:58pm

Thanks, Cindy. A rule of thumb for companies: don't use a 3PR to do work for you unless you really value that work at 30%. Anything less, and you can probably get it done for MUCH less. Don't expect to get excellence on the cheap.


Comment by Cindy Cremona, CPC on April 8, 2014 at 2:00pm

Thanks Matt - What started off being a mere sarcastic, tongue in cheek blog, turned into a more serious reflection on what we can all do to make our profession better and ultimately more respected.


Comment by Cindy Cremona, CPC on April 8, 2014 at 2:03pm

That's a good point, Keith. Maybe discount firms just don't believe in their own value? Sometimes, even at 30%, I  don't think I charge enough!

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on April 8, 2014 at 3:16pm

Thanks, Cindy. When only the best will do do: you should pay accordingly.

Keep Blogging,



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