I have to say, I have been a bit bogged down and late at returning calls, being pulled into too many directions lately, which is why my writing has slowed. Even though I have not been following up the way I would like with my candidates who are in process with me, I am still making an effort to be personal and detailed and if necessary apologetic. Yet, from job seekers, those passive and active alike, I am unimpressed by many.

Just in the last 2 weeks I have seen some atrocious responses both on the phone and via email regarding job postings. People, how many times do we have to tell you, write down the jobs you are responding to so that when I call you THE NEXT DAY or after the weekend, you know who the heck I am or can at least pretend!

Here are the email responses that I have seen from sales professionals in the 65-100k range responding to a direct email that has an extremely detailed job description with salary, benefits, industry and expectations in the 350+ word job posting. I point this out only because I know that there are a lot of scam and BS job postings and emails that get sent out, which is why I TOOK MY TIME to be as detailed as possible. So in return here is what I got (and these were people with good resumes):

  • I’m very interested in the attached information. Please let me know the next step.
  • I’ll talk to you!!
  • Hello–  I am interested in this position.
  • when is a good time
Please let me clarify that all 4 of the above were in response to very long, detailed emails that included my name and not ONE of these candidates addressed me with my name. They read what they wanted to and most likely responded from their phones. THEY did not sign their names or include their phone numbers which means that I had to go back to CareerBuilder to look them up… well guess what YOU MOVE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST THAT WAY! Oh yeah and this is to assume that your email address comes over with your name or that I am going to search you by your email address.
Let me also say that the one fragmented sentence response is RIDICULOUS! Get a standard cover letter and copy and paste it and put my name in it at least! We know you are using it to send to all of your employers, that is ok, it makes us feel better.
We are looking for you to appear a bit interested, share some brief, but specific statements of why YOU would be good in X POSITION IN X TYPE OF INDUSTRY, or what ever it is you are responding to. If this is the type of follow up you have, seriously you are raising concerns as potential employees and I haven’t even spoken with you yet.
So I am not going to dig back through Careerbuilder to find you again, yes I most likely saved you in a folder or put you on my work list, but still, your lack of investment in the process makes me think you are flighty. A recruiter can be working on anywhere from 10-50 different jobs in all types of areas and requirements, move yourself to the top by selling yourself on the fact that you want the job. A recruiter doesn’t want to sell you on a job, they want to talk to you about your experience first, understand your expectations and experiences and then talk about the opportunity if it fits.
Do you know why they do this? So that you can’t tailor your answer to what you think they want to hear. It isn’t because they hold the key to some secret box with all of the jobs in the world, they just don’t have the time to dig through the fluff to get to what you are really after.
Even if you have 3 interviews this week and the job they are presenting is #3 on the list, if it is a job  you would like to hear more about then put your best foot forward if not, you don’t have a shot.


Views: 3992

Comment by Evan Mignogna on November 2, 2011 at 2:24pm

Good point Tony, having empathy for the candidate is important too, which is why barring any egregious problems, I'll often give them an opportunity to add more.  However, so many times they have just been firing resumes against so many walls that they are not treating their job search with the same care and discipline as a full-time job, which is what a true job search really should be.  It comes across when they remember nothing of you (and didn't make a record of it), don't offer any relevant info about themselves, and expect much more in return.  And yes, we all fall short at times, the idea is to try and learn when we don't get the results we would prefer ;)

Comment by Stephen Booth on November 2, 2011 at 2:54pm

Don't forget the voice mails!  Some one calls from a with held number and cos, you know, you're busy you can't take the call so it goes to voice mail.  Later when you pick up your voice mail there's just a plaintive or irate "Call me!" or "Call me back on this number".


Dude, what number?



Comment by Danielle Powers on November 2, 2011 at 5:20pm

We ALL make mistakes, get busy and are flawed, thank goodness because perfect is boring. I would assume that many of us spend a great deal of time volunteering at various organizations or even during the interview process to provide some feedback to job seekers to help them improve (preaching to the choir doesn't do anyone of us much good). 


Let me give an example:

Danielle: And what happened with that position?

Candidate: Well, the environment turned hostile and these two guys were fighting and getting loud and well, they were a little light in their shoes"

Danielle: a 15 minute dissertation on why this is not appropriate and after the candidate spent another 10 minutes trying to back their way out of it I spent another 15 minutes helping to share how they might better answer the question. 


Being a job seeker in this market is frustrating and down right depressing at times anything we can do to help people out is always beneficial.

Comment by Gary White on November 3, 2011 at 1:58pm

Having recently been on the job search myself I can see this from both sides of the "desk".  I think the mis-perception of the job seeker is that the recruiter is there to serve them and there is some truth in that.  What they fail to understand however is that the recruiter doesn't have to put them forward to a client if they don't feel they are a good fit for whatever reason, including not being polite, professional etc.


I normally showed up to coffee or lunch with a recruiter in a suit and tie, especially if it was my first time meeting with this particular recruiter.  Many of them were surprised by this, which doesn't say much for the pool of job seekers out there (to your point).  I think though that recruiters can also be partly responsible for this lackadaisical attitude by not responding to candidates that have been rejected, don't have the qualifications or just weren't selected and the requisition has closed.  As a job seeker I found this to happen way too often.  Many times I found out that a job was closed from another agency when they were calling me about a different position with the same company.


I do agree with your opinion that many job seekers are lazy, and that's just not going to work in this current economy but we as recruiters also have a responsibility to EARN the respect of the job seeker and lazy recruiters make that a more difficult task for all of us.

Comment by Kirk Baumann on November 3, 2011 at 2:34pm

YES!! You said it. Customization is key, yet so many people take the lazy route. From a recruiter's perspective, why would you want to hire them??


Job seekers: take note and if you're like the people described above, adjust your strategy (or actually create one.)  Recruiters are people, too.  Have the respect to address them by name and include your contact information.  The easier you can make it for the recruiter, the better chances you're likely to have!


Nice article!


Kirk @kbaumann

Comment by Julie Bouman on November 4, 2011 at 8:55am

I received a resume the other day with the candidate's current company name spelled wrong, really??

Comment by Danielle Powers on November 8, 2011 at 9:36pm

Gary, I agree, just as in any profession there are the good, the great, the ugly and the mediocre - recruiters are not immune to this segments. Churn and burn through candidates, sending resumes without actually talking through and interviewing or sharing info on the job... being shameless in their "sales" techniques and promises of the greener grass, poaching employees from their clients... the list goes on and on. This may have to be a future post but I hope that most are reputable, honest and even if they are rushed or taking short cuts are doing right by all they encounter. If not... well you know what they say about KARMA!


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