Have you ever started to type the phrase “Recruiters are,” into a Google search before? I did, and let me tell you – it’s not pretty.
Some of the top results in my search: “recruiters are a waste of time,” “recruiters are lazy,” and, “why recruiters are bad for your career.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Try it yourself and you will get similar results;
Now, many recruiters in the industry may just simply roll their eyes and try to brush off the criticism- but that’s really the wrong approach. Because what people say and how they perceive you matters, and we simply can’t combat misconceptions or improve if we don’t face the facts.
That’s why we’re here to address the issue head-on and set the record straight. Here’s the truth about recruiters: what they’re good at, where they fall short, and how employers and candidates can find the right recruiters for them.
Let’s dive in.
Recruiters Are a Waste of Time
The complaint: Recruiters don’t help or work to get you a job. Instead, they just collect your information and waste your time without producing any tangible results.
The reality: Pretty much anyone can create a LinkedIn profile, get on a website like CareerBuilder, and call themselves a recruiter. So yes, there are bad recruiters out there that don’t really know what they’re doing and don’t follow best practices. But, that’s the case with basically any industry and any field of work. That’s why employers and candidates have to do their research and make sure that they’re connecting with a reputable and seasoned professional. Not sure what to look for or who to start with? Well, if they make any of the mistakes below, they may not be the recruiter for you.
- Recruiters Don’t Advertise Real Jobs
The complaint: Many people online complain that staffing agencies post ads for jobs that don’t really exist just to build their database with candidates that they may be able to call in the future. And this can be frustrating to job seekers who feel like they’re wasting their time chasing after an opportunity that’s not really there.
The reality: Some recruiters may do this, and many recruitment companies use job ads as “company branding” as much as they do for receiving actual job applicants. That said, this is neither good practice nor legal in some countries, so it’s something that should be avoided at all costs.
Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t always the case, and that many recruiters post representative jobs for good reason. Generally speaking, a recruiter will always have access to opportunities for a handful of similar roles in their market segment, meaning that a good recruiter will usually be able to use a job listing as a starting point from which they can point candidates in the right direction and present them with great information about the market, who is hiring, etc.
Additionally, recruiters will not place all their jobs online, so applying to a role may just be a starting off point from which to open communications with that recruiter and their other connections.
This is, in part, why we built Recruiterly – to give better access to good recruiters and to allow candidates to reach out directly to good recruiters, rather than having to go through the indirect mess of traditional job boards.
Recruiters Fake Personalization
The complaint: All recruiters claim that personalized service and candidate satisfaction are at the top of their list of priorities, but many candidates simply don’t feel like that’s the case – and they resent recruiters as a result.
The reality: One of the biggest points of contention here? Generalized recruiter messages or impersonal emails that say things like, “Hi [first name]! Based on your LinkedIn profile, we might have a great opportunity for you!” Sure, this kind of mass communication saves time in the short term, but it just doesn’t work as part of a sustainable, long-term strategy; it makes the recruiters seem lazy and inconsiderate, which will make them lose business over time.
Don’t be that recruiter. Hone your communication skills and show your candidates that you’re paying attention, that you know your stuff, and that they actually matter to you. And keep it real – if there’s one thing we’ve learned with the rise of user-generated content and customer reviews, it’s that audiences today can sense a forced sale and inauthenticity a mile away, and they want nothing to do with it.
Recruiters Are Bad At Communicating
The complaint: Recruiters never get ahold of you at the right time. Instead, they call when you’re at work – leaving you trying to scramble to disguise who you’re talking to – they schedule interviews and then ghost you, or they lose touch for weeks at a time. All of this is frustrating, unprofessional, and just flat-out unacceptable.
The reality: Yes, it happens. And no, it’s not acceptable. If you’re working with a seasoned recruiter, you should expect them to respond in a timely manner and keep you informed through the entire hiring process. Even if they’re just waiting to hear back from an unresponsive client, you should know and feel like you’re in the loop.
They Can Be Awful at Giving You Feedback
The complaint: Are the skills that you want to discuss in the interview the right ones for the job? Should you expect to hear back if it’s a no? Are your interview skills on point for that particular company? Many complain that they don’t know the answers to any of these questions because their recruiters are awful at giving feedback or keeping them in the loop.
The reality: Once again, it’s better to overshare than under-share – at the very least, the candidates will feel like you actually care if you’re constantly sending them updates. Some tips for recruiters to get this part right:
- Make the process transparent and obvious: if only successful candidates will be contacted, make sure that everyone knows that from the start.
- Give dates: When should candidates expect to hear back? Giving a solid, transparent timeline will not only ease their minds but also show that you’re a seasoned professional.
- Follow up with your commitments: Recruiters can’t just forget about candidates that didn’t make it through. Follow through with everyone, every time.
They Can Misrepresent Jobs
The complaint: Recruiters don’t do their homework, and they don’t really know the specifics of what a job entails and whether or not it’s suited for your skills.
The reality: This is a biggie. The issue? Either recruiters don’t know exactly what a job entails, or they recommend candidates for a job that just doesn’t make sense for their skills and their career trajectory. The reality is that a good recruiter should know these things, and they should be able to talk to job seekers in detail about the job, what it takes, and where their skills put them compared to the competition. What’s more, they should want to talk about these things, particularly if they’re specialized recruiters. If they don’t – or if they get these basic details wrong – then maybe it’s time to do some more research and look for someone that knows their stuff.
They Don’t Understand You
The complaint: At the end of the day, they just get it all wrong and they don’t present jobs that really interest you.
The reality: This happens all the time, and it can lead to mismatched placements, frustration, and setbacks. And yes, sometimes it’s due to blatant mistakes and oversights on the recruiters part, like in the point above. That said, this problem can also be very nuanced, and it can really come down to recruiters taking the time to understand candidates’ personalities and personal interests. The person who would love a job at Apple, for example, may hate the culture at Google – yet, on paper, both companies would offer acceptable positions. That’s why the best recruiters really take the time to hone their social skills and understand the people behind the resumes.
They Don’t Care
The complaint: As harsh as it may sound, many people just feel like recruiters only care about their commission checks, not about finding great job matches for their candidates. And this is super frustrating for job seekers; they’re putting their future career in the hands of these recruiters, and they want focus and attention.
The reality: Listen, the reality is that there are bad and unqualified recruiters out there, and there are recruiters that truly don’t care. They get paid by their clients, after all, and at the end of the day they really just want to get that paycheck and make sure that they get the job done.
Luckily, these recruiters are pretty easy to sniff out: they send the mass emails, they don’t gather relevant information about candidates, and they don’t try to build open communication or a meaningful relationship.
Still not sure? That’s what Recruiterly is for. One of our core missions is to connect employers and job seekers with top recruiters and with the right recruiters for their industry – and we validate any recruiter that enters our marketplace platform, thereby providing the first trustworthy, reliable third-party to find the right recruiter and avoid a major scam.
But what if you’re a recruiter that does care and you’re doing some of these things? Well, it’s time to fix your bad habits and get your house in order:
- Come up with a game plan for creating proper, authentic communication that can replace mass emails
- Learn how to listen to candidates so that you truly understand their requirements and come up with a real working solution
- Remember that you’re working with real people, and keep their humanity and their best interests in mind
Let’s get started. Happy recruiting!
Want to connect with professional, seasoned recruiters? Try Recruiterly!