Talent Acquisition

5 Bad Recruiter Behaviours Which Need to STOP!

Recruiters do a very important job. Without recruiters my career would not have been so rewarding nor so interesting as it has been so far. I find that working with a good recruiter will not only land you the job, but it will also give you an insight into how the market is moving, what the new trends are and what may be good development areas in the future. So let me start by saying thank you to all the excellent recruiters who have helped me over the years. You know who you are, I thanked you then and I have never forgotten you!

Lately, however, there has been a trend in people who have been very angry with recruiters, publicly telling them off, calling their bosses and ultimately getting them fired. Undercover Recruiter recently published an article (Generic InMails: Just Chill Out for a Minute) about this, and this is my reply:

While I find the reactions of the people being contacted by recruiters a bit much, I can sympathize with them to a large degree. There have always been recruiters who have overstepped their boundaries, but the behavior of recruiters is changing and making me wonder what is going on in the recruiting-world at all.

Here are 5 things recruiters did which annoyed me:

  1. Contact for the sake of it – I used to get a number of contact requests on LinkedIn, I am not a LION, but I am fairly open to new contacts. But it has changed from a few contact requests per month to many contact requests per week. All of them had something to do with recruiting, but almost none of them had viewed my profile. I can understand them searching for a candidate for a certain position, finding a potential match in me and wanting to initiate contact. But they have not viewed my profile so why do they want to initiate contact with me?
  2. Non-relevant job specs – Recruiters will send me job offers with very specific requirements that I have no chance of fulfilling i.e. Basque-speaking PM and BW consultant for a 2-month contract in Ulan Bator. If they had looked at my LinkedIn profile they would know that that is not really my area of expertise, so why didn’t they take the trouble of looking it up? Why leave it to me to decline and explain why?
  3. Over-persistent – Some recruiters are very persistent and will call at all times of the day, not bothering to ask if ‘now is a good time to speak’ (if it’s during the day, it probably isn’t) and demand that I hear them out regarding the job offer they have. Once I was performing an end-user training and my phone was on because my daughter had been feeling poorly, and I was concerned that the school might call. My phone started ringing, one call starting as soon as the one before ended. It was awful, and I had to set my phone on silent. In the break, I could see that the same recruiter had been calling me non-stop. I called the company to tell them to please stop calling me during my working hours. The recruiter then sent me an email about a job that I am in no way qualified for, a LinkedIn contact request, and her colleague sent a LinkedIn contact request as well. I was astounded. I actually wrote to ask her if she – were our roles reversed – would accept such a contact request from me, but she never replied. I understand that the recruiter is only working – but so am I! My worth to a recruiter only exists as long as I either have a job or am able to perform a job. My worth would rapidly be devalued if I were to be fired from my job because said recruiter can’t call at a time where I am not guaranteed to be busy. And maybe even do a bit of research beforehand instead of wasting everyone’s time?!
  4. Aggressive attitude – Some recruiters become very aggressive if a job opportunity doesn’t work out, threatening that they will personally make sure that the person being recruited will ‘never work again’ if they don’t do as they are told, and that they will ‘ruin their reputation’. I have tried that myself and friends and colleagues of mine have experienced it as well. That is not a good way to do recruiting, please don’t do that.
  5. Spam emails – Before, someone would not receive a ton of emails of which 98% did not apply their area of expertise. It annoys me because usually I spend time answering these emails, but now I simply receive too many emails, and just reading them takes a lot of time. I don’t have time to answer them, and I hate the rudeness of it all. To be honest, my faith in a recruiter beginning their email with ‘I am sorry if this email does not apply to you’ is very small. Why would they send it if they aren’t sure that the subject applies to me? To how many others are they sending it? Does the job exist at all, or are they just sounding the market? This is not just paranoia. I have tried replying to mails like this and getting the reply ‘ohh… yes… that job… well I’m sorry but they found a match for it a few months ago’. That is not how one builds confidence.

I think the overall problem is that before, you would have a close relationship with a recruiter. They would get to know you fairly well before offering jobs. Now, most recruiters treat the people they contact as commodities, and that is not nice.

I got my current job because a recruiter knew me and the company so well that she could see a match there even though there was no open position. We met and I could see what she meant. I got the job. Now that is excellent recruiting!

About the author: Rima Overgaard Fayed is a certified SAP consultant since 1999 and has worked with recruiters since that time. In her spare time, she owns Jiddo Press, a publishing company that makes books for learning Arabic.

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