Forget Candidate Experience. What About Recruiter Experience?

MSDFADO EC034I hear lots about candidate experience.  There are even fab awards to help us stay focussed on this often under-invested area. (Congrats to the recent winners of the UK awards, by the way.)

I have been recruiting recently for a project manager and a trainer.  And what a totally frustrating experience!  We often hear horror stories about recruiters doing a Falling Down Michael Douglas style, going “off reservation” and losing their minds via LinkedIn, Twitter, email, phone etc…

These little rants go viral and before we know it MDs of recruitment firms are having to put down their whiteboard pens and help mitigate PR disasters. Watching the progress of the CandEs coupled with doing my own recruitment has got me thinking about the recruiter experience.

What About Recruiter Experience?

I was speaking to a seasoned (mature) recruiter the other day.  One who has run a few firms and owned/sold a very successful one – he admitted that whenever he told people what he did, he would have to justify himself and almost market the role to those in the room.  The role of the recruiter is much maligned and often misunderstood – and often by recruiters themselves!

This blog is dedicated to the recruiters out there who have high pressure roles, smaller margins than ever before, candidates wasting recruiter time with poor or inappropriate applications, so much technology that they barely have time to make a call before another electronic alert or a blog claiming to show them the latest “cool tool” distracts them….

8 Things Candidates Do To Ruin the Recruiter Experience

Here are 8 things that I believe are totally ruining the recruiter experience, and things which I feel every recruiter needs to be cut a little slack for.

This has been my own experience with ONE advert – bless the recruiter who has to deal with this every day of their lives…

So here’s to the recruiter who has to deal with the following every minute of every day: 

  1. Candidates who have not read the advert but can now apply due to the “fabulous” mobile world we now live in (ie. candidates in their pyjamas watching TV and click “buy” on a job.)
  2. Candidates who claim that they are applying because they want to change direction.  When did the recruitment industry ever market itself as offering that kind of service??
  3. Candidates who do not respect the role.  (For example, I have been a soft skills and IT trainer for 20 years.  I have undergone huge amounts of training and work experience – this does not equate to sitting next to someone with a mouse and giving them a 5 minute tutorial on how to login to LinkedIn.  I am looking for qualified, experienced people – training your grandma is neither!)
  4. Candidates who don’t bother tailoring their CV and not even enclose a covering letter explaining their reasons for applying for the role. I’m a recruiter not a mind reader!
  5. Candidates who are not able to travel or relocate when the advert clearly states this as a requirement.
  6. The advert asks the applicant to be “into social media” (for example).  I check you out online and you claim to be an expert in social media and what do I see?  Nothing!!!
  7. “Dear sir” – try harder! Now I’m not a raving feminist, but I am a woman and getting Dear sir emails wind me up (especially when you have just completed steps 1 – 6 above!)
  8. When you get a rejection, one that’s been penned just for you, one that I have spent a little time trying to let you down gently as you have pretty much done all of the above…  don’t reply with a “f **k you” email – you are sure to go on my recruitment database as “do not interview”.

Candidates who do the above are causing a horrible situation for the average recruiter. Bottle necks of stupid applications, a proliferation of “cool tools “ and technology marketed as being the next passive talent identifier, demanding clients giving vacancies to more than one recruiter in order to (theoretically) get the best level of service, candidates taking counter offers… all of the above making a recruiter’s day pretty damn hard!

So as John Sumser put it recently when I appeared on his HR Examiner Radio Show (recording above): “You seem to be on a tear for improving the image of the recruiting industry. What’s motivating you?”
Read points 1 to 8 above.  I’m not saying that some of the bad press is deserved, but let’s get some perspective…

I have always been on their side, but right now, I am stood there like Michael Douglas in Falling Down getting angry.  (Although I promise not to do all of the bad things he did in the film… honest!)

Are you a recruiter?  What frustrates you about the current setup / reputation of your role?  Are you embarrassed by being a recruiter, or do you feel you work in a great industry?  Has technology turned you into Robocop?  Is the mobile world creating issues for you in terms of quality and expectation?

What’s your recruiter experience???

Lisa JonesAbout the Author: Lisa Jones is a Director of Barclay Jones, a consultancy working with agency recruiters on their recruitment technology and social media strategies. Prior to Barclay Jones. Lisa worked in a number of Recruitment, IT, Web and Operations director-level roles. She is a technology and strategy junkie with keen eyes on the recruitment and business process.

You’ll see Lisa speaking at many recruitment industry events and being a recruitment technology and social media evangelist online. She works with some of the large recruitment firms, as well as the smaller, agile boutique agencies.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaMariJones or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Lisa Jones


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