IT Employment

Is this normal behavior from a recruiter?

A TechRepublic member is not hearing back from not one, but two, recruiters. We asked another recruiter if this is normal.

I got an email from a TechRepublic member who is having issues with some recruiters he's working with. Here's what he says:

I am seeking some advice about how I should professionally and personally handle what I call (at best) a bad practice by a couple of recruiters.

In the last six weeks I have been on a couple of interviews. One was face-to-face (F2F) with the employer, and the other was a phone interview. A couple of days after the F2F interview, the employer contacted the recruiter with a couple of comments that led to their decision not to hire me. The phone interview was also with the employer. It was terse to say the least. Obviously, I wasn't going to get this job.

In both instances, I do not fault the potential employer. It could've been a bad day. I may have said something that was misinterpreted. Whatever the case, that's the employer's prerogative. They're the ones who ultimately decide if I fit the role they have.

My problem is with the recruiters. Following the feedback from the employer and immediately following the phone interview, I called the recruiters. In both instances, I left messages to call me at their convenience. I accept that they have other clients and cannot drop everything at that moment.

As of this writing, I have yet to receive so much as an email or a voice mail from either recruiter. The F2F interview was nearly 6 weeks ago. The phone interview was the week before Christmas.

At this time, I have left any additional follow-up in their laps. I have not initiated contact with either's firm. I am wondering if I should make any effort to contact them. I also wonder if I do make contact, should I pretend that nothing happened and ignore my personal injured pride in doing so.

I asked Tim Heard, President: eSearch Associates, LLC, to weigh in on this issue. Here is Tim's response:

Eric's experience is a bit unusual in that often the third party recruiter is dead in the water while the company takes its time making a hiring decision, or when positions get put on hold.  (Which often happens for budgetary reasons near the end of a calendar year.)

Having said that, there's no excuse for the conduct that he has described.  Some form of communication from the recruiters is a must, if only an email to acknowledge that it didn't work out.  Keep in mind that whether or not the recruiters have demonstrated it, they are genuinely disappointed if you don't get hired.  After all, they don't get paid if they are unable to place you.

Obviously these two don't get that their long term success depends on their abilities to develop long term relationships with both hiring managers and candidates.  Even if they are unable to place you, their conduct influences whether you might recommend others to them, or even potentially call them in the future as a hiring manager.

For now, I think Eric is going to be better off just shaking off the experience and moving on.  If one of them calls some time in the future, it's up to him to decide how to respond, but it would be fair to have a direct conversation with the recruiter about expectations.

On a positive note, I'd like to recommend an article by Jeff Lipschultz that deals with fostering relationships with recruiters.  It's probably the best article I have read on the subject.  ... Better than any I have written.

I hope that Eric's experience is better this year.  Hopefully as companies begin approving new openings for 2013, there will be more that will be well-suited for his skills and experience.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

32 comments
Johnsteves
Johnsteves

"In the same fashion these recruitment training agencies have recourse to online or to say virtual tutoring facility. Students can get recruitment related queries solved. Many opt for virtual assistance for their tuition, assignments, homework, thesis writing, project help, essay writing and such type of higher educational solutions from these agencies. "

keith_eves
keith_eves

Having been looking for work over an 11 month stretch from June 2011 to May 2012, I have had similar experiences. At first I would just reply to the job advert and then follow it up after a few days. On very few occasions did I get through to the person mentioned in the advert, usually it was they're on the phone away from their desk, in a meeting, and, yes a message would be passed to them asking to ring me back. Still waiting for a lot to ring me back! I then started to ring them immediately after I had replied to the advert. This got a better response. I can only think that as I'm not paying their salary or earning them commission, they don't think I'm important. One reason I have been given is that the recruiters can not reply to every job application they receive. It is easy enough to compose a station item in email that just needs name job applied for and reason for not being put forward. On a similar note I have had promises of feedback from (failed) interviews, that I am still waiting for, including from a head of HR for a public sector organisation. The lack of response from both recruiters and employers I have experienced indicates a lack manners.

michelk005
michelk005

As more companies wake up to ending outsourcing and hire and train permanent employees the less they will have a need for recruiters. A lot of companies are now doing their own recruiting as they eliminate the middle man. It's a numbers game anyway for recruiters anyway, they spam the job boards looking for candidates and stretch potential candidates qualifications in order to present candidates to companies. If you don't work out they just move on to the next in their candidate pool, you are now old news.

Madsmaddad
Madsmaddad

Didn't come from a recruiter. I found it in the classifieds in a local paper. My employer to be placed the ad and I responded, even though I had never been a university lecturer before. On the basis of my knowledge and the fact that I had given training courses, I became one. I had enjoyed the ego building exercise of visiting recruiters and having them tell me that had terrific skills and was very employable, etc. But I didn't really fit with the offers that they sent me to, and thus it was up to me to re-invent myself. Perhaps if I had found and gone for the jobs, like I did, I would have been better able to bring out the appropriate talents..... It's all history now that am retired anyway.

Tim Heard
Tim Heard

I can't respond to all of the replies. In the even that anyone has specific comments that you'd like to address directly to me, feel free to take it offline and contact me directly.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

They contact me when there's a word in my resume. If that word isn't for instance the name of the road I live on, they parrot the job requirement and the current understanding of the remuneration, location etc. Then I apply my lengthy experience in the market to the "opportunity" and either bin it on the spot through either me being unsuited, or it not suiting me or cautiously indicate a willingness to proceed further. If I decide that there might be some mileage in it for me and a potential employer. They arrange an interview for us.... Anyone thinks I'm wrong, aside from my first job, every one has been through a recruiter, and I've been out of work a grand total of two months since 1981. Best bet for dealing with recruiters, expect very little. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Getting feedback after 'failing' has been a very rare animal in my experience. Those few occasions where I have had some it's been useless anyway, can't say it's had a real impact on me. One of my all time favourites was getting a hit for an interview twice but with a few years in between. Failed both times, not a clue why. Lo and behold a few months later a recruiter wanted to put me forward again and I declined due to the lack of feedback. He said it was probably the recruiter not the employer. Unfortunate that, he worked for the same ones....

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I have seen more than my fair share of flaky recruiters over the years. I consider most recruiters to be on the same level as used car saleman. I am sure I am going to get flack for this; but, the absolute worst are recruiters from the Asian sub-continent. Most of them have no culturally assimilated into the American business model and treat candidates as if they were tenant farmers. I have had several over the years call my phone several times and fail to leave messages. They just hang up when the phone's voice mail picks up. I think they believe that high-quality candidates are simply breathlessly awaiting the phone to ring. This is a very sad state; as, I have worked with, know and respect the hard work of several recruiters I have dealt with over the years. It isn't an easy job to match high-quality candidates with demanding employers. I would advise the TR peer to send his resume to Tim's firm and just hang up if either of those other firms call him back. Maybe I need to start a blog called Unprofessional Recruiters and put a spotlight on the bad ones.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

If it's about how IT is relevant to the market they operate in, someone is lying their arse off.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I'm mean what do you do with a statement like you are the best FROTARN programmer we could find.... Aside from immediately checking your resume for spelling mistakes!

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

I used to teach a youth job club and was a motivational speaker who helped people who couldn't find work, get back on track. Forget everything you know, pick up a phone book, or Google your local yellow pages. Figure out WHERE you want to work. Write a pitch that introduces yourself and focuses on your strengths and offers teh company a value added proposition, research the company PROPERLY, CALL (with a telephone, which you can Google if you are not familiar with live voice calling), get the bosses name. No gate keeper can stop you from getting a name after a bit of practice. Find out when he/she is available and call again ONLY for the boss. Skip HR, regardless of company policy. SPEAK to the BOSS. A worst case scenario is that the boss says to call HR, have him transfer your call directly to HR, when they get an applicant that the boss just passed to them, you will be seen and not screened out without your resume being looked at (damn resume bots!). I've been told on TR before that "my company would never let you through to the boss, they would default you to HR, it's policy. Having done this for a few decades now, I can only say, pshaw! They are just gatekeepers that are scared to put your call through, they are also scared to NOT put through a call the boss would want to take though. I've worked for companies where you get to walk in the first day and look at that gatekeeper with a smile and introduce myself. After her telling me there's no possible way the boss would hire directly. Sure, here I am anyway, is that my desk and can you hold my calls for a few hours while I get settled in please? Do the same for 40-50 companies, within 2 WEEKS (not 9 months or more of recruiter resumes)you WILL have a job. In the average class of 15-20 85% were employed full time in a job they actually wanted AND they got to negotiate salary. The remaining 15% either went back to school for more training or took an internship. It works because they are usually not screening piles of resumes because most employers aren't actually hiring when you call, but are often thinking about it. Even employers that have no plan on hiring will usually take you on simply due to your tenacity, skill and drive. On the other hand, a few years ago the company I worked for shut its doors and moved east to Toronto, I wouldn't move, so I left. I have a fat severance package so I idly sent out resumes for the next 8 months, maybe a half dozen or so per day through online ads, recruiters etc. and got NOTHING! I finally ran low on money and decided I better get my act together, wrote a pitch (yes, I still do it too) printed off all the companies in specific industries that I actually wanted to work for and hit the phone. One company had a strict HR department with a three month hiring process, phone interview, online evaluation test, two personal interviews and then a wait and see what they come up with time. They were up front and described the process to me, this was when I was asking for the boss. I found the bosses name online (LinkedIn) and then called and asked for him directly. It took multiple calls and almost a week before I got put through and actually spoke to him. I was working full time for him the following Wednesday, 5 days after our first conversation. I bypassed all the strict HR policies and went to work instead. I suppose dozens of others had been going through the time wasting process when it was cut off with "we've already found a suitable candidate but will keep your resume on file for 6 months in case something comes up".....sure you will. Again, I am told ALL THE TIME, that this doesn't work, but it hasn't failed me yet. Others I have helped this way fit every walk of life you can imagine, from housewives returning to work, high school drop outs, people with criminal history etc. They ALL work around set routines and find the job THEY want.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

you wouldn't really miss if you hadn't not missed them. :p

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Though I wasn't interested in the "opportunity". I was asked by several companies if they could submit me for the same role, over a few years. I finally had to make several phone calls to them and send emails asking them NOT to consider me for this role anymore. I've had another company, direct hiring, that hounded me for about 5 years before they FINALLY got the message I wasn't interested in working for them. Every two weeks I'd get an 'exciting opportunity' offer from them. The typical, 'we've found your resume online' BS. Funny though, I haven't started a job through a recruiter besides working for recruiters. I've worked with career companies, which are like glorified recruiters, before. They get opportunities through their private contact network, they are paid up front to find the right employee, generally 6 figures and up and jobs are never publicly advertised or given to multiple recruiting firms. They don't get a chunk of your salary, but they cost $5000.00 for a 3 year career program were they consult with both the employer and yourself to ensure you are both happy every few months. Good system, great jobs and income level, expensive to get into though.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Sure, you do that ! I'll send you a three page list to begin with. I think you'd be publishing quite the tome if you tried to identify the bad recruiters. The recruiting business model, right from the get go, is a scam anyway. It is not designed to help the employee at all, in fact it is a detrimental practice for employees to get work FROM a recruiter, even when hired it's a sham. Company: " We need an employee with X skills and will pay $85K per year. Recruiter: We need 16%-20% of the new employee's first year's salary Company: Fine but we are not able to pay more than $85K for the employee so you can take your cut out of that. Recruiter Ad: "Hiring employee with X, Y AND Z skills, MBA, etc, role pays $68,500 per year." (They ALWAYS over hire and under pay to impress their candidate, which is the hiring company, not the employee). Recruiter submits phenomenal employee to company, company is thrilled at their find. Employee works for 7 months to 1 year then finds more suitable work (due to low pay and misrepresented role). Employee leaves. Company: Hi recruiter, you did so well with that last hire, unfortunately he left for a better offer. Can you find another? Cycle starts again, recruiter is paid again and so on each year for years to come. A recruiter's job is NOT to find you permanent employment. It is to find over qualified candidates that will leave after one year. Recruiters get paid for the first year of your employment, they don't want you there longer because they will get rehired to fill the position again and make more profit.

Tim Heard
Tim Heard

:-D Ironically, back in the old days when I actually took a FORTRAN class, we were told by the instructors that we'd never use it. I did actually have a client, many years later, hire a FORTRAN programmer through me. He converted something out of FORTRAN, which took a few weeks. The rest of his career with them, which lasted several years, involved work totally unrelated to programming.

Tim Heard
Tim Heard

Honestly, that's not the way it works. I have worked both in HR and as a 3rd party recruiter for years. You are simply misinformed. Yes, there are unethical recruiters. There are unethical people in any profession. On the whole though, the process you just described is not accurate.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I got a hit for some software that, I've never heard of. It is the name of the road I live on though. There's always the classic ten years experience in XXXX 2008 But my all time favourite, was a buzzword bingo vacancy, but there was one on it they were really strugglling to find anyone with. Windows SLQ server....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I was getting hits to go back, last year. They've got twenty-five yeras of inhouse software in it, not getting replaced any time soon. Like CLOBL0 :D and banking.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

which is far less than me. Anyway, coffee's getting to me so I think I'll go take a...

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

" I don't know how to say it any differently. " How about reading and comprehending what I said instead? I never said a word about companies having two payrolls for an employee or two offers on the table. The company pays the same money if they hire direct or through the recruiter. The recruiter gets 16-20%, on average, of the new employees, first year's salary. If the company is willing to pay $100,000/yr, they PAY $100,000/year. BUT, the recruiter gets the employer to pay the employee $100,000 :LESS 16-20%, which is THEIR cut. Finder's fee, commission, spiff etc. All the same thing, and ALL businesses understand and pay these common fees too, whether to sales people, subcontractors, annual bonuses etc. The other part you didn't read, or perhaps didn't comprehend, was my job hunting style. As I said, it has worked for people in all walks of life, including myself in IT as well as sales. I got a high paying IT manager's role, in which I learned on the job over 5 years on the job but with some understanding of networks etc. The company, which was looking to hire someone with a specific skill set and certs, had been looking and interviewing for several months already. They hired me instead, regardless that I had little qualification, no certs to speak of and simply some experience dabbling in basic IT tasks. I convinced them that they needed me, not the qualifications. Selling a boss is no harder than selling an rather uneducated consumer. That's when I found TR to begin with, a dozen or so years ago. As for your comments, It's not a matter of agreeing to disagree, I know you have a different opinion and you are entitled to it, but you presented it as an assertion, which I have personally found to be false. You then claimed that, due to your wealth of experience in the field, that I was completely mistaken and incorrect. Again, a false assertion. To top it off, as I also said and which you again missed, I have worked for multinational recruiters, in the USA as well as Canada, Europe and Australia. So I do understand the business model, better than you understand me to or are willing to accept. If you have an opinion, present it as one. If you read another's personal experiences, accept it as personal experience. Unless you know who I am or what I've done, your assertions are simply unqualified opinions, which are far from being facts or corrections. I love how, every time someone is proven wrong these days, one party wants to agree to disagree. What a cop out! "Humans breathe oxygen to survive", "Well, I think I'll just agree to disagree because I personally believe you can live without oxygen?" I also NEVER said I walked in the door and got a job. Comprehension is a killer behind so many threads in these forums, so many people just seem to lack the simple ability to understand what they read without reacting to a predetermined conclusion. Well done!

Tim Heard
Tim Heard

Your background aside, I have no idea how it works in Canada, but in the US the pool of money that is budgeted for recruiting comes from a different account and shows up on a balance sheet differently than wages and salaries. I have never had a hiring manager tell me, we can pay one amount for a position if we don't use a recruiter, and less if we do. I don't know how to say it any differently. As for your comment about walking in the door and getting a job, I certainly wouldn't deny your personal experience. My recruiting experience has primarily been for roles involving specific technical skills, as opposed to roles like sales or account managers. I can imagine it might be possible to walk in and "sell" yourself to a VP of sales, whereas a CTO might be less impressed by a network engineer walking in and trying a similar approach. Anyway, I'm going to suggest that you and I agree to disagree as Tony suggested in his last post.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Again, the company has a set wage they will offer, the recruiter takes a cut of the employees first years income. Instead of the job being sold as 100K it will be sold, by a recruiter, as 84K. the company still pays the same wages, the employee just earns less for relying on a third party to do what he could have don himself for more money..

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The best candidate for the role. The best role for the candidate The one that brings the most reward for the recuiter's efforts. Now given meeting all three perceptions of best, or indeed any two of them is problematic, I personally have no problem with the recruiter going for door number three, after all I don't give a stuff if someone has an issue with me going for door number two... That's honest, to claim anything else is dishonest. There again to say to a candidate or a customer you could do way better than this and not get paid would be most unexpected, though I agree most ethical. Alan Sugar might personally agree as well, you'd still get to hear you're fired if it it was his recruitment company.... Developers churning out bug free code, an excellent allegory. Just as unrealistic.

Tim Heard
Tim Heard

As you undoubtedly know, there are both ethical and unethical ways to make a profit. While being profitable is no doubt anyone's goal, the assumption I would have when dealing with a recruiter is that he/she would try to find the best suited candidate for a company, for the salary that the company can afford. Similarly, while a candidate may not technically be the "client" in that he or she might not be paying the recruiter directly, my expectation as a candidate, or an employer would be that the recruiter deal honestly with the candidate and work hard to see that there's a good fit between the needs of the organization and the needs of the individual. No doubt these are idealized expectations and no recruiter ever does it perfectly. Something like no developer or team can consistently crank out error-free programs ahead of schedule and under budget in a manner that fully meet's the client's expectations. ... We are all human and produce less than perfect results, despite our best efforts. If we're going to boil it down to a single ethic to follow, I'll stick with the Golden Rule: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule So, they were being "un" professional, in that I felt that they were not living up to commonly held expectations that I would have for them, or that the individual who was emailing them held. In this case, it's a pretty low standard. They didn't provide simple follow-up with the candidate after he was informed that he wasn't selected for the positions.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

recruiters, not even when they set that expectation. All I wanted to know was which ethic you felt these non-professional recruiters were being un about. Was it the makinga profit one, or not?

Tim Heard
Tim Heard

What I'm saying, Tony, and a_a, is that companies have internal wage and salary structures that define what a position pays. The pay range for a position is determined before a decision is made whether or not to use an agency and there are often that take place to make sure that companies follow their policies with respect to internal equity. I think the context of the article made it clear though that not all recruiters or agencies are alike with respect to the quality of the work that they do or, in some cases, the level of integrity the company/recruiter demonstrates. We have had this discussion following past articles. I'm not sure if it can be resolved adequately in this manner. Just for your reference, here's a part article about the tendency to want to blame someone as being somehow "bad" when things don't go the way we want them to: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/career/perception-and-reality-in-todays-job-market/2234

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

I was a business development manager and sales manager for four major recruiters in BC, one was multinational. That is exactly how it works, 100% how it works in fact; I've even modified their business plans to work better for all three parties because I really don't like unethical business practices. Lower percentages, better fit for employees, but it's still the same goal. Chunk of first year's salary, most qualified candidate you can get without being TOO overqualified, and hope they leave in a year so you can fill the role again and get paid for another year. Perhaps your consulting for a recruiter was a little different, perhaps that's why you don't do it now, I don't know. HR? That's a recruiter's target! I have trained dozens and dozens of recruiting sales staff on how to sell recruiting services to HR. HR departments rarely know the real story of recruiting, HR for the most part is a desk with a dunce cap on. A necessary evil so the management doesn't have to screen employees themselves. I didn't say it was unethical, I explained a very common business model used by major recruiters. Recruiters are in business to make money, just like everyone else with the doors open. They aren't match makers, they are business owners. On the whole though, the process I described is recruiting to a tee!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

you glibly refer to. Course you need a context to really talk about something as subjective as ethics. Lets say you responded to the Earn hundreds a month, no skills needed, just a phone and an email account. Now you are a professional recuiter...

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