Tech & Work

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.


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.

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