Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

On Being A Recruiter

2009-08-21 23:27:17

Earlier today one of my listservs had a tirade from a bunch of frustrated IT candidates about how recruiters aren't doing their jobs. The following is my response to them.
OK, last night one of my coworkers and I went to the Seattle Job Social. And by coworker I mean someone on my team. We work recruiting for the UW *Medical Centers*. I spent about 3 hours yesterday afternoon finding, formatting and printing as many IT, marketing, and training-related jobs as I could from our database that I could find, as I know that these seem to be the populations most represented at the SJS. We went as the face of UW, because we certainly didn't expect to find any nurses, phlebotomists, or surgery technicians at a primarily IT-industry population event.

As of last May, I was unemployed. I worked my network to try and drum up some freelance business, and some of my colleagues that were still employed sent me some work, but I never made a dime off of that work. I met with a lot of unemployed friends, acquaintances, referrals, etc. Last night on my way to the job social I made a call to someone looking for some career transition advice. I've met with or spoken to many of you on this list to try and help out, and I am happy to do so. And I know for a fact that I'm not alone. *Every* employed recruiter is spending time above and beyond their "work hours" trying to help people both singularly and in general. I know that I am one of the more accessible recruiters in Seattle, and I made that choice consciously.

I empathize and feel for those of you that are having trouble getting calls back from recruiters, both internally and in the agencies. Due to my extensive contracting history, I'm much more cognizant of the candidate experience than a lot of recruiters, and I have *withdrawn* my candidacy from companies that have treated me badly as a recruiting job candidate.

But please, do *NOT* generalize that recruiters don't care, are lazy, only hire their friends/family, ignore qualified candidates, don't give you the things you need to make your job hunt more successful etc ad nauseam. Unless you've *been* a recruiter, you have no idea of the intricate legal restrictions we have to follow in everything from how we post jobs, to consider candidates, to communicate with the disabled, to counsel and mentor our hiring managers. Each job (requisition in our parlance) is a *separate* repeated process with a wide variety of variance. Often, yes, a good recruiter will cross-market candidates to hiring managers, but when you have 25+ *different* skill sets you are recruiting for, that doesn't always work real well.

But the bottom line is that the final decision on who to interview and who to hire resides with the *hiring manager*. You want to know what is the *most* frustrating part of our job? Forming a relationship with a candidate, working to get them in front of a hiring manager and then having that manager *not get back to us* for days, weeks or even months on end. Or tell us after we have vetted candidates and presented them that "I need to revise the job description. I'm not seeing the right kind of candidate." Or put the job "on hold" because of budget issues, or a reorg, or any of another half dozen relatively common reasons. On top of that, just like every other profession in America, we are doing extra work to keep our organizations afloat. I'm writing training materials, working with our internal marketing team on employment branding strategies, helping my Director on getting our processes documented and best practices in place, and recruiting on
positions I was not *hired* to do but that my team needs help on. A 40-hour work week in corporate America right now? Dream on. When I was at Microsoft my workload and "extra" project load was even crazier.

Judge recruiters you have *spoken to* on an individual basis. But I'm telling you, from where I am sitting, every single negative comment that is made about recruiting and recruiters frustrates me, because you do *not* know what we, as a profession, are going through on a daily basis.

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Jenny: Re: On Being A Recruiter
2009-09-04 07:49:25

A wise friend once said to me that what we dislike in others is what we see in ourselves. Quite honestly I've been in HR for 20 years and you're always going to run into people that don't understand the profession. But the way to counteract that is not to be defensive and try to convince them, but to do your job and do it VERY well. I have found that this wins more of them over than going on an e-mail/listserve tirade or sitting down with them and trying to talk them into liking HR. As another wise person once said ... actions speak louder than words. So those of us in HR and Recruiting (very different worlds) should get out there and do our jobs.

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