Carter Bailey Tech Thoughts, lessons learned, and motivation


Hired Help: Dealing with Hiring Recruiters

Anyone that has been through the job search ringer has probably had to deal with recruiters or recruiting firms. I know I have, and I have never had a single positive experience with recruiters. Read on to see what my typical experience has been with recruiters and my new strategies for dealing with them to minimize the time you spend on unfruitful methods of getting a job.

Here's the typical scenario:

  1. I setup my (or or account and apply to a few jobs in my area.
  2. Within the week, I start getting daily calls from recruiting firms and recruiters wanting to know if I am looking for employment and to tell me about a job opportunity. Usually, their opener is dry and boring or thick with a foreign accent (really? you want to tell me about an "exciting" opportunity but you say it as if you woke up 5 minutes ago with a hangover?).
  3. I take a few minutes to listen to the job description and ask them to submit my resume to their client (usually, they won't tell you what company this is for because they don't want you to go apply to the company yourself).
  4. I check back with the recruiter throughout the week, and if I can even get ahold of them, they don't have an answer or the client has decided to go with another applicant.

This cycle continues on and on, until I get tired of it and start applying directly to the companies I find on Craigslist or other career sites. As if by magic, I get to talk to real people at the company and go to interviews.

In the past year, I have gone through the employment process twice. The first time, I had three recruiting firms looking for positions. The second time (May and June of 2011), I had at least five recruiters applying to positions for me. Care to guess how many phone interviews (let alone face-to-face interviews) I was able to get? One. That's it. The rest have been a waste of my time, effort and sanity.

I decided at the end of May this year that I would adopt a few strategies for dealing with recruiters to help minimize the time and effort I spent on them, increase my chances of finding a successful lead (ie, one that leads employment), and decreasing the wear on my sanity.

  • Tell them you only have five minutes to spare. You will get all of the information up front without any chit-chat. Do this even if you aren't currently employed or busy.
  • Ask them to email you the job description. If you really are running short on time or you just don't feel like talking to them, this will help you get off the phone and get the necessary information much quicker.
  • Use the job description to search the Internet for who the recruiter's client might be. This works especially well if you got the job description emailed to you, and they usually cut-and-paste the job description directly.
  • Don't be afraid to fire your recruiter. Their first priority is getting an employee for their client, not to get you a job. If they aren't getting you interviews, tell them to take you off their list.
  • If they ask you to redo your resume, ask them what they don't like about it. I have had more than half of the recruiters I've dealt with ask me to do this, and it is usually because they want you to add or change something to make you look like a better candidate for their client's position.
  • Don't be afraid to tell them "no." If they don't seem like they are doing a great job or aren't trying to help you out, just say "no." I've wasted more time with pointless online tests, technical phone interviews (with other recruiters in their firm!), and resume updates than I care to think about.

Having the job description mailed to you can really help you out. In May, I asked a recruiter to email me the job description because I didn't have very much time to spend on the phone. When I got the job description, there was also a company description (without the company name, company logo, or any other clear, distinguishing info). I simply plugged the first sentence of the company description into Google with quotes around it, and I was rewarded with a direct match to the actual company's website. The company had a "Careers" page on their site, from which I grabbed the email and emailed the company directly. I was rewarded with a phone interview!

In the future, I will be making my online profiles clear that I will only deal with companies directly.

Let me know what you think about recruiters or your experience with recruiters!

Posted by Carter Bailey

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