Recruiters need to learn to listen

If you’ve ever seen my LinkedIn profile you know that I don’t take my professional life all too seriously and that I also have an underlying disdain for recruiters. Have I been through a recruiting company before to get a job? Absolutely, but I’d never do it again (most likely).

Why? Because of a very choice conversation I had with a boss that wanted me to go from being a contractor to a permanent position. I was attempting to negotiate a bit more money knowing damn well that they were already paying me that much AND paying the recruiting company on top of it. I was immediately shot down and told that I didn’t need to worry about their relationship with the recruiting firm. He was right, I didn’t need to worry about it. By never going through a recruiting company again, I won’t have to.

That all being said, I’m generally nice to most recruiters, specifically the ones that aren’t total douche bags. I respectfully decline offers that come my way and when I have a buddy that is looking for a new gig, I make sure to refer them (sometimes when they aren’t looking and I feel like it’s a good opportunity that would match their skill set). Most of them know how to butter me up by telling me they got a kick out of my LinkedIn and sent it around the office.

Then there’s the rest of the bunch, the recruiters that “won’t take no for an answer” and are very insistent that you need to pick up the phone and chat with them about your current career and the opportunities they are trying to fill. I can appreciate the hard work they are putting in, but fuck, I told you no and I told you I am running my own business. Why in the world would you think you could sway someone away from their own business? ARE YOU ON DRUGS?!

I feel like recruiters like that are only working on fill seats so they can collect their commission. When they fail to listen to you they come off like they absolutely don’t care about you. I’m not looking for fluffing (let’s be honest, it helps ;), but if you’re not listening to what I have to say to you I have to question your ability to put me into a position that will be a good fit for me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think recruiters like that are probably really terrible at their job and I wonder how long it will be before they go back to selling used cars.

It’s not about filling seats, it’s about pairing up quality candidates with positions that are going to well-suited for them. I feel like a lot of these recruiters don’t have the foresight to think about the long term for their candidates, just the short term gain. This seat that you’re anxiously trying to fill could very well be the job the person holds for the next 20 years or it could be a job that springboards the person to that next level in their career, and you did that.

To the rabid recruiters out there, take a few minutes off from being a sales guy and just listen to the person you’re attempting to recruit. You don’t need to take the “no” as a failure, but as an opportunity to make a new contact that could be an asset in the future.

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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