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"Why Can't Recruiters Show Some Common Courtesy?"

I've heard or seen this comment daily in employment conversations - both veteran and civilian, both online and in person. Every time I hear it, the person voicing the opinion is indignant and upset about a recruiter not calling them after 1) they submitted a resume, 2) they spoke to the recruiter during a phone screen, 3) they were interviewed by someone else in the company. And every time I hear it, it reminds me of a toddler whining because s/he didn't get something s/he wanted. Yes, I realize that is harsh. Yes, I know some of you will stop reading here. Yes, I'm ok with that. Because I'm not helping anyone if I candy coat the truth.  

So here are a few doses of tough truth for job seekers and then a few recommendations to stop the whining and start moving forward.

Truth #1: Recruiters do not work for you.

Recruiters have absolutely zero responsibility towards you. Yes, I know this seems harsh. But it's true. Do you pay their paycheck? Have you charged them with growing your workforce? Have you given them stringent criteria to meet in order to ensure your company culture remains exactly what you want it to be? No? Then stop acting like you did.

Recruiters work for the people who pay their salaries and that isn't you.

Each company has a specific image they want portrayed and manner they want their recruiting conducted in. If their recruiter isn't living up to that standard, it isn't your problem to solve. 

Truth #2: That recruiter who didn't call you? Never saw your resume and doesn't even know your name.

No, your resume didn't make it to their desk. They aren't snubbing you-they literally don't even know who you are. Their Applicant Tracking System weeded you out before they ever had a chance to see your name. It's not a personal affront. They simply don't know you're alive. Cut it out.

Truth #3. There are only 24 hours in each day and recruiters are powerless to change that.

Does this shock you? That recruiters are actually not super human? No? Then stop asking them to be.

Recruiters are slammed with applications; jobs to fill; incoming telephone calls and emails from applicants, new hires, hiring managers looking to fill roles, interview teams providing feedback and salespeople trying to get their attention.

They don't have time to chase people who aren't a fit for their company. It's unfortunate but it's true.

On the flip side, I guarantee that if you are the right candidate for the role they are hiring for, the recruiter will find you.

S/he will hunt you down and get you in front of whoever you need to be in front of in order to get the job. Why? Because they love you so much? No. It's more self-serving than that. Recruiters are evaluated on getting roles filled and filling them with the right people so that attrition levels are low. If you're a fit, you're going to hear from them. If you aren't hearing, that's a message. Stop hanging by the phone hoping they'll call.

With these truths in mind, how should you approach recruiters?

First? Stop the whining. Just stop it. Right now, vow to never again bitch about a recruiter to anyone else ever.

Because when you do, especially when you do it in public (ie. on LinkedIn), all the other recruiters who are searching for talent can see it and they can't help but have it affect their opinion of you. Unless you want to be considered a whiner with a victim mindset (hint: companies don't want to hire these), don't you DARE put this stuff out on the internet.

Next, follow these recommendations to shift your mindset:

Recommendation #1 - Change your outlook towards recruiters and recognize them as the allies they can be.

When I was recruiting for my last firm, every candidate who reached out to me was asking, in essence, when I was going to be hiring them or telling them they weren't getting a job. However, the way they did it differed. Some asked when they would hear from me and what they could do to be better candidates. Answering those emails to their satisfaction would have just been one additional task in my day (and remember, their professional development was not what my employer was paying me for). However, some were my allies. They acknowledged I was busy, they asked if I could give them an idea when they would next hear from me, and asked when they should follow up with me again, thus taking the responsibility of maintaining the relationship off my plate. That made it feel like they were actually making my job easier, meanwhile they were getting the answers they wanted. 

  Form a partnership with recruiters rather than expecting them to work for you, work with them - make their lives easier and they'll have a better opinion of you.

Recommendation #2 - Outsmart the Applicant Tracking System and save the recruiter the work of needing to find you.

Network. Next time you see a position posted that you are interested in, start building relationships with individuals at the company who can help you understand the role, understand the company and understand how to get an interview. These people are most likely not the recruiter. They are other employees at the firm who can provide internal referrals after learning what a valuable employee you can be. 

Recommendation #3 - Become irresistible to companies and recruiters so they want to speak with you.

There are many ways to do this including adding skillsets that are desired for the roles to which you are applying. More than that, you should start writing. Write a blog, share articles on LinkedIn that ignite important conversations, comment on others' posts with comments that show you truly understand the subject matter and can ask the right questions on the topic.

In summary, begin to add value to the space you want to be in and the existing conversations in that space so that a recruiter can easily picture you adding that same value for his/her organization.

Finally, for my veterans, I'm most surprised when I see you complaining and playing the victim.

I may not have gone through boot camp/basic training myself, but I did go through the FBI Academy, which my classmates said was easier than any military training.

At no time during the Academy did we learn to have a victim mindset, I'm confident that at no time during your military training did someone teach you to be a victim.

It wouldn't have served you in combat and it won't serve you now. So why in the world are you living like this? Stop whining. Stop being a victim. Stop blaming other people for not calling you. Engage the same mindset that helped you through training and subsequent combat and decide there are no obstacles you can't overcome and no circumstances that can defeat you. Stop waiting for a recruiter to call you and create forward movement for yourself by building relationships everywhere you can.

Bottom Line: Your job search is your responsibility, noone else's. Take ownership and if you aren't getting the responses you want, try a new tactic, one that does not involve whining or blaming others. That's the least likely method to get you hired. Promise.


* To learn more about adding value through writing a blog and interacting through social media, read Jim Keenan's book, Not Taught and then immediately after that, read Steven Pressfield's book, Do the Work. 

* To learn more about how to network more effectively using LinkedIn, email me at jean@yournextmos.com