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Recruiter Skirmishes

Independent headhunters and investment bank HR staffers say they can't find good candidates fast enough. So, you'd think recruiters would be pointedly charming in their efforts to woo financial professionals. An episode from across the pond suggests this isn't always the case.

An e-mail exchange between a Tim Seymour of UK recruiter Seymour Chase and James Kennedy of the recruitment firm Robert Half reveals the less attractive side of the recruitment industry.

Seymour, a recruiter of recruiters, attempted to solicit Kennedy for a role with a "niche recruitment firm." But rather than cajoling his target by telephone, Seymour's first approach took the form of a mass e-mail - which was visibly sent to around 40 other candidates.

And when Kennedy objected to Seymour's technique? Instead of apologizing, Seymour e-mailed back to say, "Couldn't care less mate," followed by an expletive.

Rudeness isn't the only foible of some recruitment firms. Others include dispatching CVs without their owners' permission, never responding to job applications (a regular complaint from candidates), and advertising jobs that don't actually exist.

How common are these faults? You tell us. Kennedy maintains they're not common at all: "I get called by recruiters a lot and this is the first time I've encountered this kind of thing," he says.

Because recruiting isn't regulated, unprofessional conduct is punishable only by market forces - the hope being that candidates and clients will avoid nefarious firms. As for Seymour, he couldn't be reached for comment.

Have you ever had a bad experience with a recruitment firm? Add your comment and let us know.

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • Ca
    Camilla Jones
    20 December 2007

    Recruiters are ridiculous - there should be some sort of law enforcement agency to arrest some of these recruiters! Absolute nonsense. Sending me jobs that I am overqualified for and forcing it down my throat. Thank god I went to school and qualified in my feild. My mother would never respect me if I told her I was a recruiter! When are businesses gonna realise that you dont need a bloody recruiter to find ideal candidates for their job vacancy, I have scored jobs (and so have many others)from newspapers, gumtree etc from companies that put their job post directly without having to deal with recruitement agency's.

  • Ru
    24 May 2007

    I so agree with the previous person who mentions the lack of professional courtesy that so many recruiters lack. I agree with his point that what goes around comes around- if they treat candidates with dis-respect, those candidates will not utlize them once they rise to a hiring position. It all boils down to the Golden Rule, doesn't it? With recruiters playing games; mis-representing themselves as retained search firms (when they are Not); and with a definite preference to place only those people in positions that exactly match their prior work experience. Never so much as thinking outside the box...

  • cu
    currently looking
    16 May 2007

    I currently am working with 5-6 recruiters - several of which use bogus ads to attract candidates. I don't know when 'former recruiter' was in the recruiting business but I do know that I have seen ads placed by companies and within hours have received calls from the recruiters saying they just got a new job in and then saw those firms posting the same job just saying 'their client.' Only 3 of these firms have called me about positions that were NOT already listed online. The attitude that the client is the employer so to hell with candidates is short-sighted. Extending professional courtesy is simple, not time consuming and builds relationships which potentially will grow your business. I don't use recruiters when I'm the employer-client who were unprofessional when I was the candidate and that included a courtesy phone call when I didn't get jobs.

  • Fo
    Former recruiter
    16 May 2007

    These comments are hilarious. I used to be a recruiter so let me explain some things to all of you.
    First off, you are not the "client" of a recruiter. Quite the opposite--they are your potential employer. The client is the end company you would work for, and the recruiter works for THEM to find them a GOOD candidate, not YOU. If they don't contact you again its because your skill set does not match the open positions the sales people at the staffing firm have opened. They bill their clients when someone is placed so it makes no sense for them to not contact you if you are truly marketable.
    As for phony ads--that is even more absurd. It costs tons of money to place these ads so why the hell would recruiters pay to place an ad if there is no job!? The reason why you see so many ads that stay on for a long time is because the hiring manager is either too picky, or something happened (like funding got cut/the manager halted interviewing for a while).
    As for the postings being limited then the recruiter telling you more about the job that is because they try to refine the job description (because the hiring manager's are often unrealistic).

  • Br
    4 March 2007

    Phony Ads are all over the place.. You find the same ones on this site, bloomberg, monster etc,.. the only way to stop it is for sites like these to charge per add instead of flat rates to post as many as you want. The only goal of these firms posting fake adds is to build databases of perspective employees so that when they do get a job they have databases of proposective people to fill them. After a while you get realgood at spotting these. The best recruiters are ones you never heard of and that you find out about through friends and senior industry people.

    And recruiters are notorious for not giving feedback or getting back to you if the one interview they get for you doesn't work out. They also tend to get back to you right way when they have a position (which you are usually too overqualified for) that they are trying to fill. If you say not interested, they just dump you.

    buyer beware

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