Recruiters Not Responding? Here's Why

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A recent story showcasing recruiters' complaints about "crazy" candidates seems to have hit a nerve among many of our users. Several comments draw a link between overeager job-seekers - who recruiters may view as pests - and uncommunicative recruiters whom sincere and well-behaved job-seekers may label rude and unprofessional.

The question of whether recruiters should be more responsive to candidates who've been eliminated from a client's interview process (and those job-seekers a recruiter doesn't plan to refer for an interview at all) is one that both eFC users and our news staff have written about several times before. In fact, it was a story and contentious comment thread on just this topic that drew me to participate in an eFC News discussion for the first time, some months before becoming an employee in 2007.

Revisiting the issue today, my first thought is: Does it matter?

For a job-seeker, expending emotional energy over being ignored by a recruiter was always an iffy proposition. After all, how is venting going to get you closer to landing a job?

Fewer Retained Searches

But at least, in better times there was the hope that if a recruiter perchance did return your phone call or e-mail, you'd be on the road to salvation. Retained search firms usually have an exclusive right to present candidates to their client employer, and typically refer only a small number of candidates for any given opening. So if the retained recruiter liked you, you'd have a solid shot at getting hired.

That's much less so today, for the simple reason that retained searches are far less common than two years, even one year, ago (as several recruiter friends have told me). Employers seem to be moving away from them, to save on fees. That's forcing recruiters who previously worked on retainer only, to work increasingly on contingency, where they're due a fee only if the employer ends up hiring a candidate they've referred.

Minimal Benefit

The moat you must cross to progress from a recruiter (now likely working on contingency) to the direct employer is wider than ever, because fewer recruiters have any real "in." In many cases they're just looking for something, anything, to throw at the employer's wall so they can hope it sticks.

So, if chasing recruiters is less useful than before, then it follows that agonizing over recruiters' lack of courtesy is also less productive. You'd be agonizing over bad treatment at the hands of someone who probably wouldn't be a great conduit to the job, even if they treated you like royalty. So, here's my advice: stop agonizing about unimportant slights, and get your eyes back on the ball.

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