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When a Recruiter Relationship Goes Sour

You may be tired of hearing that it's a buyer's market when it comes to jobs in the financial markets. And these days it's not only the employers who aren't responding to job applicants. Recruiters haven't been on their best behavior either.

In fact, candidates are complaining that when it comes to common courtesies, such as returning phone calls and following up with interviewees with advice on why they didn't get a particular job, many recruiters are simply dropping the ball.

You would think that would be counterintuitive, since recruiters don't get paid until they place a candidate.

Yet, Jim Lyons, president of LH International, a boutique recruiting firm in the sales and capital markets space, tells eFinancialCareers that too many recruiters "aren't closing the loop" with candidates. He adds however, that regrettably, companies "are being extraordinarily selective."

The main thing job candidates need to remember is that the company is paying the recruiter's fee, even though the candidate has a client-like relationship with the recruiter too.

So what should you expect from a recruiter?

So what should a recruiter be expected to do for you? They should certainly offer direction and advice regarding the open position, and they should also listen to your questions and concerns. It helps to talk with someone who comes highly recommended. Ask around and talk to trusted industry friends to find a search firm they used.

If you happen to have an adversarial or frustrating relationship with a recruiter, Lyons says that it might not have been a good fit from the start. "People need to understand the expertise of the recruiter they are dealing with." he says. You may need to find out the functional competency of the recruiter-the job titles they handle and the domain(s) they specialize in. For example, Lyons' firm has a functional specialty in sales across many industries, along with a broad domain expertise in capital markets.

If you're not a good fit, don't submit

Lyons cautions applicants that if a position isn't a good fit, it's a waste of everyone's time. A recruiter with a good client relationship will know the subtitles of the role that may not be apparent on a job description. At the end of the day, it's the recruiter's responsibility to give the client what they want-the best candidate out there. And, says Lyons, today, many clients insist that outside recruiters submit candidates with precise credentials often from named competitors or quasi-competitors. They want the absolute best value for the fee they are paying the recruiter.

But Lyons also has a suggestion for the few bad seeds in the recruiting industry-be more responsive to job applicants. "You never know when a candidate might fit a future job, or even if they could one day be in the position to help you when they end up as a hiring manager at a firm. I've had it happen; you never know where a person can land a few years later. One of our favorite clients today we never placed in a role, but years ago we tried, always kept him informed, always closed the loop, always transparent-he appreciated the process and the respect."

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AUTHORMyra Thomas Insider Comment
  • Ga
    Gary
    23 November 2011

    Recruiters need to be prepared to allow candidates to be as competitive as possible when interviewing for a position. A lack of job description, insight into a position i.e. is it a legitimate opportunity or a fishing expedition, understanding the hiring manager's expectations of a candidate etc., are the beginnings of a frustrating relationship and benefits neither party. Nowadays it's of particular importance to not only be able to match the skills required of a position, but also have an edge over numerous equally qualified candidates.

  • Pa
    Paul
    23 November 2011

    The single most frustrating thing in dealing with recruiters (for me, anyway), is seeing a perfect fit in a job description on the recruiter's website, contacting the recruiter about the opening, and then never hearing back.

    I can understand if it were not a good match (actually, I can't understand not even the courtesy of a "no, thank you"), but when the description fits my resume, I would at least like to have some sort of dialog about it.

  • Ja
    James K.
    22 November 2011

    "You never know when a candidate might fit a future job, or even if they could one day be in the position to help you when they end up as a hiring manager at a firm."

    Unfortunately, these days, behavior such as that described in the article is the rule rather than an exception. Recruiters treat candidates as a piece of "meat," dropping interest and any contact once an interview for a particular position is unsuccessful. This has been true for at least 4-5 years. For one truly professional courteous recruiter, there is a hundred rude, obnoxious "car salesmen." That doesn't give the industry a good reputation. I have personally told a number of these recruiters when they called me a few months after not returning my post-interview calls that I am neither interested in working with them nor helping them out by referrring potential candidates. The bottom line is - don't treat others the way you don't want others to treat you!

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