Recruitment Process – Know It and Cut the Bullshit

It seems both candidates and recruiters don’t actually know the process of recruiting.  It’s time we admit that, and that this misunderstanding usually results from dishonesty.  Here’s why…

Articles on recruiting are usually written by ‘thought leaders,’ self proclaimed gurus who realized a while ago that with the advent of the internet, you could simply declare yourself an expert, say some plausible stuff, and people will flock to you for guidance, pay you consulting fees, and engage in war to the bloody death to defend your position as if it were their own mother.  I’m not exactly sure why this happens, but it does, and in many fields.  Diet advice is another area where self proclaimed gurus prosper and proliferate.  In some cases recruiting articles are written by real world recruiters, but these articles are rarely honest; they’re sales pitches.  They’re aimed at proving how superior the author is to his peers, and potentially selling services.  So, the unfortunately result is you often can’t trust what you read in these articles.

Candidates often don’t understand the process because they get their information from such articles, but also because they don’t want to understand.  Understanding it would require not following up every ten minutes for a decision from the client you just interviewed with the day before.  It would also require candidates face the fact that they are one face among many, and that until we as recruiters gauge interest we’re not going to know everything about you.

Here’s the reality…

Clients usually use recruiting agencies when they’ve already tried to fill the position on their own.  Even though they’re desperate, they usually take their sweet ass time with feedback on resumes.  I don’t know the specifics because they’re different in every company, however as a broad rule there is no cost to them for delaying, and generally they think people will always be available.  Now yes, a vacancy costs money, and yes, good candidates get hired, so both beliefs are wrong.  Doesn’t matter, it’s what they think and they act accordingly.  So, unfortunately, the recruiting process is always typically full of massive, unexplained delays.  This isn’t how it should be, this is how it is.

Now, when a recruiter writes an article they usually talk about building a ‘shortlist’ and calling those people.  The reality is the shortlist is built from a very, very long fucking list.  So, your first contact with a recruiter is usually based on a keyword search.  It’s likely way off target a lot of the time.  This is the way it is, get used to it or get your resume off line.  The recruiter doesn’t know who you are, your experience level, your loves, your hates, you favorite color, etc., all they know is that terms X, Y, and Z show up in your resume.  Now this is impersonal, but getting mad at it is ridiculous.  Here’s why…

Out of every candidate you contact, you’re lucky if one in ten wants or would consider a new position, and then out of that group, you’re lucky if half are interested and qualified for the position you have to fill.  The point being if we had to take forever to get to know every candidate we ever contacted in depth before even putting out a feeler, it would be too much damn work.  Now, recruiting articles will make you believe that a recruiter knows everything about you before he calls.  That’s bullshit.  It’s just not how it’s done except in the rarest of cases in the highest level head hunts.  Most positions don’t warrant that.

You see, most recruiting articles are written from the perspective of getting so called purple squirrels, which is basically the perfect candidate, the perfect job, the perfect time, the perfect place.  This is roughly .00000000001% of the placements recruiters work on.  The rest are your usual mid level positions, like you’re probably working in now.  So, here’s how the process really happens…

We get an order.  We speak to the client to get a better idea of what it’s about, company culture, etc.  I do a Glassdoor search on them to confirm or refute what they tell me, because usually the order is prompted or taken by a salesman who doesn’t given a crap if it’s the worst company on the planet to work for.  I do this for my own knowledge, and I do try and let any candidates know if they’re walking into a hell hole.  Once that’s done, we usually reach out by mass email and other means, usually phone, LinkedIn, etc.  These are feelers, and while we want them to be on target some are guaranteed to be off target.  We then talk to the people who get back to us and from that group we build our short list.

Then we send them off to the client where they are usually ignored for weeks on end.  In this time period the candidates usually call us and ask what the delay is about.  We don’t have an answer, the client doesn’t give a shit is usually the reason.  Yeah, it sucks.

Now, when you respond to the initial feelers, if you truly are interested and want the recruiter to take you seriously, don’t call and say, “You emailed me…”  They didn’t email ‘you,’ they emailed you and 100-200 other people with similar profiles.  That way they get 10-20 people of interested, and maybe 4 or 5 people max who are both interested and good to send for the position.

Recruiters will not know your life story when they initially contact you, don’t expect them to.  They want you to think they will because they want you to feel special, and they want you to think they are special, and different.  Clients will take their sweet ass time responding because most companies don’t prioritize their recruiting/hiring process, and most don’t give much of a shit about their actual employees, much less potential ones who aren’t even on payroll yet.

The contact process is one of general impersonal moving to specific and in depth interviews, and then endless waiting as people decide whether or not they want to stop spinning in place trying to catch their own ass long enough to make something happen.  That is the unfortunate reality.

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