Recently, a senior executive candidate told me about a recruiter who thought he/she was being helpful and, instead, was insulting. The candidate had had the misfortune of choosing the wrong company several times in a row and had three or four one year jobs; all her companies were well known with good reputations; the candidate had no idea before joining these companies that she was not a “fit”. The recruiter told her that she had ruined her career, which had otherwise been stellar. What good can come out of insulting a candidate? Did the recruiter think she was giving good advice or was the recruiter merely using her position to be a bully?
If a recruiter wants to give positive career advice, that is fine. But it has to be advice that can be followed and that is actionable. Telling someone that they have ruined their career is both untrue and unnecessary.
Over the years, I have had candidates tell me about being insulted, bullied and put down by recruiters. That certainly runs contrary to my philosophy. If, as a recruiter I don’t like someone, I am polite to thank them for their time. I tell them I will call when I have something appropriate for them. They go into my data base with appropriate comments. Occasionally, I am actually able to place them. The wonderful thing about LinkedIn is that it allows me to see how people develop and grow.
Sometimes people who start out poorly end up doing fabulously.
Years ago, I was flabbergasted when a candidate who had worked for only small companies, told me that a recruiter said to him, “Why should I help you? You have third world credentials.” The candidate was about 27 years old at the time. Today he is an EVP of a major ad agency. We are all not so lucky as to get jobs at the best places right out of college. There is no point to insulting someone.
Before I grew my beard fully, I had a fairly heavy beard. By the end of the day, I had “five o’clock shadow”. A recruiter told me that he would only represent me if I shaved twice a day. Give me a break!
I once hired a recruiter who at the time I offered her a job, worked for another recruiter who was infamous for insulting candidates. In an effort to get this candidate to turn me down and stay at her firm, the recruiter showed her colors by saying, “You’re too stupid to work for him” The candidate joined me and became a very successful recruiter. There is just no need to insult people.
When people are actively looking for a job they are vulnerable. Doing anything other than being a good listener, asking probing questions and being polite is to take advantage of the candidate’s weakness. Any recruiter who does that to you should be taken off your list.