Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Blame It On The Recruiter

As most of you know, recruiters are asked to guarantee candidates they place.  If a person does not perform well, we are asked to either replace them or return the fee paid – even if the poor performance is due to bad management or bad clients or not telling the candidate the truth during the hiring process. So be it.

Good recruiters attempt to place the right people in the right companies.  If it doesn't work out, it is often because either the company did not do its homework on the candidate (after all, it is the company's hire) or the candidate did not do his or her homework on the company.

The irony is that the hiring company rarely does its job properly, either in terms of writing job specs, interviewing or reference and/or background checks.  To put it a different way, companies conduct multiple interviews, but the people involved rarely commiserate compare with each other.  And most reference checks (which in many states are actually illegal) are rarely thorough.  It is the company's responsibility to truly vet the candidate during its multiple interviews (my record for a candidate is 19!).

Every recruiter tries to do his or her best knowing that if they send three or four candidates who are rejected by the company, they will not be used again by that company.  Even if those candidates are sent based on spurious specs. It is easy to blame it on the recruiter.
But it also works in the reverse.  Candidates blame a recruiter for placing them in a job they don’t like.  The reasons don’t matter.  The truth is that most candidates are so anxious to get an offer that they neglect to ask tough questions   The failure to ask tough questions is generally because the candidate is afraid to put the company on the spot, despite the necessity of doing so.  Any company or manager who balks at being asked a difficult question is not someone I would want to work for. (I even recently received a private email telling me that the person was afraid to ask difficult questions for fear of being rejected).
Every recruiter has learned, generally after the fact, about difficult managers, poor business practices, unfair clients or otherwise bad behavior.  If a recruiter knows of these problems in advance, the candidate can and should be warned and perceptions managed.  I learned years ago to tell candidates of difficult situations because what one person dislikes, another may love.  The choice is then the candidate’s.  In all my years of recruiting there have only been a handful of companies I would not recruit for because of ethical or other problems.

I have also had candidates blame me for things which have nothing to do with recruiting or the hiring process.  I wrote in January of 2018 about the bad seed who blamed me for something I didn’t do. I have had candidates who became angry at me for not sending them out on jobs, even though I knew they were not right for the position or did not match the job specs.  I once had a candidate who was a New Yorker with a heavy regional accent get angry at me for not sending him on a job where the specs were very specific in only sending a mid-westerner since the client was specific about not wanting a New Yorker. Otherwise this executive's credentials, at least on paper, were excellent for the job.  The candidate had heard about the job from an associate (who did not know the specs) and told all his friends that I was a terrible recruiter because he was obviously a perfect candidate for this job and I had not sent him.   He somehow got the interview and, of course, didn’t get the job.  I had another candidate who got a tentative offer dependent on a background criminal check; he signed the approval papers.  When his background showed that he had been charged with spousal abuse – twice with different wives – he blamed me for being rejected.  (However, he might have gotten the job if he had managed the process, both with me and with the company, prior to the results of his background check.)

It is easy to blame a third party for one's own mistakes.  All recruiters should be used to these kinds of things.  They just come with the job.

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