Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why A Recruiter Might Not See You

Last year I published a post about Why Recruiters Don’t Return Calls.  I think that not returning calls is always rude and unprofessional.  However, sometimes when someone sends me a résumé, it just doesn’t pay for me to see them, but I always respond to the email, letter or call.

Occasionally, when I say no, those people argue with me and badger me.  So I thought it worthwhile to write about the issue.  I touched on it previously when I wrote about why recruiters might reject a candidate.  I thought I would go a little farther this time.

There are some recruiters who just don’t meet their candidates.  It is forgivable only if they are located out of town; but there is always Skype, which to me, is almost like meeting someone. If a candidate lives and works nearby, meeting should be essential for both parties. The reverse sometimes happens; there are candidates who tell me they are just too busy to come in.  Some will insist that I go to them.  I don’t do that. I am a professional and my candidates must come to my office.  My practice, although national, is largely in New York.  I insist on meeting candidates who live in proximity to the city.  My clients expect it and, frankly, I need to meet them in order to help me properly do an assessment.  Candidates who don't want to meet the person who might be responsible for their future are shortsighted. 

Because I am well known, I receive lots of unsolicited résumés. I see most people, even if I am not sure that their background is right for my practice.  I have always believed that there is no such thing as a wasted interview, unless the interview is with someone I know I cannot place.

Companies pay recruiters to find people with specific backgrounds.  Because I handle marketing and advertising, I almost never see anyone who does not come from those disciplines.  Ad agencies rarely hire clients (a pet peeve of mine).  The only client-side people I see are those with backgrounds that might appeal to my clients – to be slightly facetious, I simply cannot see someone whose career is in waste management, no matter how much advertising they have done. At very junior levels those people may network themselves into an agency and even get hired, but they are not who my clients are paying me to find.

Most of my agency clients look for people out of the major agencies or those who have worked on well-known brands from smaller shops.  People who work on unknown brands at smaller, out of town agencies, have a hard time getting placed at major ad agencies. So when someone calls me from, say, New Jersey, Connecticut or Long Island who has only worked for local clients that I have never heard of, I rarely see them.  It just doesn’t pay for them to make the trip in. My clients are not looking for their background no matter how good they are - and by the way - some of those people are sensational.

Just last week I received an email from a candidate who had been recommended by someone I like who I "sourced" for a job.  I had to politely tell her that she did not have the right experience for the job I had called her friend about.  She then sent me the following:  “I appreciate your opinion but my successful track record makes me inclined to respectfully disagree.”  She lacked the kinds of brands my client was looking for.  The truth is that if I had simply been rude and not answered her email, I wouldn’t have gotten into a contest with her (I did not respond to her last email).  Not sure what she thought she would accomplish by challenging me.

Badgering a recruiter is hardly a good way to start a relationship.

In the late 90’s, lots of advertising people left the business to do real estate and finance..  Starting a few years ago when the bubble burst, I got lots of calls from these people wanting to come back.  I was always polite but saw few of them.  I cannot think of a single one of them who has been rehired by an agency – they were just out too long.  Ad agencies are looking for people committed to the ad business.

In fact, I keep very detailed records in my computer.  I cannot think of a single instance when a candidate I elected not to see ended up in a job I was trying to fill.

Every recruiter knows his or her practice.  When they don’t see someone it is almost always that they know they cannot place them.

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