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Lets tackle Recruiters and HR in a recession. January 4, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in 1.
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I am not here to condemn Caesar I am here to bury Caesar!

I am neither a recruiter nor an HR person to make this perfectly clear.

I have been in the position to hire people while an engineer and a manager.


Recruiters work for the company

There are good recruiters and there are bad recruiters

Recruiters have their own reputation to protect(if they are good)

Recruiters are working on numerous opening at once AKA they are busy (I do not use this as an excuse for what I have to say later)

Good recruiters do not cover every market or position out there they have their niche market

HR personnel come in all kinds of functions, generalist,  payroll etc

HR has the tasks of screening resumes for the hiring manager base don company criteria and hiring manager needs

HR departments have been downsized because they are seen as pure overhead and if you are cutting employee counts to bare minimum why do you need a full HR staff

Scanning software is used and HR does not even see most of the resumes filed they see what passes the criteria and weighting factors. So yes your resume has gone into a black hole or as I like to call it the Great Bit Bucket.

All that said lets get down to the nitty gritty here!


Dealing with a recruiter is a business venture! Like most business ventures they do not work for you either but you must enter into a business relationship in order to get the job done. Is this not true?

Do you not also have to do research to see if the vendor/supplier has the right credentials and criteria to help your business grow? Would this not be the same for the recruiter?  If your business is in the high end audio market would you look to a vendor who made seat covers for automobiles to be your partner? Of course not! The same is true of recruiters. Good recruiters ( notice I keep saying good when I want to emphasize) have a niche market they deal with. I know a great recruiter in the financial field we are friends but I would not ask him to find me a job because he would be ineffective in my search. Therefore I need to find technical recruiters who also deals with mid to high level management positions.  I can tell you there are not many good ones out there.

If you know of any please let me know.

Sorry I digressed.

So what am I getting at telling you this? A good recruiter will ask for a face to face meeting. If they do not then you may want to think about asking many more questions or walking away. A good recruiter will want to learn about your personality, your character, your experiences and your skills.  After all if he can find a fit for you that meets his clients needs he will need this information to represent  you.  A good recruiter will call you and discuss the position before submitting you. If you  do t want to work for Company X then why waste their time with submitting you. If you are interested in Company Y let the recruiter know. Company Y may be one of their clients and they can get you in the door faster and probably better represent you than you can.

A good recruiter can be a powerful ally even though they do not work for you. If you are the best fit they will get you in there. Once your are in do not ruin the recruiters reputation you may need them again in the future. This may not be a one shot deal so you want to maintain a good relationship with them.

Recruiters are bust trying to fill a number of positions at the same time. Here is where I condemn recruiters (sorry but I have to) yes it is true that you do not work for us. But professional courtesy and a little compassion helps your image and character and makes us seekers more willing to provide you with other well qualified candidates to help you out.

A quick phone call or email reply does not take that long but the rewards, while intangible, will be paramount in the end. After all it is your reputation that you are harming. The same is true for HR personnel.

Human Resource:

If that does not give a negative  image to them I do not know what would. Human meaning us resource meaning use and dispose of. Isn’t the term human resource an oxymoron?  It gives us the idea that there is no compassion for us the workers, after all we are just another resource like parts, and the energy to run the machines. It gives the appearance that these are cold blooded creature incapable of feelings. I know this isn’t true they have a hard job. However, it does not excuse them from a little common courtesy either. The represent their company’s reputation. IF I am trying to deal with HR and I do not get a simple answer or quick return on my status check then I start to wonder what kind of company is this and do I really want to work for a company that cold to its employees. I have stopped trying to get into some companies just because of their HR department. It is the company’s loss as I may have been the best viable candidate for the position.

NOW for us the job seekers!

Shame on us as well!

If we are truly as professional as we claim to be and we are as business savvy as we have stated on our resume.Then in a recession we know that companies reduce HR to bare bones, we know that companies cut recruiters to save money. We look for these people to have courtesy and compassion for us because we need a job. Well we need to have understanding, courtesy and compassion for them as well.

I just stated the facts for both groups. So  now there is no excuse for either side to continue this war. The understanding has been brought to light and neither side is a winner unless both sides change.  We are all professionals and we all need to remember that and conduct ourselves in that manner.

Now job seekers and recruiters:

If you have read and comprehended what I said earlier here is what your responsibility is in this; You need to approach a recruiter as a business partner not a smuck. You need to interview the recruiter as much as the recruiter needs to interview you. You need to find out how long they have been a recruiter, what their success rate is in placing people, how they work, who some of their clients are, if they have references they can give you.  You need to build a relationship and trust with a recruiter. You do not and I repeat do not just hand over your resume to a recruiter and then wait for results. Your resume is a marketing material that represents you and your reputation. Would you hand it over to snake oil salesman to represent you for a major position in a company? I would highly think not! Then why do job seekers constantly do this??  Is from ignorance of the industry? Yes recruiting is an industry!

Find the good recruiters in your industry or niche and only use them.

The last word is this; both the recruiter and the seeker have reputations they need to protect at all cost. Therefore an understanding of this is paramount in the business dealing between the two. Both sides must maintain due diligence in the protection of their reputation. This will make for a stronger relationship in the end.

HR and the job seeker;

Knowing that HR has been cut to the bare bones (sometimes there is only 1 left), we need to understand a few things.

HR does not have all day to talk to us.  We need to formulate pertinent questions that require easy short answers. We need to say please and thank you and your welcome ( that goes for the other side as well). We need not ask questions that we already know the answer to.  This will help both sides.

A simple statement like “I am very interested in your company but I have some other prospect that are coming to light would you please provide a status update for me?

Be prepared for a short conversation like;

well how far have the other offers progressed?

why is my company that interesting to you? or what can you  do for my company?

You as a seeker being well prepared puts you in a better light and shows how professional you are. It shows that you understand how busy they are and are not looking to waste anyones times yours or theirs.

So my dream for 2010 is that these groups can come together in harmony, collaboration, understanding and respect for one another.


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