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5 Ways Recruiters Have Pissed Me Off

Don't mess with Jenn

Don't mess with JennA lot of the time, I really do love recruiters. Heck, I’ve even blogged about it right here. Sometimes, though, recruiters really piss me off. Is anyone with me? Do you love to hate recruiters? Do you view them as a necessary evil? Maybe you’ll relate to some of these tales, then…

The Recruiter Who Was Sexist

One recruiter who I’ll call Bob managed to piss me off me with his very first sentence.

My encounter with Bob happened when I was running an IT department. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have an admin, so I answered my own phone. I answered it one day, saying, “Hello, this is Jenn.”

“Jenn, sweetie, this is Bob from <recruiting company redacted>. Can you transfer me to your boss?”

“Bob, sweetie, I AM the boss.”

Let’s just say that the conversation didn’t go up from there.

The Recruiter Who Yelled at Me

I’ve worked with some recruiters from both sides of the desk – both as a candidate and as a hiring manager. Some of them I still have relationships with (even though they’re in Boston and I’m in San Francisco), but others… well, shall we say that they might have wished they hadn’t encountered me?

I was 25 years old and looking for a non-boring job. A recruitment agency found my resume, met with me, and then sent me straight to a company from our initial meeting. Despite this awkward start, I had a few good interviews with one firm, and we had hit the negotiating stage.

As I was discussing salary with my recruiter, she started actually yelling at me, saying, “You just got a raise! Why do you care if you make any more money than you do at your current company?”

Um… excuse me?

Fast-forward a few years to when I became head of IT. Guess whose calls I wouldn’t take? For years, I proactively warned my colleagues and firms away from her recruitment agency – and I was an officer in an international organization that had quite a long reach.

Perhaps she shouldn’t have yelled.

The Recruiter Who Didn’t Communicate

When you’re a recruiter working with a candidate who is looking at hiring manager roles, you’d think that you’d have your future with that candidate in mind, right?

Not so much, apparently.

This recruiter was very communicative at first. And then he wasn’t. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except he stopped communicating before he gave me the details on an in-person interview. I called and emailed many, many times with no luck.

In other words, he scheduled the interview and then stopped taking my calls. Clearly, I missed the interview and didn’t get the job.

The last time I heard from him as a candidate, he left me a voice mail yelling at me for missing the interview and making him look bad.

Then I heard from him as a hiring manager. Guess who didn’t return his phone call?

The Recruiter Who Phone Spammed Me

One recruiter left me a message literally every day for a month talking about various fantastic candidates she had for me.

This wouldn’t have been so bad, but I wasn’t hiring. In fact, my firm had just gone through some pretty painful layoffs. After the third or fourth message, I actually called her back and told her that we wouldn’t be hiring for a while.

The next day, guess what message was on my phone?

And guess what recruiter I didn’t call when I had a role open up?

The Rudest Recruiter Ever

This one takes place back at the beginning of my career running IT departments, when I hadn’t yet learned to never answer my phone. The conversation went a little something like this:

“Hello, this is Jenn.”

“Hi Jenn, this is Bob from <recruitment firm>. I hear you guys just opened up shop, and I have this great network admin candidate who would be perfect for you!”

(A little coldly) “Thanks, Bob, but we just hired and don’t have a need for a candidate right now.”

“You know, Jenn, the word on the street is that you’re difficult to work with and a real bitch.”

(Speechless for a moment) “What?”

“Yeah, you’re not going to get very far if your reputation keeps up like this.”

I actually hung up on him.

I hope you enjoyed those stories. Everyone at RecruitLoop has had our ups and downs with recruiters, which is why we’re so fanatical about making sure that our recruiters don’t suck. (When we say “curated marketplace”, we mean it, dammit!)

That said, I am curious – any recruiter horror stories of your own to share?

Jenn Steele

Head of Growth at RecruitLoop. Previously at Amazon & HubSpot. Passionate about growing humans and companies, working out, and wine. Also blogs on leadership at Follow her @jennsteele.

  • indythegeek

    My 3 favorite recruiter stories:
    1. I worked at a company where they liquidated their US engineering department in one day, laying off 35 people. This was long enough ago that engineers had wired phones on their desks. Recruiters found out this was happening and they were cold calling extensions within the company trying to get engineers just before they were let go.
    2. I once talked to a recruiter for a DevOps position who obviously knew nothing about technology and he recommended that I try to progress in positions by millions of users. “Oh, you worked with service that served a million users before? I’m reluctant to refer you to a position with 100 millions users. Lemme see if I can find a service with 10 million users”. Pointing out that not all user bases needed the same technical complexity or resources fell on dumb ears.
    3. I had a recruiter contact me over LinkedIn, which usually includes that irritating (but probably beneficial) thing where now the recruiter is part of your LinkedIn social network. At one point he stopped responding to my emails and then a few days later I got a LinkedIn notification that he had a new job. Everything was now crystal clear. Shortly after he contacted me with different and new opportunities.

  • indythegeek

    Okay. Now I actually have a rant to add to the list. I just got my first clickbait recruiter email: “Systems Engineering And Craft Beer Do Go Together!” The email says nothing about beer. WHAT ABOUT CRAFT BEER DUDE, YOU FORGOT TO MENTION THE BEER

    • Jenn Long Steele

      Ooh. HATE bait-and-switch subject lines. Especially about beer. That’s just cruel.

  • Recruiters Map

    Hilarious! A must share… click. tweet!

  • indythegeek

    I dug up this post just so I could come back and complain. Recruiters, now that LinkedIn exists and since my personal email is at the top of my resume… Don’t sent job inquiries to my work email. It unprofessional, tacky, and if my employer was watching corp email, it could be detrimental to me regardless of my job path. I can’t even fathom why recruiters don’t get this. If you’re starting our relationship by being unprofessional and not behaving in way that protect me, why would I want to continue a relationship with you, trust you to speak honestly, or advocate on my behalf?

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