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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 leadinggeeks.net. Follow her @jennsteele.

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