How a recent show of benevolence was rewarded with a punch in the guts
Here’s a summary of a true story that happened to me this week
On Tuesday afternoon I was sent an email by a disgruntled jobseeker that, in light of recent job applications, was frustrated by the lack of response from the recruiters. He liked the Only Marketing Jobs job board, he said (flattery gets you everywhere with me!) but mentioned he hadn’t heard ‘a dickie-bird’ from the agencies in ages. What was he doing wrong, he inquired? Could I help?
Now, I’m no longer a recruiter and nor, for that matter, am I a commissioned career advisor but I decided I’d help this chap out. So putting aside other tasks I sat down and suggested possible solutions to his challenges: Did he have a cover letter to support his CV? Was his CV good enough? Did he follow-up applications with a phone call? Did he call the recruiter as he sent the application, to ensure the recruiter looked at his Inbox? Was he applying for the right roles or simply scatter-bombing with fingers-crossed? And more.
At 11.50pm I pushed the ‘send’ button and returned to my day job.
8 hours later I received an email from this chap, which said (and I’ll surmise):
- He didn’t use cover letters to support his application
- He couldn’t get in touch with agencies because they didn’t provide contact details
- His CV worked fine, thanks very much (could I appraise it, though?!)
- Thanks for the info, but I’m going to continue on as before…
Because of his dismissive attitude I decided not to waste my time helping with a CV appraisal; however, I did take a peek. It is dreadful. I doubt it’s been updated since 1995. Whilst there is no excuse for recruiters not to return phone calls or respond to emails, I can see why his CV would never be top of the pile. But he didn’t receive the benefit of my advice again because jobseekers need to treat recruiters (or the people they turn to for advice) with the same respect they want to receive back. It’s a back-scratchy type of thing.
The recent climate has seen an increase in admin duties for recruiters and, whatever you say about them, they are not clerics. If jobseekers want a free advice centre, there’s a myriad of resource online. Yes, recruiters should help tailor all applications to fit the role, provided the candidate is ostensibly right for it, of course! And they do.
So here I am sticking up for the agencies on this one (quite often it’s the other way round!) So, jobseekers:
- Don’t ever think that all recruiters are ‘apathetic’, ‘parasitical’, ‘inarticulate’ or ‘oiks’. You may find the latter two(!) in some of the less scrupulous agencies, but you’d NEVER find a lazy recruiter – they’d be hurried out of the door within days of joining the industry
- Using a recruitment agency is just one channel to find a job. Neither you nor the agency needs the pressure of having all eggs in one over-subscribed basket
- I’d like to pose this to the long-term jobseekers: how’s your LinkedIn profile looking right now? Some of you haven’t even got your picture up – hardly engaging. Who’s using Twitter to identify opportunities? Are you hanging-out with direct employers on Facebook? I could go on.
So what’s been learned?
Jobseekers: do the right things – the things you need to do in this new talent-attraction era – and your talent will be spotted. Do nothing but lament your lot, complaining about the lack of response and you’ll become more and more frustrated; and this will show in your interviews, and before those, the outlook you have of agencies and the manner in which you seek advice.
Recruiters: return calls and respond to emails, even just an acknowledgement. This is just common courtesy.
Someone call an ambulance.