Don’t Be That Guy – The Bad Recruiter

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Originally posted 2014-06-30 08:52:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“Every man should have the last word when arguing with his wife.  In fact, he should have the last two words.  And they should always be ‘Yes, dear’ or ‘I’m sorry’, trust me on this one.” – Advice from my grandfather

“It’s only a mistake if you do the same thing twice.  You get to call the first one a learning experience.” – Andrew M., a partner at a firm I once worked at

Those are probably the two best pieces of advice I’ve gotten in my life.

You may consider this not only a Don’t Be That Guy entry, but also something of an open letter to a friend.  A friend who has just entered the wild and wonderful world of IT recruiting.  A friend who sent me the rather open-ended question of:

“I start Monday as a IT recruiter.  What advice can you give me?”

The hardest part was figuring out where to even start…

About that trig mid-term…

I usually try to come up with some sort of working title, preferably a witty one, in order to keep myself on track and focused while I’m writing.  My first draft was called “Don’t Be That Guy: Guido The Killer Pimp”…but then I remembered that several recruiters got all bent out of shape and annoyed after I made an analogy between recruiters and strippers in DBTG: Creepy Guy…so throwing “pimp” into the mix on top of that…whatever.  They can’t all be instant hits.

Never say I don’t make concessions.

Back to the topic at hand though…what do you tell someone who’s looking to be a recruiter?  Having never been a recruiter, I can only offer my insights from the other side of the table.

Be Honest.  This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give.  If you’re stuck recruiting for a gig that’s with an obnoxious client who doesn’t want to pay what the job’s really worth…be up front about it.  Don’t wait until someone’s ready to sign on and then pull a bait & switch.  If it’s a 12 week gig with a hard cap at 12 weeks, don’t dangle “but it could go longer…” in front of someone.

Be Open.  You’re going to have to come out of your shell a little bit.  Quiet, shy and reserved might have been okay when you were in the direct corporate world and you could hide in your cube until someone showed up to talk with you…but those days are over.  You’re going to have to get out there and start making connections and getting face time with people.  I’ve heard from a number of recruiters that their ideal candidate is probably already working someplace else…and here’s the newsflash that goes along with that – in this market, nobody is looking to leave “stable” (or at least “comfortable“) for a cold call.

Be Yourself.  All in all, you’re a good person and you have a lot of strong points…but remember, and acknowledge, where you have your weaknesses.  You’re not a geek.  You’ve never been one.  You’ve never had aspirations of becoming one.  Don’t try to fake, bluff, b.s., or buzzword bingo your way past candidates.  If it works, they’re not the candidates you really want to hire…and when it doesn’t…and I assure you that it won’t…you’ll never hear from that person again.

Be Polite.  When you call someone, remember their name.  Before clicking “send” on any job posting to a potential candidate, double (if not triple) check to make sure that the gig and the person really are a fit.  Unless specifically asked to do so, never call anyone before 8:00 in the morning, or after 8:00 at night – before or after that time, if you really feel the need to “touch base” with that person…send an email.  If the person you’re wanting to talk with isn’t available for an extended conversation at that very moment, but says they’d like you to send more information and chat later…send the email.

Be Proactive.  Don’t vanish into the fog after you’ve made a connection.  Provide feedback, guidance and help on how to make things work.  If you haven’t heard from the client in a few days after an interview, reach out and tell that to the candidate that went on the interview for you.  Remember, this is your reputation, not the client’s, that’s on the line here.

Don’t Be A Stalker.  Don’t call someone out of the blue, and then when they fail to express an interest…continue calling them week after week (or…and I’ve seen it happen…day after day) “just to touch base”.  Don’t show up in someone’s inbox every fourteen seconds just because they keep matching your keyword searches.  There’s a line between “doing your job” and “winding up as DO NOT ANSWER! in a person’s phone contacts”…don’t cross it.

Sell Baby, Sell.  Whether you want to admit it or not, you’re in sales now.  Once you find what you think is a viable candidate, you have to sell that person internally within your company as being the right fit, as well as doing the same with the client.  And always listen to your natural instincts – if you truly can’t sell yourself on this being the one that the client will accept…then stop before everyone gets frustrated.  Don’t lose face with the client, don’t shred your reputation internally, and don’t blow your cred with the candidates.  It’s not worth it.  There’s a slot to fit every block out there…you just have to find the right match so that you don’t have to force it.

On a personal note – be mindful of the living Force, and don’t go to the Dark Side.

Now good luck, get more active in our LinkedIn group, start posting gigs, and let us help you find those blocks!

That’s all for this time…don’t forget to check out our other Don’t Be That Guy entries.

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