I didn’t write this one. I mean, I’m copying and pasting the content in here…but this comes in from…oh, let’s just say it’s “An IT recruiter in the Detroit market” and leave it at that. I desperately wanted to call it “The Recruiter Strikes Back 2: Electric Boogaloo”…but I’ll stick with the one that it had when it came in. Between this entry and The Recruiter Strikes Back…I think we’ve got some pretty good guidelines for you job seekers out there dealing with recruiters.
To answer the two obvious questions…
Yes, I know who it is that wrote it.
No, I’m not going to tell you who it is.
With that, I give you…
Don’t Be That Guy – The Bad Candidate
Yup, I said it right out loud – there are bad candidates out there.
I take my job very seriously. When I started this career way back in the early 90’s, my first boss taught me to respect the process and to respect my candidates. I learned that I was dealing with a person’s CAREER and if I screw up their reputation, I am screwing around with their ability to pay their mortgage and feed their family. It is important that candidates understand that this is a reciprocal relationship. When a candidate exhibits some of what I am calling bad behaviors in here, they are playing fast and loose with the recruiter’s job and career.
Now let’s be clear – being “Bad Candidate Guy” doesn’t have anything to do with a skill set or suitability for a position…I am referring to how a candidate behaves from when the interviewing starts to the job acceptance. The job seeking process is very stressful for the candidate. Most recruiters understand this and know that while they may deal with these issues every day, a candidate doesn’t. That being said, there are some very common, avoidable things that really put a crimp in the process.
Here are some of the things I classify as bad candidate behavior:
The Surprise Guy
This guy waits until he has a job offer in hand and THEN discloses the 15% bonus he gets every year. Or the fact that he gets 47 paid holidays and 8 weeks of vacation. If you have been at one company for several years, you will most likely have several weeks of vacation. Know that you will probably NOT get that same level at your new job. And if you have 15 or so paid holidays, make sure that your recruiter knows it. Again, you probably won’t get the same amount, but you and your recruiter can work out a salary/hourly rate that will make up for it. When you are dealing with a recruiter, it is a good idea to let them know what your total compensation is, and what you are looking for before they submit you.
How do recruiters decide what billing rate to send to their clients? Good question.
For contract positions, recruiters are almost always required to send a billing rate to their client at the same time they send your resume. And if you are dealing with some big vendor managed account, it is probably a set percentage markup. That markup is determined by the client, not the staffing company. It is highly unprofessional for a recruiter to have to go to their client and increase the billing rate after the client wants to hire you. It smells like a bait-and-switch and it makes everyone look bad. It makes your recruiter look worse. Simply be very clear about your expectations up front and don’t change them unless there is a very valid reason for doing so. Like the job will require 50% travel that you weren’t aware of. Surprises are bad both ways.
For direct positions, trust me, recruiters want you to make HUGE money. Their commission increases along with your wage; there is no incentive for them to low-ball you.
The Hider is the candidate that somewhere in the process from interview(s) to job offer simply falls off the map. They don’t return phone calls, emails or text messages. In this day and age, when everyone – especially in the IT industry – is completely over-connected, there is really no valid reason for this. Once the interviewing starts, be sure to tell your recruiter if you are going on a couples retreat for 5 days and that cell phones aren’t allowed. If there is some sort of emergency, get a message of some kind out to your recruiter as soon as you can. Nothing makes you look like a bag full of future problems than the sudden, unexplained inability to reach you.
Let me explain some process/work flow of the typical recruiting organization: The recruiter that speaks with you on the phone (or meets you) takes your resume and other pertinent information to his boss, the Account Manager and “sells” you. They have to convince their boss why they should send YOU to their client over other candidates. Once they are convinced, the Account Manager sends your resume to their client. That may be an HR professional or the actual hiring manager. The Account Manager again “sells” your skill set. Once you start interviewing, YOU are selling yourself…but your behavior doesn’t just affect you. If things fall apart with no explanation, there are a lot of people who have put their reputations on the line that now look like clueless jerks about whom the client may suddenly feel the need to rethink working with.
The disappearing candidate is usually someone that is starting to freak out over the idea of changing jobs, or over something with the particular job they are considering.
Freaking out is fine and it happens to almost everyone (myself included). Just bring your recruiter into the loop with it. While you are dodging his calls, his boss and the client are beating the crap out of him wondering what happened to you. You are putting both the recruiter’s and your own credibility in question. When you get into the interview process, put the recruiters email into your cell phone. That way if some kind of emergency comes up, you can at least get a message to them so they aren’t in the dark.
Oh, and most importantly – IF YOU ARE NO LONGER INTERESTED IN THE POSITION, TELL THE RECRUITER!!!!!!! It’s okay. We get it. Sometimes it’s not a “fit”, and sometimes it’s not until after you’ve gone on the interview that you realize that it’s not a fit…but you trusted me enough with your career and livelihood to come to me in order to help you find a new job…so trust me enough to understand that this isn’t the job for you. We’ll work together and find the right fit for you.
The Interview Snob
He can only interview every 3rd Thursday of the month between 4:30 and 5:30 and if a client doesn’t recognize that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread and accommodate him, he doesn’t want to deal with them anyway. He cannot possibly take 10 minutes out of his day to speak to a recruiter on the phone either.
Folks, there are some objective realities in this process. If you are seriously seeking a new position and are working with a recruiter, there may be a time when you have to burn a half day of vacation to get to an interview. Most places are flexible and will work with your schedule, but don’t have the expectation that a potential employer will always be open to interviewing you after hours. In reality…you probably don’t want this either, to be honest – interviewing after-hours is kind of silly and pointless. Don’t you want to see the operations when people are actually operating in it? Don’t you want to get the “feel” and “vibe” of the place as it will actually be if you work there?
And don’t expect them to wait two weeks to interview you either. In many cases, a hiring manager will block off a day or two to conduct interviews for a position, and that’s all that anyone has to work with. If you have certain limitations about interviewing, be up front with them from the beginning. If the recruiter and hiring manager know up front that there will be issues, they are almost always more than willing to work with you to figure out a way to make it work.
The Over Caller
Recruiters recognize that in a lot of cases, a candidate is very eager to hear about any progress with a particular submission. Out of this eagerness, they will sometimes bombard their recruiters with phone calls and emails.
One thing to keep in mind is that a recruiter doesn’t get paid until you get placed. Trust me, the only person even CLOSE to as interested getting you placed as you are is your recruiter, and they will most definitely let you know if things are moving forward.
Now, that’s not to say that all recruiters are perfect either. If a recruiter never answers or returns phone calls over the span of multiple days and you can’t even touch base via email, stop working with them. But remember that multiple phone calls every day and multiple emails kind of makes a candidate look a little nutty. Attempt to touch base once per day at most…and if you have to, move on.
Again, any decent recruiter understands why these things come up. We realize that candidates don’t do this every day like we do, and part of our job is to help you through the process. If you do not trust your recruiter, stop dealing with them and find someone you DO trust. If your recruiter isn’t living up to your expectations, let them know. If you are working with one of those recruiters who won’t return your phone calls or emails, send them a polite note telling them that you are going to work with someone else. If after an interview you are no longer interested in the position, tell your recruiter. That way they can withdraw you from consideration.
If you see yourself in anywhere in here, I hope that you take this posting in the spirit it is intended, which is to HELP people avoid problems.
Because you really don’t want to be That Guy.