The Best and Worst of Recruiters (My Unemployment Story Part 3)

One of the main reasons job seeking when unemployed is so difficult is because it is hard to maintain a positive attitude. Every time a recruiter calls you have to respond in a cheery voice and describe all of the great attributes you have without any self doubt. Many times, the person on the other end, the recruiter, can influence your attitude by testing your patience, forcing you through tough Q&A, or not sharing your enthusiasm. I bet it would be hard to be a recruiter and be verbally excited every day, but that is part of that job; you ARE the first impression a job seeker has of your company. I’ve had some good, interesting, and bad experiences and I think they are worth sharing.

  1. No response
    • After an initial phone screen, sometimes you hear nothing. Seriously, it is the worst. When the same job posting is on a website for 5 months and you thought you were in the running, how often can you repeatedly follow up with a recruiter with no response before it is rude? Once, I got contacted 4 times by 4 different people at a single company about a single position and not one of them followed up a second time. Do I want to work in that disorganization? No. Another time I flat out called asking about the status of the position and finally got the “we decided to pursue other candidates” answer, but the closure was totally worth it. The “we decided to go in another direction” answer is a tough one because you rarely know why but it is better than nothing. Don’t leave us hanging!!
  2. Conversationalist, or not
    • There are many types of recruiters. First are the “formal questions only” type. It is dry and you will get dry responses. I hate doing all of the talking because I want to learn about you as much as you want to learn about me! Two, the tactic of assessing what questions I ask is effective… as long as you have the answers. Third, talking with a recruiter that shows genuine excitement about finding a good fit will turn the interview into a friendly conversation. Thank you! My time and your time is valuable and we both want the same thing so why not talk about things we care about.
  3. Dangling carrot
    • What’s hard is the “we should be opening up a position soon”. Because my unemployment was around the holidays, I got postponed interviews and interesting stories that just dragged out for months. It is frustrating when I could start tomorrow. I know recruiters are trying to be encouraging but unless you get another contact to talk to, you need to move on. Circle back around in another month if you are still unemployed but don’t let them control you with an endless waiting game!

In short, recruiters that are honest is refreshing during the interview process. They can read your reaction to a question and understand your thought process when explaining a scenario. These recruiters return your calls within a week (Hitachi Consulting), send company fact sheets before your next interview (DaVita), and tell you whether you will like the hiring manager or not (Charter). (Yes, I just name dropped). Even though they didn’t hire me, these HR departments turned a headache into an enjoyable experience. (P.S. They should get a raise.) Keep reading for more advice about job hunting in Part 4!

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