Tag Archives: corporate recruiters

Quoted in Article for “HRM Asia”


On Build vs. Buy Hiring Practices…


Hey Recruiter, I thought you were on my side! Part III of III

madLast time we spoke about identifying the true hiring decision maker (HDM). We will go on the assumption that has happened.

We will also assume that you have been in front of the interview panel and your keen intuition says you did well in the your interviews and made a connection with at least the vast majority of the folks you met with, including the HDM. If you feel your intuition is not working, then go ahead and flat out ask, and observe the answers. Here’s how to start things off when you are given the opportunity to ask questions:

“I really felt this conversation was positive and my interest in this role is very high. If I may ask based on what you heard from me, do you feel I am a strong candidate for this job?” “And is there anything you didn’t hear from me that you would like to know?”

Observe how they react to these questions. What you want to hear is a definitive response from them that you are a good fit. It should come without any major hesitation or thinking about what they are going to say. If they do mention things they would have liked to hear, address them with honesty and see if they seemed satisfied with your answer.  You want to see them tell you this while looking you in the eye and not squirming in their seat or fidgeting with a pen. You want to also hear them give something slightly more than a “yes” response. Maybe a reason or two why they think you are a good fit.

When they finish up with you, see how they frame the future: “We are interviewing more folks and will let you know the next steps by___ ” (neutral) or “We will probably want to bring you back in to meet with Sr Management” (good) or only “really nice meeting you, thanks for coming in” (not so good). If they haven’t said it, ask the recruiter when approximately you should be hearing from them. Also ask if you will hear from them either way. Most will say yes.

When you get home that evening and are writing out thank you notes/emails to the interviewers, stop and have an honest conversation with yourself that you truly got the impression you are a strong candidate for this job. No wishful thinking or rationalizing “that although they didn’t say it, what they meant was…..”, etc. Be honest and don’t force the issue if in your heart of hearts you know it did not go well.

Either way, write out those thank yous and briefly recap the points why you feel you would be great for the job. Touch on things they mentioned as positive attributes as to underscore and validate their observations.

Here is a good insider tip to know if you truly did well with the team. Are you ready?? If you email the thank yous (perfectly acceptable) and they respond with anything more substantial than “yes, nice meeting you too, good luck”, that’s a good sign. Any language about “talking to you soon” or  looking forward to____” are good signs. It usually means they have switched in to selling mode to bring you aboard.

So fast forward to the time frame the recruiter said they would be getting back to you (either way). Add a couple days to make sure you aren’t being too pushy. If you have other opportunities and are interested in seeing this one through before acting on the others, certainly let that be known and call them. If they don’t get back to you in 24-48 hours, call ONE MORE TIME. If still there is no response after 24-48 hours and you feel this is not consistent with your performance with the hiring team and especially the HDM, contact the HDM. Be very tactful and non threatening in your tone:

“It has been quite a while since I interviewed there  and I still have not heard from (recruiter). I called on (date) and then followed up on (date) and have not gotten any response. I’m sure they are very busy. When you and I met, I felt our conversation was quite positive, and from your responses I believe that I was considered a strong contender for this position. If that is not the case, the position is not going to be filled, or you have identified another candidate that is more suited, I perfectly understand and do not wish to take up any more of your time. If you would get back to me with the status of my candidacy I would appreciate that greatly.

What you did there was contact them in a way that will hopefully cause them to act on this, one way or another. You were respectful in giving the recruiter the benefit of the doubt at the same time calling the HDM into action to find out why you have not been contacted. This still may cause some friction with the recruiter, but at the end of the day it is your career and livelihood on the line and you don’t want to miss a good opportunity due to an unresponsive and adversarial recruiter.

Why is this corporate recruiter “just not that into me”?

perplexedLast time we spoke about some reasons why corporate recruiters don’t always seems to be on your side. We discussed how these reasons could be mistakes made on both sides.

From some feedback I got (mostly from the recruiter world), there is sometimes a misconception of impropriety by the recruiter because candidates try to “shoe horn” themselves into being the right fit for a position even though it is painfully obvious to everyone within the company they are not. This is a very valid point. Candidate applies for a position. Does not hear from anyone and starts calling incessantly to sell themselves. Now, as much as we as job seekers would like to get a personal response for every job application, there is simply too much volume.  Companies are moving away from the cost of the depressing postcard (…thanks for applying…you don’t meet the qualifications…we’ll keep your resume on file…very impressive …blah blah blah), so get used to the reality that for the vast majority of jobs you apply for, you aren’t going to get ANY response.

What you need to know is that many times there has been work done on your behalf behind the scenes although you may never hear from anyone. As recruiters, we always like to give the benefit of the doubt to the candidate and if we cannot tell clearly that this person is not right, we usually kick it up to the hiring manager to give the final decision. If they come back with the thumbs down, we consider it done and you probably won’t hear anything from us and you will need to live with that decision.

Where it falls more to the recruiter not doing their job is when they have an actual discussion with you. There is usually one of two outcomes from that discussion:

  1. I’m sorry, for these X reasons I do not believe that you are qualified for this position. Thanks for your time. And you should thank them and hang up.
  2. I think you are a potential fit for this role and I am going to review your resume with the hiring manager and see if an interview (phone or F2F) is warranted. The recruiter may say they have a couple of concerns so it won’t be a shocker if you are ultimately rejected.

If it is outcome #2, the recruiter has the absolute responsibility to get back to you about what the decision is. They should give you a general timetable and you should cut them some slack if it pushes a couple days, they don’t always have control of feedback from the HM. If it is a no, a detailed email or phone call is appropriate. If they do this then don’t push the issue or keep calling. Accept the verdict and move on.

So the takeaway from this is for the recruiter not to judge a candidate for repeated contact if they haven’t properly closed the loop on their candidacy. The whole “if you don’t hear from me, assume it’s a no” is WRONG and impolite. It  also casts your company in a bad light for future hiring.

Oh well, this was not the intended theme but I think responding to the feedback was important. So next time we will speak about dealing with the recruiter who is not on your side when you have been deep in the interview process with a company.

Bill Meirs is the Managing Principal with the Church & Palfrey Group, a search firm specializing in Technology and Sales Searches. Bill has 11+ years experience in corporate and agency environments. He frequently consults companies and individuals in the areas of talent acquisition, recruitment process improvement, recruitment advertising and branding, resume writing, and salary negotiation.

Hey Recruiter, I thought you were on my side!

fightI think most people feel corporate recruiters are always an impartial bunch whose sole purpose is to fill open jobs as quickly as possible with the best qualified candidates. As a former corporate recruiter, this is the principle I lived by. In speaking to people in the job market I am hearing troubling stories of corporate recruiters who may not be living up to this. This is particularly disconcerting in this market when you are fighting enough battles to get a job, the last thing you want is to think a recruiter isn’t acting on your behalf. You want the recruiter to be your biggest internal advocate. Be assured that most of the time they are, but you need to create a strategy to deal with uncooperative corporate recruiters.

First, we need to understand why this sometimes occurs, because to most people it seems counter intuitive.

Unlike their counterparts (or some may refer to as their “evil twin” :-)), the agency recruiter who is very much commission based, the corporate recruiter is primarily paid salary with maybe some bonus tied to personal hiring goals and overall group/company performance. There are some places that in fact do pay bonuses per hire. This may be one instance where you may see some below board recruiter behavior. If you got referred for a job by an employee, many times the company won’t pay that “per-hire” bonus to the recruiter and the less than ethical recruiter will give preference in “advocating” for someone they sourced instead.

Another instance is a twisted form of job security. If they are an internal recruiter on the payroll or even a contractor and see there is only a finite amount of hiring the company will be doing, they will sometimes slow the recruiting down to avoid being fully staffed. What do you do with a recruiter when you have no job openings?

One other potential reason may not be because of a lack of ethics but more a soured relationship between the recruiter and candidate. Was there something you may have said or how you treated them to make them turn on you? Did you treat them like an obstacle to getting to the hiring manager and in for interviews or as a true partner? Did you marginalize their importance? Did you circumvent them in the process, contacting the hiring manager,  and make them look like they weren’t doing their job? Were you constantly calling or displaying stalker-like behavior? All these things can turn off a recruiter. And these are legitimate reasons for them to possibly lose interest in you because they speak to your character, ethics, business savvy. Think about if that may have happened.

So we spoke about symptoms, next post we’ll talk about remedies.

Bill Meirs is the Managing Principal with the Church & Palfrey Group, a search firm specializing in Technology and Sales Searches. Bill has 11+ years experience in corporate and agency environments. He frequently consults companies and individuals in the areas of talent acquisition, recruitment process improvement, recruitment advertising and branding, resume writing, and salary negotiation.