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What was you worst Recruiter/headhunter/executive search experience?

Alright, i know I'm opening myself and our industry up for a probably well deserved beating, but why are so many in our industry viewed so negatively? Most I know or hang out with are not "used car salepeople or "bodysnatchers" as I have heard people referred to. So I want to know why we suck, with the hope that any of us on this board listen to the criticism and stay away from these practices. So have at it, I have thick skin!

14 Replies

Shingai Samudzi
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Shingai Samudzi Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO at ProjectVision
Recruiters don't "suck." Most I think just lack the requisite tools for properly identifying the "right fit" for a team, so they rely on industry buzzwords and algorithms with faulty assumptions to screen candidates. Part of that, though, falls
Chia-Lin Simmons
1
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Chia-Lin Simmons Entrepreneur • Advisor
Ex-Googler; Co-Founder / CEO RedHelicopter; Founder LookyLoo
I think in general there are nice and not nice people in every industry. Recruiting is a numbers game. You want to place as many people as possible because that is how you make money. The bad recruiters that people talk about are unethical ones who tell you what they think you want to hear to place you as a candidate. Also for such a people business only a few really great recruiters give back to candidates in advice, connections etc unless they think they can get candidate placements from you as a hiring employer. A few really bad recruiters really make so many people disparaging about the industry. I find that there are a few I like and I tend to use them when I hire people because my experiences areally positive as a candidate. We should likely all share names of the good ones and extole their skills and services.
Vijay Goel, MD
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Vijay Goel, MD Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)
A lot of recruiters don't do their research or use common sense.

It's generally not a good idea for a recruiter to not have read/ have open the linkedin profile of someone contacted. In a few minutes they should map what they are sourcing to desired position/ location/ salary / title expectations. It's generally disrespectful to pitch as a great opportunity (vs. looking for referrals) a position that would have been a lateral move 5-10 years ago.

Personal pet peeve is to dismiss work done as an individual contributor vs same work done less hands on as head of a team, but that's probably specific to me.

Industry pet peeve is the creation of "flying landbeast" requirements that have internal contradictions. Such as looking for someone with 5-10 years of experience in a technology 3 or 4 years old. Or seeking someone wanting to punch up in a role smaller than the P&L they previously ran...etc, etc.
Michael Barnathan
1
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Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
There are good recruiters and there are bad recruiters, like any other profession. The ones who don't understand the industries they're recruiting for, who ask for 15 years of AngularJS with a straight face, who cold call or email and don't bother to follow up on replies, or who try to drum up business by emailing the founder out of the blue with candidates under the *assumption* that I can't hire people myself are annoying. But I've also seen some really great ones who generated quality referrals and acted as partners for both the company and the candidate.

It's basically a sales position at the end of the day, and perhaps that's the root of the problem. But really good salespeople don't come across as sleazy either - when a great salesperson works magic on you, you generally tend to like the experience. So with recruiters.
Rob Gropper
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
your job is not to simply bury us with resumes. Your job is to understand our business, our culture and our needs and deliver a limited number of the right, qualified candidates... with insight.
Randar Puust
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Randar Puust Entrepreneur
Director of Technology at Ninjacat

I've been blessed with a number of great recruiters. This applies to being the hiring manager and the one being recruited.

But I had one that stood out as being terrible. He hired me as a manger in a company and I was forced to use him for a number of months before convincing the company he was a bad choice. He was already on contract, so it took some work getting rid of him. His rate was insanely low (I think around 1k for a successful hire), but I eventually convinced the company he wasn't worth it even at that cost.

He just fired resumes to me with little to no screening, so I ended up doing all the filtering. Almost every candidate who walked in said something bad about the initial meeting with him. I remember when he introduced me to the opportunity, I asked him about the team, culture, etc. What he told me was so far from the reality I uncovered at the first interview. Things like "the average age of the company is quite old" while I found the team to be quite young when I walked in the door. The worst thing he did was re-send a candidate I had already rejected. All the guy did was slightly tweak his name "Phil" to "Philip" and he missed it. I noticed the CV the moment it came across and checked my records. Clearly he didn't have any kind of CRM or even Excel to keep track of candidates.

Just goes to show...often you get what you pay for.

Neil Licht - HereWeAre
1
0
Want To find-close Business Online without competition Before They Google Search? We solve this problem 1(508)-481-8567
A recruiter must know and understand the total in depth re the job they are trying to fill. That includes specific skills, the personality of the company, the customer types, the reason why the position is open and I mean the REAL reasons and what the real job actually is.

Then, make that great match, period. Never try to bend the person into going after a job that truly is not what they really want. Those who dont do that are essentially worthless for both their clients and the folks they try to put forth as candidates. Its not "throw a bunch of stuff on the wall and see what stick" and never should be.
Michael Potters
0
0
Michael Potters Advisor
CEO/Managing Partner michael.potters@glenmontgroup.com
Thank you Chia-Lin
David Still
1
0
David Still Advisor
Founder of Start-ups, Entrepreneur, Financier and Advisor

Letting the investor tell me (founder, ceo) which headhunter firm to engage - behind-the-scenes the investor total "owned aka influenced" the headhunter because, unknowingly, they used the same headhunter firm for every one of their investments.

Nicholas Meyler
0
3
Nicholas Meyler Entrepreneur
Recruiter/Broker for "Disruptive"​ Talent. Questing for the Next $Trillion Unicorn.
Hi, Michael Potters. Recruiters do not suck. People who misspell words in titles suck, but I don't really mean that literally. However, to further explicate, you wrote:

What was you worst Recruiter/headhunter/executive search experience?"


Not only is this implicitly disparaging of the great $100 Billion industry of recruiting, but it has a spelling mistake. Recruiters are great. Jesus Christ was a recruiter, and so were all the apostles. So, blame Him.

Anywho, I suggest you spell-check yourself a little more often. I think it's a great question to get the 'skinny' on what people hate about recruiters, but the negativity in this Neuro-linguistic programming is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People (meaning us recruiters) need to accentuate the positive, and I find it unprofessional (just in general) that people are so unctuous as to disparage their own work.

Why do dentists suck? Why do lawyers suck? Why do the L.A. "Lakers" suck? All these questions place a negative presumption ahead of actual facts (except for the comment about the Lakers). We need to be aware of how language manipulates us into false beliefs. A classic example is "Has your wife stopped beating you yet?"

I question the premises of the question, although I understand where it comes from.
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