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A Candidate’s Ignorant Rant

By October 13, 201117 Comments

We get a bad rap in recruitment.  Sometimes we invite criticism onto ourselves by failing to feedback, follow up or communicate with candidates.  The biggest mistake you can make as a recruiter is to tell a candidate you will do something, and then fail to do it.  A bit more organisation from many recruiters will go a long way to improving our reputation out there.

Or will it?

The reality is that there are so many emotions caught up in recruiting.  As recruiters we are viewed by our candidates as people managing their careers and future livelihood.  This is precious to them and tightly woven up with pride, ego and social status.  The facts are very different.  We are in fact recruiting for our clients and do not owe the candidate anything.  They aren’t paying us to represent them to our client and we are certainly not careers advisors.

But there are many recruiters out there who nevertheless want to push back on the commonly held perception of recruiters somehow being bad people.  There are recruiters who rightly deem it behoven on them to provide a good service to their candidates as well as clients.  This includes candidates who are unsuccessful in applying for a job.  Rather than just hitting the delete button, or at best sending an automated response, there are recruiters who offer genuine tips, suggestions or leads for unsuccessful candidates to help steer them in the right direction.

A recruiter from a large global agency in Auckland recently did just this.  The candidate, a Chartered Accountant, had applied to a job being advertised by this agency.  After an initial phone screen, it became clear to the recruiter that the candidate had already registered their details with multiple other agencies and directly applied for many other jobs.  Adopting a (sensible) policy of only wanting to represent candidates who were exclusively registered with them, the recruiter informed the candidate they would be unable to help.

But then they took an extra step.  Noticing that the candidate was not active on Linked In, the recruiter explained the benefits to be found in jobseekers nowadays building and maintaining an online network, as well as a real life one, to assist in finding new opportunities and potential future employers.

Here is the response, copied and pasted verbatim:

From: ***
Sent: Tuesday, 11 October 2011
To: ***

Subject: Re: CV of ***

what the fuck????
*** this is a facebook for businesses. Like any reputatable firm is going to
use this type of media to hire people. what do you think i
should do meet someone from a firm over a connection i have made through a
facebook website????. I’m sure with such a tenuous connection I will be able to
land that dream job !!!!!!. Either you are starting to believe your own
bullshit or this is a fob off!!!!. Honestly you recruitment agents are right up
there with politicians and real estate agents… NO ONE !!!! I repeat NO ONE
!!! could  ever land a job this way ( unless its a young woman with all
the right assets) .  You are full of shit


From: ***
To: ***
Sent: Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Subject: RE: CV of ***

Hi *** 

Further to our chat today, here is the link for the social media networking site that I
really recommend you get set up on.  I wish you all the best of luck and hope you are successful this way.

 Thanks and regards



There’s just no pleasing some people is there?


Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Emmah says:

    unbelievable !!! 

  • Simone Baird says:

    Absolutely incredible! Clearly they do not keep up with trends or they would be well aware how beneficial an up-to-date and relevant LinkedIn profile is as part of your social media networking mix. I do hope they do not apply for a job with a progressive company as I doubt they will have the right organisational fit!

  • Millarman says:

    Hahaha, just gold! During my time in recruitment I often put myself out there to help others only to have it slammed in my face. The unfortunate thing is this can make some recruiters weary and they stop giving advice. Great to see you haven’t lost faith in trying to help others, keep up the good work! Luckily life is balanced and there are only a few of these “types” of candidates out there! Cheers. Mike 

  • Daniel Gallen says:

    What a loss for that gentleman, LinkedIn does work – I just placed a candidate the other day who was sourced from LinkedIn at a clients request for search and select and hired by my client within a week from introduction. If only the general candidate population understood how powerful a site like LinkedIn is….

  • Chris Heswall says:

    Would suggest reaction and response is a good indication of why they’re currently unemployed !

  • Stewart Farr says:

    I am curious – why is there no recruitment agents where you pay them to find you a job? This is probably a service I would pay to use. I notice also that there are many ‘online’ variants of this already. 

    • Levi Magill says:

      It is illegal in Australia to charge a candidate to find them a job, of course you are allowed to charge them for career advice but not for actually finding them a job.

      • Stewart Farr says:

        How bizarre……wonder why? Is it the same in NZ? I subcontract work out all the time…….why can’t I subcontract a recruitment agent to find me a job on my behalf? Seems very strange

  • Fi Harland says:

    posted a tweet where I withdrew the application from a candidate on his behalf…
    To help him …I just don’t have the time for idiots on a Friday. Sadly the
    email response is becoming more common place as are hang ups when well
    intentioned advice is given with professional courtesy via telephone in pre screening

  • Simone Wadham says:

    Flabbergasting, to say the least.  I do hope the recruiter in question is reading your blog and takes some solace from this.  Thanks for sharing this Jon.

  • paul jacobs says:

    I know one or two HR leaders who think and act like that candidate.  

  • Kelly Donelly says:

    Why is it so wrong to help a little? Perhaps you can call it time wasted initially – but reputation speaks volumes – if candidates get good service from you, they will refer others your way.

  • ContractorScum says:

    So the guy is a Luddite…..

    However, there are some pretty dumb recruiters out there too. Speaking from a decade’s experience working a niche market as a freelancer, I’ve had to really struggle to explain to some recruiters that I’m the best candidate for the role they have advertised because they are looking to match keywords on CVs with those on the client specification but without comprehending their meaning.

    I think the worst one was the idiot who wouldn’t put me forward for a telephone interview for a role for which I must have been a 99% fit; the 1% being that I wasn’t in the country at the time, but had a flight booked for the following week. It’s a small world, Justin at Randstad, remember that when you ring me to check if I’m hiring…..

  • Dave says:

    hmmm one word for his file : delete …. 

  • Aginnz says:

    “Adopting a (sensible) policy of only wanting to represent candidates who
    were exclusively registered with them, the recruiter informed the
    candidate they would be unable to help.’

    You guys really expect us to be exclusively registered with one agency. Yeah, right……………..

    • Stewart Farr says:

      I have done that before. 6 months later no prospects. Competition spices things up a bit doesn’t it. But on a serious note – as your recruiter their top 3 companies, and say you will only apply for roles there through them. Maintain that relationship and the recruitment agent will feel better about putting you forward.

  • Isaac R says:

    Good luck to this candidate and good luck to the employer that decides to take them on!