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The Silent Treatment

By April 19, 2018No Comments

As a recruiter, I love April. We bid farewell to the last financial year, and steam into 2018/19 with all guns blazing. For our business, it also coincides with our end of year sales meeting, team performance reviews, and some big picture thinking and planning for the year ahead. All this is set to a backdrop of clients with renewed budget, the post election uncertainty feeling increasingly…post, and plenty of vacancies waiting to be filled. We should be busy and, providing we have a modicum of talent and efficiency, busy is good. Busy means that recruitment bosses send out juicy invoices. Busy means Consultants see hefty bonuses. Busy means candidates are being placed in jobs that improve their lives. Busy means we are fueling the growth of our clients, and therefore New Zealand.

We don’t need to apologize for this kind of busy.

Busy is not without consequence however. Not a man, woman, or child amongst us can say they’ve never heard phrases like;

“I applied but never got a response”

“The recruiter never called me back”

“I sent my CV but still waiting for feedback”

If the general populace is to be believed, the next time a corrupt government wants to hide or destroy documents, they should send it to a busy recruiters inbox. Third only to real estate agents and the SS, recruiters get a bad rap for our “variable” candidate care, especially when the market is running hot. In many cases, I’m sure this is valid. Most of us have sat next to the often high-billing yet unscrupulous agency recruiter, who, like a Trump-backed Tomahawk missile hitting a hospital to kill a single insurgent, will leave a trail of neglected applicants behind every placement.

For most of my career, I’ve operated under the maxim that an applicant deserves a response. How hard is it to send a polite “thanks, but no thanks”? However, my thinking has changed. We have a finite number of hours a week to make placements. Placements don’t just make us money, they change lives, hopefully for the better. If we are too busy doing other things, our only other purpose is to keep the faux-leather compendium industry afloat.

Across all platforms, be it ad responses, and increasingly LinkedIn messages, I take an unashamedly variable approach to responding to candidates these days. It goes, something like this…

You will definitely get a reply if:

  • You applied to a job that is in someway related to your skill-set. You appear to have read an ad or my LinkedIn profile to at least a cursory level, and you may have even spelt my name correctly. These factors alone will put you in the top 20% of applicants. You are inadvertently a superstar. Have a cookie.
  • You are making contact because you want to enter the industry that I recruit in. If you’re sending a CV, a note of explanation to this effect would be highly appreciated.
  • You are selling a product or service that it specific to what I do, and your message appears bespoke, interesting, and relevant to a problem I have right now.

You will get a reply, but it may be slightly more curt or quirky than you expect if:

  • You get my name wrong.
  • You spell my name wrong.
  • You don’t work in my industry, don’t want to work in my industry, aren’t selling anything I could possibly need, but just want a 30 minute chat about “the market”.

You will get a reply the day the Blues sell out Eden Park if:

  • You are a three-times-plus serial applicant, with absolutely no skills or experience in or around my sector, and no explanation as to why you want to work in the industry I recruit for.
  • You start a message with “I’ve tried to contact you last week” or “have you had a chance to review my previous email?” and then go on to try and sell me SEO, database marketing, qualified sales leads, or cures for erectile dysfunction. If you’re a good SEO firm, you don’t use a gmail email address, our database marketing is seldom and selective, qualified leads in recruitment are nonsense, and my erectile dysfunction was an isolated incident and I’d been under a lot of stress.

Sound fair enough?

Stay busy recruiters, and have a great Friday.