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Why Do Recruiters Get Such Bad Press? How Much Is It Justified? Insight From Oakstone CEO and Industry Expert Paul Rayner

Oakstone International Executive Search Why do recruiters get such bad press?

Oakstone International Executive Search Why do recruiters get such bad press?


Like many sales driven industries- recruitment is known to receive bad press, but how much is justified?

Despite the majority of people we call being passive (not looking for a new role) rarely do the most talented professionals reject our calls. Why? This is due our approach, reputation for adding value, respect for their time and the fact that we listen to their career goals and aspirations.

1. They don’t listen to what candidates want

Quite often recruiters will try and pressurise candidates to go for roles they don’t want- based purely on their qualifications. They ignore what the candidate is saying and sometimes put them forward for roles they don’t know anything about.

You are talking to the wrong recruiters – if a recruiter EVER ‘puts you forward to a role you know nothing about” you should: A – never talk to them again. B – report them to the ICO:

They are jeopardising your career!!!

These are simply desperate amateurs shooting themselves in the foot with both their “Candidates” and their “Clients”  clearly neither of those descriptions being accurate.

2. The candidates time is irrelevant

The best candidates are often not looking for a new role, they usually already have a job. The worst recruiters will call multiple times, any time of the day with complete disregard for the candidates current working situation.  They could be sat next to their boss- or in a meeting.

Any good recruiter will respect their Candidates time – it is however usually OK to call people at all times of day and the evening, regardless of where they may be. Handled with care, subtlety and sensitivity a call asking if you are free to talk is acceptable to most – it’s how the recruiter responds to “now isn’t a good time” that counts.

These calls are usually to a mobile phone – if you don’t know whose calling and you are with your boss – why would you answer your phone?

3. They don’t stick to appointments

Bad recruiters aren’t good time keepers.  That’s not what they get paid for. Don’t be surprised if you get a late call- or no call at all.

This clearly states, “bad recruiters” and of course this is true – Bad recruiters, bad accountants, bad politicians, bad lawyers……   I suggest you find good people to work with and don’t work with anyone who doesn’t demonstrate good professional behaviour – there are plenty of good and great recruiters out there.

4. Their admin is poor

There is nothing more frustrating that receiving something with the wrong/ time/ date/ location or a misspelt name. This is unprofessional. You don’t want to end up at the wrong interview.

As above – there are good and bad in everything – make your recruiter jump through some hoops – as them to call you at a certain time – send you some info – if it’s done poorly it’s time to find another recruiter or talk to the Boss of the person that’s delivering you poor service – if you are working with a poor recruiter in a good firm, you will receive a great response and probably better service.

5. They don’t update you

Hearing nothing after an interview is worrying for the candidate and its unpolite.  It looks bad on the company and the recruiter- which makes people less likely to want to work for the company.

This is critical and often urgent and possibly career damaging -Chase and talk to the boss if you don’t get the response you want/expect.

6. They don’t give you feedback

You have spent time attending a meeting and it is up to your recruiter to give you some feedback.  Even if there isn’t any they should call to say there is no news.

This is reasonable and you should get feedback – the recruiter should give you an update and if they have no feedback yet they should set reasonable expectations for when you should hear back – Any decent recruiter will get back to you.

7. They expect too much from you

A recruiter will want you to jump through hoops for them and reply to their messages instantly.  Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re working for them.

What is “too much”? This the relationship between you and your recruiter should be symbiotic – it’s important that you both take the need to communicate seriously – this is YOUR career and the recruiters livelihood – WORK TOGETHER – seriously if you are having difficulty with recruiters that are unprofessional STOP WORKING WITH THEM.

8. They’re too aggressive

Recruitment is a sales job after all. Often, recruiters will pester and bombard you will emails and calls to get you to respond. We’ve heard that some recruiters will put you forward for jobs they haven’t even discussed with you.

I suggest: 1 Respond to them – tell them what you want and don’t want – if they ignore you tell them to stop – if they don’t ‘JUNK’ them.

Recruiters putting you forward to jobs they haven’t discussed with you are unethical cowboys – report them to: Their boss, the client and the ICO

9. They don’t even know you

Bad recruiters won’t get to know you, or your career goals.  How will they match you to a company which suits your way of life and your values? They can’t.

So don’t work with them…… Duh….!!

10. They have a bad name

Reputation can spread like wild fire.  If a company or a recruiter has a bad name its extremely hard to turn it around.  Make your own decisions but don’t waste your time if you sense something isn’t right.