Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

A recruiter sends an email

with 2 comments

Even It Up! had a very interesting (anonymous) email from a recruitment company employee last week:

Hi Even It Up!

I found your site a few weeks ago (can’t remember exactly how) and it’s been interesting reading for me, primarily because I’m a fairly senior recruiter in a well known large global recruitment company. I’ve been working in recruitment since I left Uni in 1997 – not continuously, but for about seven years in total, including nearly four with my current employer.

I currently run a desk placing qualified professionals in contract positions, and I have 35 contractors working for me; prior to that (with my current employer) I was doing permanent recruitment for qualified accountants and accounts processing staff. Since I joined my current employer I’d say I’ve placed about 300 people in permanent or temporary jobs. I mention this to give you an idea of numbers – I’m probably in the top 10% performing consultants with my current employer, for this financial year at least.

I’m contacting you to find out if you’d be interested in me providing a bit of a rundown of what goes on “behind the scenes”, from when a candidate/job-seeker contacts a recruitment firm through to when (hopefully!) we place them in a job.

I’m asking because reading through the experiences of a lot of your job-seeking contributors, I can understand exactly **why** a lot of them are angry, frustrated, or whatever. I’d be the first to admit that there are good and bad recruitment consultants and recruitment firms, exactly the same as there are good and bad doctors, accountants, HR managers, plumbers, mechanics, etc. I’ve certainly worked for one terrible recruitment firm myself – only for a couple of months though, until I realised how bad their practices, attitude and management were!

However, reading through the comments your members have been leaving, there are a few common misconceptions, misunderstandings and sometimes just plain mistakes in people’s thinking, and clarifying those for job-seekers would probably result in a lot less frustration and anger at the process that we as recruiters have to take each of them through, especially when the outcome isn’t the one we all want – placing them in the job they applied for. I’m not saying all recruitment consultants are angels who are victims of these misunderstandings (I’ve fired a few hopeless ones myself) but a lot of the time, it sounds like things just haven’t been explained properly to the job-seeker. I’m confident when I say that 95% of recruiters don’t set out to p*ss people off or mess them around – that would be a waste of everyone’s time, because we don’t generate revenue when people get p*ssed off with us.

However we (recruitment consultants) can sometimes forget that candidates come to us because they want to, or need to, take one of the biggest steps of their life – finding a new job. Our lives are ruled by revenue and activity targets – recruitment is a competitive sales-focussed industry and that’s never going to change, but I think it means sometimes that what for job-seekers is a really important event (eg. an interview with a hiring manager for their dream job) is for us just another step closer to meeting this month’s quota. I’m not saying that’s right, but it’s a fact.

If you’re not interested, that’s fine – that’s why I’m asking you first, rather than spending a few hours planning and writing it all out. If you want me to do it, it would be on condition of 100% anonymity, because if my employer found out, I’d almost certainly get fired. I’m never going to tell you my name or who I work for so if that’s a problem, fair enough. But let me know what you think and I’m sure we’ll work something out.

Thanks, all the best

Mr S. Recruiter.

Even It Up! responded as follows:

Hi Sydney Recruiter

Thanks for your email, which I read with interest.

Our stories come from jobseekers who are applying for work at Executive level, right down to entry level positions. The thing that struck us is how similar their experiences are; the same patterns and themes keep recurring regardless of position or location, which indicates to us that the problem is endemic throughout the recruitment industry… and this includes direct employers.

Jobseeking – particularly in this economic climate – is a high stakes exercise.  So often, what dictates our success or failure is out of our hands.   If you read the following blog entries, you will see why we get so cross about it:


I really appreciate your offer, and would like to hear more (in fact would be fascinated!), however, cannot accept any further information without a “real” email address or name/contact details.  Our jobseekers provide this information to us without hesitation (and on trust)… and we always assume that it’s not ok to print their name (because of the high stakes nature of this site).  We would, of course, accord you with the same respect.  Having said that, some jobseekers have been more than happy to go public, despite the risk to their careers, because they want to see change.  I also put my name to the site, knowing that I may never get work again!

Looking forward to your response.

Unfortunately, Even It Up! has heard nothing further from Sydney Recruiter.    We would love to hear from anyone who works “inside” the industry, but need to have genuine contact details (which we will never reveal unless you OK it).. it just shows us that you are fair dinkum that’s all.

Written by evenitup

April 22, 2009 at 10:19 am

2 Responses

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  1. Dear Senior Recruiter,

    you get a distinction for odd rhetoric and double meanings but you haven’t actually explained very much, in regards to what goes on behind the scenes as far as the recruitment industry is concerned? You have though at least been partly honest, and stated that the primary drive (and or focus) of the recruitment industry is to make money and increase the end line revenue, (and or profit) margin. Bravo! At least you are honest enough to admit this- although for the majority of job seakers and or those person’s who have to deal with the industry-this has always been blatantly obvious! I have rarely ever met a recruitment consultant who was not power dressed to the point of intimidation, sporting some very expensive bling and generally working from within an office in (what is usually) a very up-market and or expensive part of town. It is not unusual to see recruitment firms take up 14 floors of office building in the city- so please don’t try and tell me, they are not making a profit (when clearly) they are (in most instances) making HUGE PROFITS! Making profits in itself is not wrong- ( i am certainly no raving socialist etc etc) but what does anger me about the industry is the UNREGULATED nature of the industry and the fact that what it does as an industry is neither transperent or largely accountable for its methodologies and or behaviors. Being largely self regulated, it proves the old adage that people who are employed within this industry, will not go out of the way to denegrate practices and or pursue unsavory or unlaw practices perpetrated by fellow recruiters. In fact, i have rarely read a newspaper article or watched a television program that has discussed unfair or undesirable practices carried out by the recruitment industry being discussed and or prosecuted- it’s nix, nadda, nothing-even though (at the risk of sounding like a broken record here) they are involved in practices that DO AFFECT PEOPLE’S LIVES…..

    oh and as for the we forgot people? Hello? Have these recruitment consultants never heard of pen and paper? Sure, i have had lapses too……but when someone calls, you either get out their file or log into your online data base…..(well at least that is what i do?)

    Finally…what actual qualifications do you need to be a recruitment consultant and or to set up your own firm and which gate keeping measures are their in place to prevent the wrong persons getting in this industry, (for instance, to be a psychologist you have to register with a board and or professional body, as is with nursing, teaching, counseling, community welfare, security, accounting, various trades etc, etc ) is this mandatory with the recruitment industry, ( me thinks not?) so at the end of the day who polices the behavior and or integrity of this industry???? Short answer- the industry itself…..abeit in a very adhoc and insubstantial manner- and even worse that industry is set up primarily to benefit and protect members not those persons who may have been harmed and or mistreated by the industry itself………..

    Finally…….i would really like to know where you got your figures from for placing people in jobs? It would be interesting to define what the recruitment industry defines as a job, (current ABS stats) state that if a person gets one hour a week they are techincally employed (and or placed in employment) i have, even during boom times never been able to place 95% of my students, (working as a placement/employment officer) in FULL TIME work……….me thinks your figures are slightly wiffy??? Also your care factor in regards to the behavior of consultants as directed towards potential applicants appears depressingly similar, a big fat 0! The day that some recruitment consultant wakes up and actually realises that you don’t need fancy offices, power dressing consultants and a superior attitude to run a recruitment firm, but common sense, down to earth employees who are a mix, (the young the not so young and the mature aged) and the MINDSET that at the END OF THE DAY you are working for the CLIENT and EMPLOYMENT FOR THE CLIENT, is the primary goal……..WHOM THEY CARE ABOUT, and are able to market this, then they will have struck pure gold of the best kind….

    Sadly, whils the industry is run by bimbo/himbo, y-jen/globe-trotting, selfish, for profit, me, me me, ists………..nothing is going to change.


    iamagirl and I DO CARE about my job seeking clients!


    April 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    • Way to go Ira! By the way congratulations on your new role! We have loaded Source4 onto the Even It Up! website as an example of what happens when recruiters get it right. Hopefully more jobseekers will see it and head in their direction.


      April 24, 2009 at 4:40 pm

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