Jumping through unfriendly recruiter hoops

They say that complaints and rants are borne of recent poor experience, and this one is no exception. In fact, when I searched this board to find what I said about recruiters last time, it was late 2015, not co-incidentally when I was last looking for work. Sadly not much has changed since then, nor in the eight years since I wrote this.

So, I find myself on the mailing list for G2 Recruitment. The custom email address I supplied last time indicates they got my email address in 2015. I don’t remember dealing with them, but it is possible I dealt with them in another guise before they were taken over.

I saw an email from them today, advertising a role that looks like an 80% good fit. I am invited to send my “latest CV” by reply, but I have a policy of speaking to a recruiter first, to see if I think the job exists (!) and whether I like the sound of the recruiter and the client. As I noted in my blog post, I am inclined to believe that some recruitment firms advertise roles that do not exist in order to hoover up job seeker CVs (and once one rogue recruiter does this, some others do so in order to level the playing field).

I do not profess to have a view about which recruiters engage in this behaviour :slightly_smiling_face:.

So I called for the recruiter named on the ad, and I am told he is on the phone, but that I should send a CV. I say that I’d like to talk first, but the agent is insistent, and doesn’t ask to take my number before dismissing me and putting the phone down. Without question, this was a codified “bugger off”.

What are your views about co-operating with these sorts of demands? Sending a CV is not much skin off my nose, admittedly, but I sense that I’m dealing with pretty cut-throat salespeople who aren’t very nice, and that bothers me. I don’t like chucking my CV to every Tom, Dick and Harry either, especially if I don’t know how I got onto their mailing list.

I dunno. I think I just want this business to be more personable.

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I wouldn’t send it. They were probably sold your CV by another cowboy who went out of business or stole it when they left a job. The agencies that behave like this also put you forward for jobs without permission and can lose roles for you by competing against soneone who was polite enough to ask first.

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Thanks @Woo. Yeah, I think I will bin this one. I’m not in a great rush to find work.

For every period when I am actively looking for work, I set up a fresh alias on my domain containing the year, and I update my CV likewise. I am pondering how to automate this in order to give every recruiter a different alias, so I can trace the ne’erdowells that are trading/borrowing/stealing my data. :nerd_face:

I put a Copyright notice on my CV, so they have to ask my permission to send it out. Surprisingly, they seem to take that seriously. Maybe they’ve been sued before.

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If you use Google Apps or whatever they call it these days (and maybe others do this too), you can do the old work.2018+recruitername@mydomain.tld kinda thing. Of course, if they’re wise to the + thing, they can just remove it or change it to something else. In fact I’d be inclined to use the + trick regardless of individual recruiters, just to save on the new-alias-every-year thing!

Indeed. However, I use an alias for everything on my own domain, so recruiters would not know what “default” alias to use to avoid being detected as a spammer. My only drawback has been sharing aliases between recruiters, and being too lazy to set up something more specific per-recruiter. If I get another couple of bad experiences, I may be driven to setting it up.

As an interesting counterpoint to my experience documented above, I had a very nice conversation with a recruiter last week on the blower. It went like this:

Me: I’ve seen an advert on the web for a contract software engineer, can you tell me about it?

Recruiter: certainly. This is a very interesting role, it has {features} and the team are very nice. I’ve recruited for these people before. Would you like to see the spec?

Me: yes please! {receives email, reads}

Recruiter: let me tell you about the client. Their name is {name} and they’re based at {location}.

Me: great stuff. Out of interest, why are you being so helpful? I mean, most recruiters are really reluctant to reveal the client and a spec so early in the conversation.

Recruiter: ah, good question. It’s because we have an exclusivity contract with the client, so other recruiters wouldn’t be able to snaffle them away from under our noses as soon as they find out who the client is. It means we can be more open about the spec and commutability.

Me: more recruiters should do that thing.

Recruiter. Yep! Would you mind sending me your CV by reply?

Me: not at all {attach, send}

Recruiter: this looks pretty good, can I send it to the client?

Me: please do.

That produced an interview for the following day.

So there is probably a lesson here. I appreciate hirers might be a bit nervous about signing exclusivity deals, but dear me, that was so much easier.

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I have worked for a large company that signed a single-supplier deal. It was not an entirely positive experience. It stifles competition from small, specialist agencies that know their market better. It also became very difficult to propose any solution that was not based on Microsoft products, though I specialised in high-availability systems.

I’m sure you’re right, but I am still searching for such a thing for my sector. “Plague” and “houses” sometimes comes a little too easily to mind :wink:

It is possible I am just turning into a grumpy (old) man, of course.

Out of interest, why are you being so helpful?

Hahaha, this made me laugh :slight_smile:


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Heh, @LimeBlast - I sort of did put it like that. While it was jovial, it did pave the way for a conversation about what seekers think about (some) recruiters. The recruiter agreed, suggesting that it’s a younger and highly-competitive sales demographic that gives the industry the reputation it has. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’d have to echo the problem with exclusivity deals - as a company looking to find the right candidate asap, it’s unhelpful to be reliant on one agency. But you’re absolutely right with your original comments, I have discovered our job specs (company name deleted!) being used on more than one occasion by an agency to fish for candidates at a time when we’re not actually recruiting.

It’s a sordid business, just like any industry reliant on commissions. That’s why I love and would support referrals as much as I possibly can. We give our folks £1200 for a successful referral, and that’s enough of a bonus that they really do think hard about who they might know.

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Yeah, that makes it worthwhile. I’ve seen some recruitment firms (who will get, say, £10K for a perm placement) and they offer £200 in M&S vouchers or something. I can’t imagine that motivates people to give them leads.

Recruiters typically take a 20% add to contract rates. Never, ever let recruiters drive down your rate. It’s very doubtful the client will see it.

I no longer deal with recruiters unless their cut is open to both sides. (Hence my twitchy hackles at job ads with no salary :confounded:)

I hear ya - this is good advice. When I was a greenhorn contractor - not so long ago - I nearly got bitten by this. I asked a consultant outright what his cut was, and he suddenly became coy, and claimed not to deal with figures. He was pushing down my rate to make me “competitive”, and if that is not parasitic, I don’t know what is.

Since then I have dealt with Michael Page, Senitor, Real IT and others, and they all have open-book rates between 15% and 30%.

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I’d recommend people where I worked for nothing, so I got to work with good people. I’m not sure it leads to a healthy culture to pay people for every little thing they do. I used to get an embarrassment of perks at PowerGen that I’d never had before but people who’d always worked there would complain that it wasn’t as good as last year’s freebie and feel aggrieved that they’d been cheated in some way. We’d get a bonus for reaching financial targets that we’d had no impact on. A couple of times it was because of bad Winter weather. When times got hard, the removal of these ‘extras’ really brought down the atmosphere of the whole company. I felt the dip was far deeper than the lift had ever been.

I’ve read recently that psychologically, people value losses more than gains. It’s why a defending army usually fends off an attacker too. We will risk more to hang on to territory than to gain it. I think it may be true of all the Great Apes.

I see what you mean, though it may be a question of lesser-evilism. It’s much better if employees or current contractors can recommend people they know are good, rather than shouldering the uncertainty and expense of recruiters. I expect most employers would regard it as an absolute bargain to pay £500 for a good referral, even if they could have gotten it for free.

An update for the curious, and to satisfy my urge to punch a pillow! :smile_cat:

So, what happened with my awesome and friendly Liverpudlian recruiter at Michael Page? What happened after I travelled to Liverpool, taking up a day, at a cost of ~£80?

Nothing. Not a call. :phone: No feedback. Not a sausage. :hotdog:

(I have other irons in the fire :fire:, so it’s not terrible, but hmm all the same! :scream: )

The least you can do, surely, is to phone up and ask for some feedback?

True @LimeBlast, but my thought process was that I was already unsure if Liverpool was going to be rather a slog, even with a hotel or two per week. Not getting a call on top, after all that effort, sort of sealed its fate.

Where’s an emoticon of a Nerf gun when you need one? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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