What Job Seekers Want from Recruiters

Job seeking isn’t easy and can almost seem like a job in itself. It can be even more frustrating and stressful if there is miscommunication or lack of communication between seekers and those recruiting for the job openings they’ve applied to. After talking to a group of seekers, I would like to bring up some issues that they would like to see resolved. (Don’t worry, Recruiters. I’ll be sure to tell your side of the story tomorrow.)

A few individuals told me about what really grinds their gears during the job hunt, which is as follows:

No response from recruiters. Many job seekers realize that job openings could stay open for several weeks or several months. They’re also aware that they may not be selected from the hundreds of resumes that are received. However, never receiving a confirmation on the status of their application can cause unnecessary anxiety and false hope. They would sincerely appreciate recruiters updating statuses in the applicant tracking systems. Or, they would be fine with a generic e-mail sent to applicants giving them a status update or to tell them that they were not selected. This could allow them closure on the subject.

Recruiters that don’t seem to listen. If a candidate speaks to a recruiter about their work experience and what they need/want for their next job, they typically expect the recruiter to listen. Nothing is more frustrating than having a recruiter contact you about a job that is irrelevant to what was discussed, such as: a job not paying enough to cover bills; a position that you specifically said you wouldn’t like working in; or a location that is out of your maximum mileage to travel. This situation could cause candidates to lose trust in a recruiter and the company that the recruiter is from. Additionally, it could make candidates feel offended if a recruiter seems to only call them about positions that are below the candidate’s experience and expectations.

Recruiters that do not respond to e-mails or calls. This is a peeve that is especially true for candidates who have already interviewed. It’s understandable that a decision may not have been made about the job opening, but if a candidate calls or e-mails you to check in, take a minute to give them a response even if there are no updates. Recruiters are busy and swamped, but I often wonder if they can lighten their load by giving a first time response versus someone constantly contacting them until they finally get a reply.

Recruiters who don’t have enough information. Candidates are looking for jobs for a reason: they’ve lost their job; they’ve been terminated; or they’re looking for a better opportunity. Regardless of the reason, they’re all looking for a better situation than the last one. In order for them to feel comfortable about taking a new position, they’re going to want the most details possible to determine if it would be a good fit. It can be exasperating when a candidate asks a recruiter the details of the duties, company, company culture, expectations, and so on and the recruiter cannot answer it. Although this is not always the recruiter’s fault (hiring managers and clients could be a pain to get information from), it is still just a negative experience all together and could cause candidates to pass on a good opportunity or take a position that is completely wrong for them.

Although there were plenty of other things mentioned to me, these seemed to be the main trends. Now, this is in no way meant to attack recruiters- I’ve been one before so I completely understand that sometimes these issues are out of your control. However, job seekers would like to bring these things up in hopes to educate recruiters on what it is like to be on the other side of things. They hope that providing these details could help recruiters and job seekers find a way to compromise and also make the job seeking/job filling experience more rewarding.

2 thoughts on “What Job Seekers Want from Recruiters

  1. Great ideas here Ashley. Well said. As a corporate recruiter (and once in awhile a candidate also) I can whole-heartedly agree that communication in recruiting is everything! And it’s a two way street. 🙂

    1. I’ve recruited internally for a company and also at a staffing agency- they both have their challenges (some out of the hands of the recruiter). But hopefully recruiters can see this and meet in the middle with some of the candidates’ needs. Perhaps even just communicating more effectively could ensure that the job/candidate fit is better and could help recruiters avoid dealing with having to do backfill because of turnover.

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