Are recruiters their own worst enemy? by@GBhambra

Glen Cathey Discussion

I recently attended the fantastic TruLondon event and joined a discussion about sourcing led by Glen Cathey. He began by talking about the issue of human judgements – by which measure recruiters decide if they want to put a candidate forward for a role just by glancing at a CV or a profile. Behind that CV is a human and let’s face it, candidates are not experts when it comes to writing their resume… so why are recruiters so quick to write someone off without having picked up the phone and spoken to them first?

I’ve come across this situation one too many times, where a recruiter or hiring manager will decline a candidate if the information on there doesn’t exactly match their criteria. And some managers will have a list as long as their arm, with more often than not – totally unrealistic expectations. The problem with this is that the candidate may have had good potential or even relevant experience but because this wasn’t so visible on paper, they were rejected.

They could have been the star candidate.

Yes, a recruiter will probably be juggling multiple requisitions and have many demands and pressures on them. Sure it’s time consuming to find out the details – but isn’t it better to tick someone off the list (and be sure) before their CV is tossed away or sent to die in an ATS? The issue is our judgement and the fact that there are a lot of recruiters out there who are pessimists and as Glen rightly put it “not inclusive”.

I think recruiters can be their own worst enemy, by refusing to be optimistic they are closing themselves off from learning more. There was a great debate at Tru about how many young people are often more easier to mould than a seasoned recruiter, which sadly is true. Most recruiters with significant years of experience are viewed as an asset – every company wants to hire them. Why? Because they have built up their experience within that specific industry. It’s not a bad thing to want to hire someone who understands your market but it’s their attitude that you need to be weary of.

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Perhaps the lesson here is to try and hire optimistic recruiters, because they are more often than not – inclusive. They will have an open mind and are eager to learn. Most seasoned recruiters can get stuck in their own ways and their behaviours become difficult to change as they refuse to be open (or scared) to learn anything new. Inevitably they will get stuck behind the game and the company that’s hired them will eventually find that too. This is how the recruiter rises and then falls.

In my opinion, a recruiter needs to be an innovator. They need to be the ones to challenge the status quo – if you have pessimistic recruiters talking to demanding hiring managers (who are not the hiring experts) then how will the right people actually get hired?

We all know that top talent is becoming trickier to find, people are moving away from LinkedIn and purposely making it difficult for them to be found which is why I think now more than ever recruiters need to open their minds by being willing to change their old and toxic behaviours. The key to this though – is wanting to change.

Gurprit Bhambra is the Strategic Talent Acquisition Lead for the EMEA region at AGS. She is responsible for providing clients with innovative human capital solutions in the areas of Strategic Sourcing, Recruitment Marketing and Technology by utilising the latest cutting edge methods and tools. Gurprit has over seven years of recruitment experience, having recently worked with organisations to develop their in-house resourcing functions with a focus on direct hiring, employer brand development and creating end to end recruitment processes. She is passionate about all things sourcing, talent acquisition, innovation, and loves nothing more than getting creative.

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5 Comments on “Are recruiters their own worst enemy? by@GBhambra

  1. In my experience, the more seasoned the recruiter the more inclusive they are. They’re generally much better at managing hiring managers too.

    I think the problem you’re referring to is more a result of inexperience. Not just of recruitment, but of life.

  2. I disagree, Mitch. I have seen more senior and junior-level recruiters alike make the mistake of excluding qualified candidates.

  3. This is nor just about the recruiter, this needs go extend further to include the whole hiring population. The recruiter can only submit a shortlist, the hiring manager makes the final decision on who they choose to meet.

    1. Yes, while that is true – recruiters need to exert a degree of influence over hiring managers and can only do that by knowing who they are representing. When it comes to the initial shortlist having an open mind can lead to discovering talent you may have otherwise overlooked.

  4. Disqualifying factors make it easy for lazy recruiters to do their job. A good recruiter will thoroughly pre-screen a candidate before presenting them to a client, including a very clear synopsis of why the hiring manager should consider the candidate. If you are an internal recruiter, it goes without saying that you need to manage hiring manager expectations. However, that is not easy for an agency recruiter because they often rely on account executives. Worse, an agency recruiter is much more likely to bend to the illegal demands of clients because agency recruitment is a sales function. There are folks in the recruitment community that believe a professional organization should be created, and I agree. If a recruiter cannot thoroughly pre-screen a candidate, they should consider placing themselves in a position other than recruitment stat.

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