Job Seekers’ Pet Peeves About Recruiters and HR People

Job Seekers’ Pet Peeves About Recruiters and HR People


The internet is crammed full of pet peeves lists that recruiters, consulting agencies, HR people and employers have about job candidates. We as job candidates also have some legitimate displeasures and gripes about recruiters and HR folks. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years, and have seen lots of bad habits and annoying practices that simply need to stop. Here are my suggestions on how you can handle things better.

1. You need to provide good customer service! This concept is not just for the retail or restaurant industries. Think of EVERY job candidate as a customer – a real, live human being. We’re not just another faceless resume. How about providing a great candidate experience? Learn about us, get to know us, and just don’t do the bare minimum to keep your job.

2. Don’t ghost me, recruiters! Don’t leave us hanging – follow through and close the loop! Yes, I realize that you deal with dozens or hundreds of calls, emails, and people per week. Guess what? So do I! That’s no excuse for forgetting about us. Often I will have a recruiter excitedly email or call me about a great-sounding position that would be a perfect fit. I express enthusiasm about being submitted for it. Sometimes they need to “contact their account manager” before submitting my resume to the client, or they will send my resume right over.

And then…I won’t hear from them ever again. Weeks and weeks can go by. Um, what’s going on here? Has the position been filled? With a few extreme circumstances (is your mother’s health failing, and did you have to take off two or three weeks from your job to help her out?), there is no excuse for poor communication. Leave the “ghosting” to the dating or “hookup” apps. You’re a professional – act like it. Good or bad news, please get back to us with an update so that we’re not left wondering.

3. Getting ghosted by employers. Many of the above issues apply. In this case, you can have any number of interviews, talk to different individuals from different departments, even take technical assessments, then…nothing but silence from them.

4. Don’t contact us if our resume doesn’t match the required skills of an open position. I get daily calls and emails for IT positions where required skills are ones I have ZERO experience for. It takes you all of ten seconds to open my resume, hit Ctrl + F to do a search of skill A, B, or C to see that I’ve never done those. Please do not waste my time with an unnecessary call or email. Focus on quality, applicable, fruitful communication instead.

5. Overly-long online applications…<sigh> With modern technology and resume parsing, why are you still requiring me to fill these out? I get worn out after the 12th page or the 35-minute mark. Just look at my resume; 95% of the same information is on there.

6. Companies that want me to work on a project as part of the interview process. In the IT field, employers would often utilize great services like “Prove It!” or TestGorilla that would allow them to give a candidate a technical assessment that would last only 20-30 minutes, yet show off their coding ability. Or if a company wanted to go the free route and not use an aforementioned service, it’s actually not too difficult to devise their own custom test. Solutions like those work great at weeding out the proficient from the mediocre.

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see extensive assignments given out that could last 4, 6, 8, or even 16 hours! Sorry/not sorry, but I am not doing free coding for you.

7. Foreign “Recruiters” with fake U.S. phone numbers calling me for positions and never hearing from them again. Both in my times that I’ve lived in the United States and in Canada, I’ve had blatant foreigners posing as recruiters that were calling me for supposed developer positions around North America. They seemed to have “exclusives” – many positions that I hadn’t seen posted elsewhere on any job boards – so I sent them my resume, gave them pertinent contact info, etc. I have never heard back from any of them. Even if they by some chance aren’t fake, they are as unfruitful as can be. I am only going to deal with local recruiters from now on.

In my experience as a job seeker in the tech industry, I’ve encountered people who ran the gamut from being fantastic to work with to “why are you wasting my time? Go work at McDonald’s!” My hat is off to the friendly, professional, hard-working recruiters and HR people who believe in constant communication and treating us candidates like valued customers…like real people. Thanks!


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