Let’s get all the bulldust about “the market is tough” out of the way. Just because it is does not excuse rudeness, unprofessionalism, tardiness, spin and various other unpleasant behaviours on your parts. Are we clear on that? Good, then I can begin properly.
Employers, whether or not you use recruitment agencies there are still a few things that you really ought to consider doing to maintain a good impression with potential candidates.
If you have specific requirements such as fluency in another language, driving licence or a particular skillset, please make it crystal clear in your advert. If I don’t mention something on my CV that’s because it isn’t there. People can’t read words and phrases that aren’t in a job advert so you need to be clear. So that both agencies and candidates understand it.
If you are determined that you only want to see people with particular sector experience, please make that crystal clear in your advert and to the agencies with whom you are dealing. Again, people won’t know if you don’t tell them. It doesn’t help your reputation or perception of you as an employer if candidates’ time is wasted on an application that isn’t even going to be looked at. Yes, it is entirely your choice whom you consider and invite for interview. If you choose not to consider people with wider life experience and experience from other sectors then that is your loss and the candidate will remember you and the agency if you didn’t make that clear in your advert.
I have been taught to be polite and honourable in my dealings with employers. Am I the only one around who behaves like that now? Doing the right thing just doesn’t seem to be trendy any more. If I promise to call someone back then I call them back. If I promise to e-mail information to them then guess what? That’s right, I e-mail the information to them. It isn’t rocket science. It’s basic good manners. If I (or any other candidate) spends time on a covering letter, CV and/or application form then it’s only decent and honourable to a) acknowledge that and b) respond to the candidate whether he has been shortlisted or not. And please, make sure that contact is from a named person rather than a nameless job title. So please, respond promptly and in person.
If you’ve said you have a post that needs filling ASAP, don’t keep the poor candidates or agencies hanging around. ASAP means As Soon As Possible. So candidates are waiting for your response because you have said that your requirement is time critical. Saying that and then getting lazy about getting back to applicants and agencies is deeply disrespectful.
Agencies, I’ve already written quite a bit about you. With good reason. If you haven’t already read these particular entries then please start with this one and then this one. Once you’ve read those you will know about my desperately diminishing faith in recruitment agencies. No discussion about those posts, they are based on solid real life experience. Real behaviours of people working in the recruitment sector.
Don’t patronise people with patronising placatories like “the market’s tough at the moment”, “I know the client’s requirements” or “Saw your CV, think we’ve got something for you, come and register”. That last one’s a belter – invariably there’s nothing suitable and the agency just wants your info to build up numbers of candidates for their portfolio.
Please have the balls to admit that you have your favourites and I’m not on that list. At least I’ll know where I stand.
If you promise to call someone back, give them a time that will happen and stick to it. The same with e-mailing; deliver on your promise.
Don’t insist on someone’s agreement for you to represent them for a role unless you are going to put them forward for it.
Don’t make candidates wait weeks for information which you then send out a short time ahead of tests and interviews.
If you’ve said that feedback will be provided then provide feedback. There is one agency in particular whose adverts promise quick feedback but guess what? I’ve never received any.
There are a couple of well known agencies I have no time for whatsoever because of the patronising attitudes I have encountered from their staff. Had I used such attitudes in my last job I would have been fired on the spot. I may yet name the agencies which have, in my view been poor.
I have still to be convinced that the majority of agencies out there are anything other than shysters who play around with people’s careers and lives. As ever, I am always happy to be proven wrong.
If employers and agencies can act on what they read here then a whole lot of time, effort and money can be saved. It’s not rocket science. It’s just good sense and basic good manners.