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Recruiters Sound Off: 6 Ways to Be the Worst Recruiting Client Ever

Many recruiters get a bad rap for not performing the way their clients expect. But, to be honest, it’s often not (or at least not entirely) the recruiter’s fault. The hard truth? You may sabotaging their efforts around every corner and not even know it.

We asked our recruiters to air their most pent-up grievances when it comes to working successfully with staffing and recruiting clients. If you’re guilty of any one of these offenses, you may be preventing your organization from recruiting the best of the best.

  1. You create a false urgency…then stop responding.

Recruiters are used to working quickly so, when asked to fulfill a position ASAP, we take the task very seriously. All too often, however, recruiters are told a hiring need is urgent only to have the client “go dark” when candidates are submitted. Or clients wait too long to set up a face-to-face interview after the initial phone screen, without explanation.

This lack of communication can sabotage your efforts in two ways: First, it ties a recruiter’s hands when it comes to momentum. Any time waiting to hear “We love this candidate! Do you have anyone similar we can also interview?” or “These candidates don’t seem quite right. Let’s work together to redefine what we’re looking for…” is time the recruiter could be using to move your process further along. Second, keeping job candidates completely in the dark is never a good idea. In the current job market, you can assume any ideal employee will not wait long to hear back from you before accepting another position.

  1. You get cold feet when you find a great fit.

Perhaps there’s a rash of employers out there who have developed an “it’s too good to be true” syndrome? Our recruiters have told us clients in this category often react in one of two ways: 1) Either they admit the candidate is perfect but hold up the process to find others to interview “just to compare” or 2) They dwell on “kicking the tires” (usually by adding unnecessary interviews or assessments) and don’t act fast enough when they meet a great candidate.

  1. You cling to unrealistic salary expectations.

As one of our recruiters puts it, you may be the type of client who “asks for the world but then pays peanuts for it.” When it comes to recruiting top talent in today’s healthy job market, you certainly get what you pay for. Gone are the days when low salary and few benefits were good enough.

This is when a top recruiting firm can truly help guide you. Don’t simplly treat your recruiter as a low-level resume gatherer. Instead, he or she can consult you on compensation, often using sophisticated and proprietary salary data and tools you may not have access to yourself.

  1. You ignore your poor company culture and hope no one else will notice.

Poor company culture is a deal breaker. Any respectable recruiter will not create “smoke and mirrors” to hide crummy culture at an organization, because it threatens their own credibility. If you have high turnover or routinely receive poor reviews on Glassdoor or other review sites, your company culture needs work.

If you think candidates won’t notice, you’re wrong.

As soon as a candidate applies for a position or, certainly, before the first interview, you can bet they’re checking with their friends, their connections on social media and sites like Glassdoor to get a feel for who your company is. What they find will help determine whether or not they accept your job offer (or even agree to the first interview). In fact, nearly 70 percent of job seekers have said they would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation—even if unemployed.

  1. You’re too rigid with your job requirements.

Starting out with too many “must have” skills and requirements is a fatal mistake when it comes to recruiting for a job. “You have to be open minded,” urges one recruiter. “The perfect fit could be the right mix of personality and motivators that align with their organization and technical skills.” These attributes may not present themselves until further along in the interview process. Another recruiter explains it this way: “Some clients start out with such a tough wish list that even their current employees wouldn’t have gotten hired based on the criteria.”

  1. You’re not focused.

You don’t really know what you’re looking for. You include too many people in the interview process. The interview process is too complicated or includes too many steps. You change the process or requirements halfway through, creating an impossible-to-reach moving target. Your HR department and hiring manager are not on the same page. Any of these sound familiar? If so, you need to refocus. Better yet, ask your recruiting firm to critique your process and listen; TRULY LISTEN to the advice they give you.

Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow but, if you see yourself in any of the scenarios above, grab a fork and dig in. It’s time to stop sabotaging the process and allow your recruiter show you what they’ve got.


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Need to Find Qualified Employees?

If your company is in search of skilled employees, contact The HT Group here:


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