On the Verge of Leaving the Recruiting Calling …

Mar 28, 2013
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

On the verge of leaving the recruiting calling …

I am a second-generation recruit who knew he wanted to be a recruiter. In junior high I’d go to my dad’s office and stuff envelopes of candidates to prospective clients and help rewrite resumes. I went to school and studied HR management and organizational development. After a stint in social work to give back and learn more about how people ticked, I went into recruiting.

I have started departments, trained recruiters and managers on targeted interviewing, and worked for some of the top firms in life sciences and finance — making them able to compete in a global economy.

I have had the privilege to study sourcing from Shally Steckerl and to debate Lou Adler on the art of recruiting. And I read articles each day on the profession of recruiting.

So, I am stunned to say I am done.

I have been put through the wringer by “fellow recruiters.” I’ve been denied jobs because I don’t type while phone screening … I was taught you actively listen to ask follow-up questions, then type your report from hand notes.

I have encountered recruiters who are really order takers/stenographers. They stick to their script and simply take dictation. A hiring manager turned me down for a contract because I had done contracts in the past. A recruiter would have advised them that this was a plus, adding value to the process. An order taker moves on to the next candidate.

So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when a temp agency had me fill out a one-hour admin data entry test, and then tell me they couldn’t discuss the opening until I got a drug test and showed them my passport. All this was for an opening that turned out to not be about recruiting at all.

I have been a finalist several times, but it took repeated calls to find out they hired someone else, the role was on hold, or the job description changed to a different industry emphasis. And it goes on and on. Over the last six months, I have been told “no” for some of the oddest reasons. I have put my life on hold with odd jobs until the next opening would arrive.

I will miss finding candidates no one else could — helping them put their best foot forward while staying authentic — and telling people we have the toughest thing to sell because our “product” can open its mouth and ruin the sale. And I loved every moment of it. But I don’t think I have left recruiting as much as it has left me.

Why many companies still see the people who make the biggest difference in their organizations as a cost center puzzles me. They farm it out to organizations that don’t understand the culture or the organizational history that differentiates them from their competition.

I thank all those who, over the years, taught me, by bouncing ideas off them, and kept me going for as long as I have. Best of luck to you all.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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