My friend Tom (not his real name) recently shared his frustrations with inexperienced recruiters interviewing him for senior positions.
Whether it’s a phone interview or face-to-face, the recruiters appear uncomfortable, sometimes rushed, and intent on following a script, he said.
“If I feel the recruiter didn’t ‘get me,’ I go around Human Resources and contact the hiring manager. I usually hit a home run with the manager. So why didn’t I get the same response from the HR rep?” he asked.
He’s not the only one baffled. Tom has spoken to several of his job-level contemporaries, and they experience similar challenges. A representative with a large recruiting firm told Tom he feels that most recruiters today are drastically undertrained and doing more harm than good on behalf of their employers.
A retired HR representative agreed that there is a lack of training in a majority of in-house recruitment staff, especially the junior employees, and offered Tom some insight.
“The first thing he addressed is that I need to get rid of my anger,” Tom said. A valid point, since our frustrations and fears as job hunters can be perceived as anger directed toward the interviewer.
The HR rep also suggested Tom (a) learn to speak their language, think like they think; (b) play the game and make it fun, and (c) become the teacher: educate them about you, the position, and the company.
That advice was more aggravating than helpful, Tom said. “We research the firms and the key personnel, write great resumes, network, thank everyone we meet, network more, have a great portfolio, work on eye contact and body language… and now we have to help them do their jobs, too?”
I have no expertise in the HR field, but I do know of senior HR personnel who took early retirement packages to help their companies’ efforts to reduce headcount and salaries. The more junior HR staff lost not only their leadership but their mentors. This could be contributing to the conflict.
What can be done to improve the interview experience between job hunters and less-practiced recruiters?