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  #1  
Old 05-30-2017, 07:39 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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Default Westley deals with bad recruiters

OK, so first of all, we're not going to praise or bash *anybody* by name in this thread. Especially not our site sponsors. I think the site sponsor is pretty good and I've worked with them in the past and will probably do so in the future. You don't agree, no worries, and I respect all opinions. There's other great recruiters out there too, and we're not going to bash them ITT either. And plenty of clowns, as I think we all know.

This thread will be for anonymous bashing, and (ideally) tips on how to deal with the worst of recruiter behavior. I really intend to focus on how to improve interactions with recruiters, both individually and in the global sense. Advice welcome.

Like many of my threads, I intend to supplement over time. Feel free to add questions and anecdotes of your own.
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2017, 07:42 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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So, this is a "holding pen" for my thoughts on how to actually deal with bad recruiters. Don't think anybody is actually going back this far any more, they're just posting updates, but eventually I will post more on this and ask for comments. I think, generally, there needs to be a certain amount of understanding of what's going on before you should actually start giving out your info and resume to a recruiter. This will infuriate the spammers who are just looking to collect resumes and spam them everywhere, but will be appreciated by those who are trying to develop long-term relationships.

So, here's my "script" for when a recruiter calls. If a recruiter contacts me on LI or by email and asks to connect, it's more-or-less the same discussion.


Step 1

Start, with "Why are you contacting me?". Generally, there's two reasons a recruiter contacts you:
1) They have a specific position they are looking to fill
2) They generally want to network - find out what you're doing and want to do, and learn more about where you're going, so that they can call you later when they have a specific position to fill.

Honestly, the second of the above used to be pretty common, but lately (last five years), seems like it's almost always the first. Likely related to speed at which they're trying to place people, and also my own specific career path perhaps.

So, I just let them do their opening pitch or whatever script they're running through. They may finish with a question or request or whatever, which I'd just ignore.

Quote:
Recruiter: Hey I'm Joe Recruiter, calling you from XYZ recruiting firm. How are you today? (Or, I'm calling and want to tell you how great we are; or I'm calling you about this position that you would love and should definitely be interested in because it's awesome; or whatever)
Westley: Hey, thanks for calling, nice to hear from you. Tell me your name and firm name again? ( this is both 1) to make sure I caught it, and 2) to take them out of the flow of their ordinary pitch, which they're often just reading from a script )
Recruiter: Joe Recruiter, I'm with XYZ Recruiting and wanted to call and talk to you today about blah blah blah.
Westley (doesn't really matter what they said or asked, I'm still ignoring it until I have determined that they're worth talking to): Now, I've heard your firm name and am slightly familiar with them, but can you give me the 30-second version of who you are? What does your firm recruit and what's your specialty? How long have you been recruiting?
Recruiter: Oh yeah we're the best recruiting firm in the world, we do blah bah blah
For this stage, the only thing I really care about is how long have you, Joe Recruiter, been recruiting for the type of position that I'm looking for. I don't care much about your firm, or whether they are actuarial specialists or insurance-focused, or broader and more general. I don't care how long you've been recruiting IT or marketing people. I don't care how long you've been recruiting pension actuaries. I want to know how long you've been recruiting for what I do. And, honestly, whether it's years and years or you just started, we can still have a convo, but if you don't want to tell me this information that I want to know, then we don't have anything else to talk about.

I normally get some run-around and have to bring it back to a very specific question:
Quote:
Recruiter: Oh, yeah, I've been recruiting actuaries for years.
Westley: OK, and just trying to get a feel for your background, how many placements have you made this year for somebody doing ____? Maybe a little background on those positions, obviously without divulging any confidential info.
Recruiter: Yeah, I've done so many placements, we're a pretty big firm doing a lot of recruiting.
Westley: Great, maybe just a couple of examples of recent placements in the area?
Recruiter: blah blah blah we recruit a lot of actuaries, like fo' realz.
Westley: Like, as an example?
A couple of things there: It's good to set up a precedent early that you expect them to actually answer questions you ask. Some recruiters will be so frustrated they won't want to talk to you, which is honestly a feature not a bug.

And, I don't really care that much about their examples, other than once they start talking about the field some recruiters make clear their complete lack of knowledge, which is also a feature not a bug. I would prefer to be working with somebody that actually understands what I do, even if at a very simplified level; and if not, I at least want to know that they don't have such understanding.


Assuming I have that info, next is to understand why they're contacting me (which may've been in their introductory pitch, but often isn't). This is pretty simple IMO.

Quote:
Recruiter: Blah blah blah.
Westley: Great, thanks for that info, always appreciate having that bit of background on who I'm talking to. So, what's going on? Do you have a position you think might be a fit for me, or just looking to get some background for future reference, something else?
One of the annoying things recruiters used to do that has now apparently gone out of vogue is to be all "I've got a position _____; and wanted to network on who might be a fit for that" or some other heinous business-speak that was essentially meant to say "If you want this, speak up, but otherwise I'm asking you to refer me to other people I should talk to". Anyway, if you're looking to fill something, tell me; if your'e looking for something else, that's fine, but tell me that.



Step 2

So, now that I know who you are and why you called, let's talk about the position you called me about (I'm assuming that they called me because they have a position they are trying to fill).

Several things I want to know: 1) who is the company (if it's a retained search they really have no incentive not to tell you, if it's contingent, then they may not want to; well, if it's retained and somebody is being replaced and doesn't know it yet then that's a reason not to say it, but they will usually tell you), 2) is this a contingent or retained search, and 3) what the recruiter actually knows about the company (if retained they probably actually know what's going on, if it's contingent then it can really be all over the board in terms of their knowledge of what's going on at the company, which is why it's worth knowing).


Questions I will generally ask or want to know:
1 Why are they looking (growing, replacing somebody that left, re-org, promotion, etc)?
2 What specifically are they looking for?
3 (Generally this is a required follow-up on the prior) No, I heard you the first time you read the job requirements, I was curious if you know what they're actually looking for? Everybody knows how to check a box that says Fellow and 10 years of experience, but that really has nothing to do with who gets hired, was wondering if you know what else they're looking for. Do they care about predictive modeling experience, finance expertise, accounting background, is there a preference for people who have been in consulting, what specific lines of business are they prioritizing in terms of industry experience, do you know anything like that?
4 Are you working this on a retained basis or contingency basis?
5 What's the reporting structure (who would this position report to, and who would report to this position)?
6 What does the current team look like?
7 Company
8 Location


For number 3: Hold onto whatever they say, because it's usually something like "I have no idea but here's some more vague statements", which means they really know nothing about the company they're recruiting into
For Number 4: If they're on a retained basis and the recruiter is not totally incompetent, they will know something abut the company because they've had discussions. If it's contingent, the honest answer could easily be "I just saw this on a job site, I don't know if the company will even return my calls once I compile some resumes to send to them." Also, recruiter may ask why you want to know whether they're retained or contingent (which is probably a fair question, so I will answer). For me, I want to know a few things: 1) Are they actually engaged with the company, or just going to blast resumes; and 2) when I speak to other recruiters, it's helpful to know whether they might be calling about this same search (which won't happen on a retained search), so I can track different calls - I wouldn't want to have another call and somebody else presents it a different way and I respond differently, which can happen on a contingent search (this should make them comfortable that there's actually a reason to tell me).



Step 3

If I'm interested at this point, then I'll say "This sounds interesting, can I tell you my background and a bit about what I'm looking for?" And then give my 30-second resume. Usually at that point they'll ask for my resume which is fine. I have a couple of requirements for providing my resume, which I always ask even though many recruiters (even honest and reputable ones) play rather fast-and-loose with the rules. Requirements are that they are only sending this to people that I've discussed with them, and agreed to have the resume sent.

Last edited by Westley; 04-02-2018 at 12:53 PM..
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2017, 07:54 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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So, there were two main impetuses (impeti?) for this thread. Here's one story:

Email I received (through LI)
Quote:
Hi Allen,

I came across your impressive career history on LinkedIn and wanted to see if you were open to a quick call regarding an opportunity we have here at (redacted).

We have a (redacted) role open in our (redacted) location and you have several of the key experiences we are looking for.

Are you interested in having a short call to discuss your career history, future career goals and our position further?

Please forward resume for further consideration to (redacted)
So, okay, this starts off with some complimentary puffery - thanks, that's nice. Then a bit of info, but not very much. Then suggests a call, which is great, I like to talk to people - even if it doesn't work out, maybe I learn something or can suggest somebody. Then, without me expressing any interest at all, starts laying out the hoops I need to jump through in order to have a discussion (I may dig up the story in one of the old "bad recruiter" threads of a large insurance company mass emailing people with "We would really love to talk to you, although we're not going to even have a discussion with you until and unless you give us a resume and salary history", which is pretty much the same approach IMO).


Sorry if this is just a bit crass, but I consider this to be very parallel to my match.com opening emails (spoiler for crassness)
Spoiler:
I came across your impressive profile on match.com and wanted to see if you were open to a quick call regarding a potential date.

Are you interested in having a short call to discuss your dating history, future dating goals and my favorable attributes?

Send nudes if you want to be considered

Last edited by Westley; 08-03-2017 at 03:34 PM..
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  #4  
Old 05-30-2017, 07:59 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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But, I'll give this person the benefit, so I responded with a nice email, the crux of which is
Quote:
I received your LinkedIn mail from last week regarding your open position (redacted). Would be glad to discuss at your convenience - just propose a time if you want. Do you have a more detailed description/job posting/etc that you can provide?
Her response (in total)
Quote:
Hi,

Can you send me a copy of your resume?
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2017, 08:07 PM
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Childish Gambino Childish Gambino is offline
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why is everyone on this board named allen
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:09 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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So, I just ignored that, and a week later got an email that said (in summary) "Why haven't you responded, it's rather unprofessional to not respond". To which I replied with
Quote:
You contacted me, unsolicited. Then I asked you a question, which you ignored. Despite suggesting a call, and my response saying I'd be glad to do so, you've declined to set up such a call. You expect me to provide the information that you want, yet refuse to provide the information that I've requested, after *you* contacted *me*. And now you consider me unprofessional for not providing your requested info, while you continue to not provide the info I've requested, and continue to not follow through on the request that you made and I already said sounded interesting. I'll be honest, that doesn't sound like a company I want to work for. Please do not contact me again.
Now, honestly, this recruiter is in fact awful, there's no question about it. But, in fact this is pretty standard operating procedure. Because HR is trying to put a square peg in a square hole, and they are just trying to do it as efficiently as possible. Spending time having conversations isn't worth it for them until they have a resume that they can read into their software and do a keyword search or whatever.

So, I don't think there's a functional way to operate in this environment, and simply decline to do so. I was never really interested in this company/position anyway, so nbd. But would be interested in people's thoughts on how to deal with this situation if you are interested. I have some thoughts which I'll share later.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2017, 08:36 PM
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lllj lllj is offline
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I guess this was an internal company recruiter?

There is one company that has a really good internal recruiter who has been willing to talk to me, no promises of a role/no pressure, etc. But that's hard to find. And I have his contact info from a time I applied for a role and thru contacted me for a phone interview but by then I was no longer looking. Have contacted him subsequently about other openings though.

I've gotten unsolicited linkedin messages like the one you describe about openings and have responded asking for details and gotten no response.

With recruiting firms/independent recruiters, one thing that bugs me is they usually won't answer questions over email without setting up a call, unless it's someone you know and work with regularly. Sometimes I see one specific position on the recruiter's website, the rest look uninteresting, and I just want some simple details before I decide whether it's worth my time to have a call - general pay range, big or small company, location, etc.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:56 AM
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Koala Tea Contrail Koala Tea Contrail is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
So, I just ignored that, and a week later got an email that said (in summary) "Why haven't you responded, it's rather unprofessional to not respond".
You were more polite than I would have been.
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They got a hundred something R's to vote yay on the original ACA. What makes you think the R's won't vote yay on a compromise? ?
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I would strongly recommend not doing anything that could be traced back to this forum.
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Let us know if you need any more help understanding the most fundamental building blocks of the actuarial profession.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:58 AM
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Koala Tea Contrail Koala Tea Contrail is offline
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For context: I am not an actuary. I have a line on my resume that mentions that I "help set up customer accounts," and I've gotten more than one email from recruiters about accounting positions. Like, CPA-level stuff. There is literally nothing about "accounting" on my resume.
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Originally Posted by epeddy1 View Post
They got a hundred something R's to vote yay on the original ACA. What makes you think the R's won't vote yay on a compromise? ?
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Originally Posted by Childish Gambino View Post
I would strongly recommend not doing anything that could be traced back to this forum.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete5383 View Post
Let us know if you need any more help understanding the most fundamental building blocks of the actuarial profession.
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Old 05-31-2017, 12:10 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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Yes, story above is an internal recruiter.

I think a general theme, including both my story above, your last para, and the story I will share later, are mostly summarized by "Recruiters insist that you have to do everything their way, and act like you're crazy/horrible/wrong/whatever if you want to ask questions or suggest another way of working together". Well, it's your business, and you know recruiting, but it's my career and I need to be working in my own interest as well, so it's ok if you don't want to work together in a way that makes sense to me - we just won't work together. Would be nice to have some tools to push the recruiter to consider a different path.
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