What about the Recruiter Experience? - from a 20-year Veteran Recruiter

What about the Recruiter Experience? - from a 20-year Veteran Recruiter

Recruiters are often reminded on how important the candidate experience is.  I don't disagree with this. However, there are a few things us recruiters can really use your help on regarding the “The Recruiter Experience.” 

Ready, set, let’s go!

The Resume

I am not going to get into super specifics here, but please know this.  I am not a big fan of Adobe PDF.  It is a major pain to open in many systems for both our clients and us. I need to be able to send the resume to a manager’s phone at times and it does not always open.

Yes, I can convert it.  But we are starting off on the wrong foot from the beginning.  Second thing, unless you are an artist, I don’t need to see graphics on the resume or some sidebar format that you think is cool. It is not. I look at resumes all day. The only thing that is going to make you stand out is you as a qualified applicant.  Tell me what you did. Were you part of a team or did you lead the team? Spell it out for me in simple terms. Write the resume to the job. For example, if you are a JAVA developer, put it ALL OVER your resume.  I am not a mind reader and if I don’t see it at first glance, you are not doing yourself a favor.

Be Patient

Have you ever heard that this is a marathon and not a sprint before?  You have? Good, so this is one of those situations.  We are busy, and even though it is our top priority to fill our open rolls, we very well could have many open positions and are dealing with multiple candidates.  If you are a good fit, I am going to call and email you. No, really I am.

That is my actual job. I place applicants in my company. Usually, I can get back to you within 48 hours of your application. I may email you, call you, or both. Usually, I do both.  Now the email you get may be saying thanks, but you are not a fit.  I am sorry but if I am looking for a database developer and you are a UI expert, you are not a fit. Also, you do not deserve a two-page mea culpa as to why you are not a fit, you should know why.  So when I do call and email, please don’t do the two things I am about to talk about next. 

You applied but…   

…When I call you and introduce myself and company, you have no idea who I am.  You hopefully read the job description.  You know what we are looking for and since you took my advice from up above, I think you are someone I want to talk to.

Now, this is not a deal breaker but are you taking your job search seriously? Are you just applying spamming your resume all over the place?  Please stop being the person that does this. You should at the very least keep a list of where you have applied and have learned a little about my company and my position.  I don’t need you to know the history of my company but give me something I can work with. This brings me to my next frustration.

You applied and…

…and you don’t call us back. You don’t email us back. Why? What have we done to offend you at this point.  There is nothing more frustrating.  You are someone we want to talk to. We email you; We call you, and we get nothing.

I need to fill my positions.  So let’s make an agreement, a pact if you will. Do not apply for a job with us and then go on holiday.  Do not apply for a position then go on vacation. This can be a deal breaker for any recruiter.

It tells us recruiters that you aren't interested in the position.  Neither of these types of people will get to meet a manager I am working with.  Playing hard to get after you have applied does not endear recruiters to you. Recruiters have long memories so if you do apply for another position, chances are you may not hear back even though you are the perfect fit.  


Let me explain this to you upfront and in real simple terms; we do not get paid a bonus, win a TV, or receive additional compensation if you take the job.

We generally have a hard salary that we can pay.  It's usually a hard number given to us by hiring managers.  That’s it.  I don’t want to waste your time or mine. So, be honest in what you want and what you are worth. Base your salary on what you currently make and realize that you are not going to get a 30% bump in pay.

This happens in only the rarest of conditions and lets me tell you that could very well be a red flag for you if the company is willing to do that. They may only need you for a project, and once that is done, you are on the street. I negotiate up front and so should you.  If you are making 100k and I can only pay 90k, that is that. Either you are willing to take the cut or not. I know that there are numerous factors with this and there are recruiters that would shy away from paying you less for fear you would leave.  However, I have had many conversations that were more about the project or team than money, now on to the interview.

The Interview

These tips should be a no-brainer for you, yet the epic fails that I have seen are truly spectacular. One, be on time, heck be early!  Please do not call me 15 minutes before the interview and tell me you are a) lost or b) stuck in traffic. There are multiple map sites and nine times out of ten I have sent you a link from Google maps that direct you to my doorstep.  You live here right? You are in the city that you are interviewing me in? Then you should know the traffic patterns. Accidents happen, and I get that but if you leave yourself enough time so at the very least you can be on time. Next thing is how to dress for the interview. Ask me what is appropriate. Seriously ask. Companies are different in what they expect. Google interviews people in jeans and t-shirts, Accenture not so much.  Never assume anything.

The Casper affect

This one is my favorite pet peeve.  Although it is not overly familiar in the corporate world, it still happens. You just do not show up for the interview. Again why? I mean we are now more than halfway home on this thing. You like me I like you, and then you become a literal ghost, you disappear.  I call, email, I text you, I stalk you and nothing. This is by far the worst thing you can ever do to a recruiter and yourself. One, you have made me look bad to my manager and boss.  I have no idea why I would be blamed for YOU not showing up but believe me you have. Secondly, I am not going to forget this. Not one bit. Seriously I will remember you forever. You will in kind never hear from me again wherever I am working. Recruiters have a tendency to move up an onward, and we always remember the good and the bad, especially the bad.


We are finally there. Our journey has come to a fruitful and successful end. I am going to give you the offer. I am confident that this is only a formality as we have, as stated above have already negotiated the salary. I have gotten your feedback from how you felt the interview went, and you said you were very excited about the role. Then, BOOM!!!! You want more.

You want more money, vacation, or having every other Friday off because you volunteer somewhere.  These are things that should have been brought up during our initial conversation.  You know when I asked you about these things like do you have a vacation coming up or are we settled on the wage.

That's when I discuss this with you not now.  I have other people that you beat out, but that does not mean that they have not gone through the same process. They will more than likely take the offer. 

Oh, and by the way, I have access to the manager. They trust me and you doing this will more than likely tell me to tell you to pound sand. 

In the End

I wrote this from the perspective of my experience as a corporate recruiter because that is what I do, though I think that most recruiters would agree that this is a pretty good list.

Let’s face it there are probably other things that bother recruiters but hey this is my blog so go write your own or add a comment. In fact,  I would love to see some comments.

So, candidates, if you could change these things and share with your friends, it would make OUR “Recruiter Experience” a great deal better. You as a candidate would be amazed at the great experience you would receive back as well.  Trust me when I tell you that we are as genuinely excited as you when none of the above happens.  #truestory   

Tags: Point of View recruiting sourcecon
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