You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 98, “Job Search Blues: Recruiters and Staffing Agencies,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
I will start off by saying that I’ve dealt with a bunch of recruiters over the course of my career. Some good, some bad, and of course, a bunch in between. Naturally, I consider the ones that got me a job “good ones” but at the same time there were a few that did a great job, even though ultimately, I didn’t end up getting the job. Of course, I’ll be focusing on the more sucky ones because, well, that’s more entertaining, and after two months of being out of work, I’m starting to get just a little stir-crazy, so on with the show.
I’ve established that looking for a job online kinda sucks and job fairs kinda suck too. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone! There are companies and people out there that will be more than happy to help you find a job…sort of.
Oh, recruiting agencies and their recruiters. If you’re online, you have have a pulse, and your work history is longer than five days, you’ve likely been e-mailed or called by a recruiter at some point in your career. These overly enthusiastic people will talk to you like they’re your best friend. Many are genuinely friendly, but at the same time, a lot them sound like car salesmen.
After introducing themselves, the recruiter will then ask if you are looking for a job. If you answer yes, then they’ll tell you about position and requirements, and where it’s at, how much it pays and all that wonderful stuff. Often, they’ll also send you an email with job details, and ask you to send back a current resume in response, and then you never ever, hear from them again, which kinda sucks.
It’s a lousy thing to do, it’s unprofessional, as well as a bunch of other mean things that I’d rather not say. I need to say that I don’t know how these people work. For all I know they’re calling fifty people a day and don’t have the time to call all them back to say ‘sorry, we don’t need you right now.’ I get that. At the same time, I’m pretty sure there is some kind of computerized system keeping track of all this stuff. If that computer would just send me an email saying : “Sorry, it didn’t work out,” that would be great. On the rare occasion when a recruiter DOES keep in touch after the fact, I make sure to let them know that I appreciate their professionalism. Sadly, that’s more the exception rather than the rule.
One thing that always throws me off is when I get multiple calls from different people at the same staffing agency within the same week. Once again, I don’t know how things work at those places. I don’t know if potential hires are assigned to a specific recruiter, but when that second guy or gal calls from the same recruiting agency, in my head I’m thinking: “Waitaminute, isn’t the first person already working with me?” The conversation usually gets a little bit awkward after that.
It’s also fun when they don’t bother to check if you aren’t already in their system. Had a fun talk with one of those lately. What made that situation even more maddeing was that I had actually WORKED for that agency years ago.
Equally annoying is when the recruiter does not read your online profile and tries to submit you for a job that you are clearly not qualified for. I have some interest in being a technical writer, so if an entry-level opportunity were to come about, or if someone was willing to give me a shot…HINT HINT…I’d take it. I have to wonder, though, about a recruiter that submits me for a tech writer role that requires years of experience, even after I send them my resume that indicates very little actual tech writing experience. Again, I don’t know how these people or these agencies work, so I wonder if they’re just trying to meet some quota when we go through those motions.
Lately, I’ve been getting a bunch of calls from recruiters that are from, to put it politely: “out of town.” I’ve been contacted by so many of them, at this point that I could set my watch to the routine: First, a phone call comes in from some random state. I tend to not answer out-of-state calls, so after about a minute or so, I find a voicemail waiting for me. Upon listening to the voicemail, I can very easily tell that the caller, to put it politely again, does not speak the language. I will confess to taking particular delight at how these people stumble over and completely mangle my name. I’ve gotten used to the gringo pronunciation of ‘Edwardo’ by now, but folks from a certain part of the world have no idea what to do with it. By the time I have listened to the voice mail, and deleted it, an email will have popped into one of my accounts from that same person featuring poor grammar and a position I have absolutely no interest in.
I then block the phone number, report that email address as spam, and wait for the process to repeat itself. Sorry guys, but no thanks, and I’d rather you not come again.
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I add another phone number to the block list. I am Eduardo Soliz, check out Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and short fiction, and I thank you for listening!