10 things job seekers hate about recruiters

Recruiters are often the gateway to a company you’d like to work for or a particular job you’d love to win. But recruiters aren’t always easy to work with, and often come with a whole host of aggravations that you don’t see as commonly if you’re talking directly with a hiring manager.

First, a quick vocabulary lesson: A hiring manager is the person who would be your manager if you got the job. A recruiter, in contrast, works solely on filling positions, and often works for a recruiting firm and has many different companies as clients. The hiring manager will make the final decision on the hire, but when a recruiter is involved, you often have to go through the recruiter’s own screening process first.

It’s important to note, of course, that there are plenty of great recruiters out there. But there are also a lot of bad ones, and they have their own special ways of frustrating job seekers:

1. Advertising jobs that don’t exist. Staffing agencies are notorious for posting boilerplate ads for jobs that don’t really exist in order to build a database of candidates who they can call on in the future. Agencies defend this by saying that they fill jobs that are similar to the ones advertised all the time – but many job seekers are frustrated when they arrive for an interview, only to discover that there’s no job to be had.

2. Calling candidates at work. You’d think that recruiters would understand why candidates might not want to tip off their employers that they’re job searching, but they regularly call candidates at work without their permission – leaving candidates try to disguise who they’re talking to and why.

3. Contacting candidates about jobs that they’re not remotely suited for. While good recruiters can read a resume and get an initial sense of whether someone might be worth talking to about a particular job, less skilled recruiters sometimes take a more scattershot approach. As a result, they end up pushing graphic designers to interview for programming jobs, researchers to interview for sales jobs, and other obvious mismatches.

4. Misrepresenting jobs. Too many job seekers have been told that they’re interviewing for a position working on A, C, and C, only to meet the hiring manager and discover that she’s really looking for someone to do D and E. Bad recruiters don’t always understand exactly what a hiring manager is looking for or what the work really entails, which leads to frustrated and disappointed candidates, who spent their time interviewing for something that clearly wasn’t a fit.

5. Scheduling phone interviews and then not calling. You cleared time on your calendar, prepared for the interview, and maybe even found child care to ensure that you’d have a quiet time to talk – and then the recruiter doesn’t call at the scheduled time. Recruiters and others involved in hiring who do this to candidates are behaving as if only there time matters, and it’s incredibly inconsiderate. And on the other end of the spectrum…

6. Calling for an unscheduled phone interview and expecting the candidate to drop everything to talk. It’s fine to call a candidate to see if they have a few minutes to discuss a position, but too often recruiters expect the person to drop whatever they’re doing and are put out when they can’t or won’t.

7. Changing candidates’ resumes without their permission. You should maintain control over your resume at all times, but some recruiters will change key details on it without your permission, sometimes even rewriting it inaccurately. This, of course, can result in an awkward moment if you’re meeting with the hiring manager and she asks you about a project you never worked on or thinks you were at your last job longer than you were. (Even good recruiters will remove your contact information from your resume, to ensure that employers can’t go around them and contact you directly, but they shouldn’t be changing anything else without your okay.)

8. Acting excited about a candidate but then dropping out of contact. The ranks of job seekers abound with people who are weary of hearing recruiters describe how perfect they’d be for an open role – only to then never heard from them again. It’s frustrating to be told what a great match you’d be for a position and how excited the recruiter is to have found you, and then be dropped with no explanation or follow-up.

I originally published this at U.S. News & World Report.

{ 144 comments… read them below }

  1. Joey*

    #9. Offering nothing but shitty jobs that sound like they’ll go permanent, but never do.

    #10. Offering you a job that you HAVE to start today or tomorrow.

    1. JM in England*

      #11 Interviewing for a job which then ceases to exist.

      This has happened to me several times this year, the most cited reason being that the budget for the position was cut at the 11th hour. Usually get to hear this when the getting back to me date comes then goes and I end up calling the recruiter to find out what’s going on.

      Have also had #8 happen quite often, so when a recruiter talks about a role in that manner, I now take it with the proverbial pinch of salt!

      1. blu*

        I don’t understand how it’s the recruiter’s fault that a position goes away. Can you clarify? That’s the business’s call not the recruiters

        1. JM in England*

          I’m not saying that it’s the recruiter’s fault per se. However it is frustrating that it takes me calling them to find out that the job has been axed.

          1. JM in England*

            As a postscript, it has always been my understanding that a jobseeker/recruiter relationship is a partnership and it is our respective duties to keep each other in the loop.

        2. Tired of the Rudeness and Lowballing*

          “Lack of follow up” is the problem.
          A canned “you were not selected” e-mail is so easy to do.

      2. nyxalinth*

        Jobs poof into the ether all all the time. I can handle that. But what I don’t like is when recruiters can’t be bothered to get back to me about it. I know they’re busy, but taking five minutes to touch base wouldn’t kill them. First time that happened, the woman ignored my contact attempts, then six months later tried to farm me for contacts. The second time, the guy did respond and was very apologetic and let me know that things had happened with the company and his manager wasn’t telling him what was what, so he couldn’t tell me. but at least he got back to me.

        1. Felicia*

          Jobs poofing out of existence isn’t really the bad part for me, it’s the recruiters poofing out of existence that drives me crazy. It’s just downright rude for them to say they’ll get back to oyu and you never hear from them again.

          1. nyxalinth*

            Yeah, I do agree that that sucks. Taking five minutes to make a call or a short email isn’t a big thing. Maybe i just don’t think so because I’m not on their side of the desk?

        2. Allison*

          Unfortunately when someone works on commission, they’re going to prioritize activities that are likely to land them commission than activities that don’t. I’m not excusing the behavior, just explaining why communication like that falls by the wayside if someone gets busy.

    2. Tony in HR*

      Amen to #10. Those are temp agencies masquerading as recruiters, and that rubs me the wrong way.

    3. Sean*

      I know #10 very well. I got asked 2-3 days ago about a job opening (without any details to what the job even is), and got a call this morning telling me i’m hired and want me to start right now this morning which then I only got the details to about the job and the company.

      Even if the pay si good i still declined and the recruiter violently hunged up on me. To my i’m very skeptical about the fact why would a company hire you for 2 months without interviewing anyone at all?

      Sounds to me more like the recruiter want some fast cahs and didn’t care at all about the process.

    4. Michael*

      Receiving the countless fake job recruiter calls that are really recruiters for career colleges. They often start off with “Hello, my name is … a recruiter for ABC Company. We have some open positions and the opportunity to return to college…” As soon as I hear that I’m done and hang up the phone. I know you’re not calling me about a job, you’re just trying to hook me into paying for your expensive “college” program.

  2. Tovah*

    All of this, yes! I’ve had each and every one of the things you describe happen to me. I am very wary of recruiters now. In my experience they will also lie like carpets when they need to.

  3. Mallorie, the recruiter*

    I hate to say it, but I can literally write this entire list backwards as “10 Things Recruiters Hate About Job Seekers”. I would love to think I am one of the precious few who is actually a good recruiter, but alas, I know there are many out there who are sneaky, disorganized, and otherwise just plain terrible. But- its important to note, it is a 2-way street!

    1. Jay*

      As a job-seeker, I already know all of these things that we dislike about recruiters, but I’d be really curious to see a list the other way around too. Care to have a go at it, Mallorie?

      1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

        Hi Jay! Sure… here are just a few that frustrate me to no end (and often on a daily basis!). I should preface this by saying I am a corporate recruiter for VERY entry level jobs…

        -Applying to every job we have ever had, ever, anywhere. I have had candidates apply to 10 jobs at once, ranging in experience and location. It reeks of desperation and does not make the person look good.
        -Calling me incessantly. Please stop stalking me! I have people who call me over and over (I have caller ID), or people who leave 3+ messages in a day… trust me, take AAM’s advice, give me a few days to get back to you!
        -Applying to positions you are not remotely suited for… goes with the first one. Again, AAM’s advice is priceless… if you meet hardly any of the requirements, don’t waste your time in this market.
        -Missing scheduled phone interviews, in person interviews, or even… wait for it- hanging up on me! This happens to me weekly… people will just not answer when I call, will flat out not show to an interview with the manager, OR will hang up on me mid interview! That has only happened a handful of times, but it always happens suspiciously just as we are getting to the tougher questions. I assume a disconnect and will always call back only to never hear from them again. I don’t get it.
        -Acting excited about a job and then falling off the face of the earth. It is heartbreaking! And as far as I am concerned, I know some other awesome job may have come up, but no email? No call? And I will say, I follow up with EVERY candidate… I know not everyone does. At my company, every single person gets an email one way or the other from us, and if you have gotten as far as an in person interview, you get a call from me. Don’t I deserve the same!

        Anyhoo… hope this was amusing to you :-) Thanks for asking!

          1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

            Well because my positions are entry level, I like to ease them in… you know, tell me about your self, tell me about this job or that job, what is your schedule, etc. Then, the questions do get tougher- I use behavioral interviewing, so I ask things like “Tell me about a time when you had to ____”. I sometimes think the candidate is just not prepared or has never interviewed for anything outside of retail or restaurants. So maybe they get nervous? I am not sure… but I googled it and apparently this does happen to people!!

            1. linuxGuy*

              Sorry, I’ve been doing IT over 30 years. You preface a question with some hypothetical touchy feely HR BS. “Tell me about a time” I hang up on you too.

              1. RP*

                +1 – I agree.

                So-called behavioural competency questions (ones that start with “tell me about a time when ____”) are right up there with “Where do you see yourself in five years time?” in terms of the HR level of bullshittery. People that are dumb enough to ask them *think* they’re getting an insight into your true self, based on the (somewhat credible) idea that past performance is the best indicator of future potential. The trouble is, what you get as an answer actually comes via the rose-tinted memory of a candidate’s recollections about themselves. Not from some magical time window into their objectively-presented past. Anyone with half a brain isn’t going to tell you a story that makes themselves look good. Whether the answer they give you happens to be true or not is a philosophical imponderable as far as the interviewer may be concerned.

                At the very outside, asking Predictable Dumb Questions in interviews *might* help you identify someone that doesn’t tolerate fools well. More likely, though, it’ll just cause clued-up candidates to conclude that you don’t have a clue and are wasting their time. Which will cause them to hang up on you mid-sentence.

                1. RP*

                  Typo!: “Anyone with half a brain isn’t going to tell you a story that makes themselves look good” = “Anyone with half a brain *is* going to tell you a story that makes themselves look good”

        1. JenTheNiceHRGirl*

          This is hilarious! Sadly, there are bad recruiters as well as bad job seekers out there. It all boils down to common sense and respect. I am going to add a couple to these lists though. My favorite “Bad Job Seeker” is the only who sends me the angry email when they didn’t get the job. My favorite “Bad Recruiter” behavior is when recruiters don’t actually know anything about the job or the company and cannot answer basic questions.

          1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

            Oh my, yes. I got reeeeally chewed out by someone about not getting the job. I could not help but think, DODGED A BULLET! But on the flip side of that, just a few weeks ago I got THE NICEST voice mail from someone I had turned down and because of the thoughtful message, I sent her on to interview for another position. So, can’t complain too much… I do get some great candidates here and there :-) And when I am offering a job and they are SO EXCITED… it really makes my job worthwhile! Ok, enough with the sappy-ness!

        2. voluptuousfire*

          Oh yes. I once contacted a candidate about an interview and her friend answered the candidate’s cell phone. When I asked for the candidate and identified myself, the friend says “she’s not interested” and hung up on me. She apparently thought I was a telemarketer, so I called back. (Re-checking the number to be sure I didn’t misdial) The friend answered again and I re-stated who I was and I was calling about a job she had applied for and we were interested in speaking to her and the friend again said “she’s not interested” and hung up on me again.

          Needless to say this was marked in the candidate’s file and her application was promptly rejected.

              1. Tony in HR*

                Sure the friend’s at fault for the rude behavior, but the applicant is at fault for allowing a friend to screen their calls in such a manner. To me, that shows a serious lapse in judgement, poor common sense, and a lack of motivation.

                1. voluptuousfire*

                  She didn’t want the job anymore, which was fine. But it would have been nice to actually speak to the lady herself. :)

        3. Anne 3*

          Yes! I worked as an (external) recruiter when I was in college (mostly for construction/manufacturing jobs) and I recognise so much of this. People would also sometimes straight up no-call-no-show to interviews with hiring managers. Fun explaining that to a client… If you don’t want the job anymore, is it really so hard to pick up the phone for two seconds or write me a quick email so I don’t look like a fool later?

          1. Jessa*

            I’d give em one quick email on the possible presumption that they got confused. Kind of a very very Miss Manners approach of “I am so very sorry, I got this referral that you must have meant for one of your other clients, and I really do not wish for them to miss out on this wonderful offer you have for them. I am after all the client that needs $20 and a job that is close in by bus, and am in this field, not that field. I hope that my sending this back to you is in time for you to re-send it to them and that the opportunity for them is not lost.”

            Kind of very polite overly passive aggressive did you REALLY honestly send this to ME? considering I told you my terms were un-shakably X Y Z not A B C? You must have confused me with client B.

      1. Jessa*

        I think if it involves a major change of information that might make the recruiter look like an idiot, and not telling them they made the change? Yeh. The recruiter is supposed to KNOW about the candidate. Bad ones don’t care. Good ones are supposed to really know what they’re talking about. So it can make them look lousy.

        1. De Minimis*

          Sometimes people have to find something to apply to in order to meet job search requirements for unemployment, especially in locations where there aren’t a lot of jobs opening up on a weekly basis. Still, people should at least try to apply to things that aren’t too much of a stretch.

          During my long period of job searching, I encountered all eight…the worst was probably being sent to an interview where the position was totally inappropriate for where I was in my career. I think I was sent there only because the recruiter had two previous applicants turn down the position [it was not really a good position for people, it was only nominally a job and more something where the owner wanted someone to buy him out.]

          I would also add having applicants come in multiple times to enter the same information as before.

    2. nyxalinth*

      It absolutely is! It’s hard to see that sometimes though: they’re the ones who already have jobs and we’re struggling and get cranky and short sighted when things go south. Thank you for the very true reminder.

      1. JP*

        I think I was the naughty job seeker recently. I’ve never worked with a recruiter before, so when one contacted me, I was excited that we had a great conversation. He asked what I was looking for and I said, “I’m an editor in DC, I don’t have a car, so I can’t go anywhere that’s not pretty well accessible by public transportation (or easily bikeable), and I can’t take less than $20/hr.”

        He said “Great! You’re super-qualified for a bunch of things. I’ll get back to you!” He emailed me the next day with a job as an HR Assistant that would be a 2-hour commute via 3 buses each way and paid $12 an hour.

        I ignored the email figuring that, if he was so far out of the range of everything I said, I didn’t really want to work with him. Would that be considered rude from the recruiter side? Should I have at least emailed him and said, “Sorry, but that’s not what I’m looking for–but please keep in touch”?

        1. Greg*

          Yes, you should always do the polite thing and respond. But considering that the recruiter clearly didn’t listen to your criteria, I’d say it’s no great loss to burn that relationship.

        2. Mallorie, the recruiter*

          A quick email wouldn’t hurt, per se, but wow…. nice to know that guy was not listening AT ALL. I mean, the commute thing I can look past because he may not be AS familiar as you… but the salary. Good gracious!

  4. Chriama*

    The article (both here and on US News) says 10 things but there are only 8 list items. Did I miss a second page or something?

  5. ChristineSW*

    Yup, I’d say I’ve had a few of these happen to me over the years with staffing agencies. My most disappointing experience was with an industry-specific agency; I think my total travel time (by train) was longer than the interview itself! Such a waste of my time and energy.

    I have one item to add: Not considering candidate preferences. I don’t have a drivers license due to my eyesight; years ago, I’d applied with a well-known (at the time) agency. I don’t remember exactly what I told them, but while they called me several times with jobs, I had to turn them all down because I had no way to get there. I was pretty certain that they knew the geographic areas I was limited to. (Now, I don’t even bother because of the often short-notice nature of temping, and I need time to figure out transportation logistics).

    In defining “recruiter”, might these also apply to internal recruiters? (i.e. the HR department of the hiring company)

    1. AnonintheUK*

      My favourite was a recruiter to whom I had said, very specifically, that I had only just bought my house so I was not interested in moving.
      (For background, I had a job, I was just looking for something better, and I live 10 miles from a small city and 20 from a large town, in either of which something would – and indeed did – turn up sooner or later.)
      So she phoned me, full of enthusiasm, about a role, and I asked where it was.
      ‘City B!’ she said. Um. City B is, by road, 101 miles from my house. She did not seem to have appreciated that. At all. I suggested the firm invest in a map.

      1. Ruffingit*

        It’s always awesome when recruiters do that. I live in a major metro area in the US with surrounding cities and it’s incredible how many will say “There’s an opening in Surrounding City X!” UM…yeah, that would be a 50 miles commute one way, which would take at least 90 minutes on a good day with all the traffic in this city. That might be doable depending on the job, but inevitably the jobs they are trying to fill pay crap wages making it not worth the gas to travel to them.

        1. Tired of the Rudeness and Lowballing*

          You can add the crazy, unqualified manager that you will be reporting to.

      2. ThursdaysGeek*

        Yeah, I had recruiters calling about jobs in the Seattle area, and since I was in Washington state… Sorry, I’ve said I’m not interested in moving, and 200+ miles one way doesn’t make me an available candidate. I’ve wanted to suggest they look at a map, but never actually did.

        1. Anonymous12*

          I’ve had multiple contacts from the in-house recruiters at a giant web firm that’s expanding from Washington into other states. I’ve told them I’m not interested in relocating, but I’d certainly talk to them if they decide they’re looking for people in my city.

          Then I got an email with the subject line “Get out of the rain and work in sunny California!” The job was 500 miles north of my city, in one of the wetter areas of California.

          1. voluptuousfire*

            I once got an email from a staffing agency recruiter who said I was a great fit for the position they were recruiting for–in Duluth, MN. I live in NYC.

    2. EE*

      Oh yes, geographic restrictions! I had a recruiter call and suggest a job on the other side of the large metropolitan area. I said it was too far, especially since I didn’t have a car. He said, “right, but there’s a train”. When I said that I was actually quite familiar with going in that direction and it took a very long time, he turned nasty and said, “fine, if a 30-minute train journey is that much of a problem for you…”

      Needless to say, the journey would take FAR longer.

  6. Rob Bird*

    AAM: Do you think these issues with recruiters are due to the economy? I have seen many instances of recruiters/employers doing things they normally wouldn’t because there are so many people looking for work. If one person doesn’t like it, there are 10 others willing to put up with it.


    1. Joey*

      There are two different types of recruiters: 3rd party recruiters are more likely to be sleazy. I know there are some good ones out there, but this is generally their business model-have a pool of candidates ready to go when an employer calls. To make things easier on themselves they tend to misrepresent more. Recruiters of the actual employer are on the whole less sleazy, but still aren’t as in sync with the actual job as a hiring manager.

      1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

        Agreed Joey. As you said, I hate to cast a negative light on all agency recruiters, because I am sure there are some great ones. But as a corporate recruiter myself, I know that I and my coworkers are held to very high standards by the company. We do not have the ability to be ‘lone wolfs’ like an agency recruiter is, so we have less wiggle room with bad behavior! Not to mention I feel like I am REALLY representing my company. An agency recruiter is filling a position, I am filling a position for the same person who employs me. If I am mean, nasty, or dishonest with candidates, it speaks very negatively of the company as a whole. I try to be very mindful of that.

        1. periwinkle*

          Speaking as someone formerly in the agency world – we too had to hold to high standards. After all, if we presented unsuitable and/or unhappy candidates, why would the client let us handle any other positions?

          Maybe it’s a matter of agency size and specialization. We were a very small agency that recruited for a very specific set of position types for a certain type of client. Building solid long-term relationships (with both clients and contractors) was essential for keeping us in business!

          Maybe we should have a top 10 list of things agency recruiters hate about clients – not bothering to get back to us about our candidates, not letting us know a position has been closed/de-funded/substantially revised, rejecting candidates because they don’t have a specific mandatory skill that the client forgot to tell us about at any point up until then…

          Sigh. I don’t miss the recruiting world.

      2. Ed*

        I would take it a step further for 3rd-party recruiters and break them down into two groups: an agency that is exclusively filling a position (or all positions for that company) and recruiters that have never spoken to anyone at the company but the company is allowing any recruiter to submit candidates. When I was job hunting and had my resume on Dice, I would get calls at 8 PM pressuring me to let them submit me first and then I would get 5-10 more calls for the exact same job the next morning. Almost without exception, the callers were from India. They are very easy to weed out because they literally can’t tell you *anything* about their “exclusive client”.

        1. Joey*

          Sorry, but less sleazy is for all of the recruiters who act as if they have an endless stream of candidates all raising their hands saying, “pick me, pick me” and think they have the luxury of treating candidates poorly. I’m sure you’ll agree that they probably are the rule and not the exception.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes — I’d say it goes along with the overall trend of employers also becoming more inconsiderate of candidates, because the market right now allows them to.

  7. Alan Wexelblat*

    You wrote “less skilled recruiters sometimes take a more scattershot approach”. I would have written “lazy $profanity recruiters use a keyword matcher and will shotgun-contact everyone whose resume got spit out based on that keyword match.

    I cannot count the number of responses to recruiters I have made that start with, “If you’d read my resume you’d know that…”

    My ‘favorite’ was the lazy $profanity who insisted on calling me and saying he didn’t have my email address despite the two being listed side-by-side on my resume.

  8. LOLwhut*

    Seriously, does anyone have a positive story about working with a recruiter? I really don’t have a single one. I consider them somewhere beneath lawyers and maybe a hair above real estate agents.

    The final straw for me was when I waited a whole 24 hours to call a recruiter back. In the middle of the call, she told me she had something urgent to do and she’d call me right back. Nope, never heard from her again. I’ll never even give one them them the time of day again.

    Maybe it’s because most of the recruiters I’ve dealt with come from one corporation with an exceedingly poor reputation (that shall remain nameless but its initials are RHI). But when you tell me there are some really good recruiters out there, I find it difficult to believe.

    1. Yup*

      I’ve had positive experiences (and some pretty terrible ones). The positive ones were pretty straightforward: Company ABC was hiring for a specific position, and used Recruiter XYZ to handle the whole process. The recruiter posted the position with enough detail that I applied. I did a first interview with the Recruiter, and then a second interview with the hiring company. I was either hired outright, or as a temp-to-perm for a 90 day trial with an offer from the hiring company at the promised salary at the end of the probationary period. No fuss, no muss. In fact, for two instances the recruiting firm was actually saner and easier to deal with than the hiring company. But this was all pre-recession, so things might be different now.

      I’m sure my terrible stories are exactly like everyone else’s (total sh*tshows).

    2. bo bessi*

      I worked with a really great recruiter to get my current job. She had a few positions in mind before our initial meeting and ran them by me before she submitted me to the companies. Once I was hired, she kept in contact every couple weeks to make sure everything was going well, and I assume she did that on the employer side as well. We still use them occasionally to fill similar positions.

      I have noticed though that if the recruiters find you themselves, they are more likely to be interested in you and want to help. I’ve referred a few friends to the same recruiting firm, and they’ve gotten nowhere.

    3. Sabrina*

      Not sure if these qualify as “good” but they both got me jobs. Eventually.

      1. Recruits a lot for my old company & my old position. Overall, she was great. Except when she was coaching me on the interview she had her radio going and a Melissa Etheridge song came on. She said “I used to like her before I found out she was gay.” Nice.

      2. My current job was temp to hire through an agency. They said 3 months and “everyone” gets hired. Right. Average is 5-6 months, I was a year with a 4 month layoff in between due to budget issues. They knew it wasn’t 3 months up front and still lied about it.

    4. Mary*

      My last three jobs have been contracting and I have received them by recruiters contacting me (good thing to say about them). The frustrating part is that when they say they are submitting you for a job (after you have pretty much interviewed with them, signed your agreement for an hourly salary, written a cover letter, etc.) and then I email them (I never have called) about a week later to inquire about the status, they do not even have the courtesy to say: the company, never got back to me, they decided to go with someone else, etc.

      Since I usually have two to three recruiters from different companies contacting me about the same job, I am now keeping a list of recruiters who have never replied to my email and will tell them, because of their lack of common courtesy, I will not be using them again.

      I am in technology marketing and I do get people contacting me for computer programming jobs, etc. Annoying, but since usually done by email, I just delete.

    5. Meg*

      I have better experience with in-house recruiters as opposed to 3rd party. What I mean by in-house is that I’m a full-time employee of a contracting company who recruited me directly. My paychecks come from the company, and not my client.

      1. some1*

        Ditto. The internal HR Dept at my current job was so professional and accomadating when I was a candidate.

    6. Chinook*

      My current position is through an agency and is going well. Considering the company has basically created a new position, hiring through an agency for someone as temp to hire is the most logical way to make the business case to keep it. The hiring process was smooth. Whether or not they keep the position or me will be up to the company and not the agency.

    7. Cathy*

      I’ve never actually gotten a job through an outside recruiter, but I’ve had positive interactions with several. They were communicative, professional, followed-up after interviews, were clearly doing their best to make a good match between me and the employer. Those are the ones I call when I need to hire someone. The ones who contacted me, asked for tons of info and changes to my resume, and then never got back to me are the ones I don’t do business with as a hiring manager.

      Last time I was job hunting I was contacted by a recruiter I’d done business with in the past as a hiring manager, and they were really awful, even though they knew I’d hired from them before. I’m once again in a position to hire people, but this firm is off my list. If they reach out to me, I’ll be honest about the reason.

      1. VictoriaHR*

        Last year when I was job hunting, I interviewed for a recruiter position at an IT sourcing agency. They never said yay or nay, and never responded to my follow-up note. Very poor communication. Then just within the last week, that company reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in a different IT Recruiter role. I flat-out said “I applied and interviewed for a recruiter role there in 2012. Unfortunately after my interview, the recruiter never returned my email and I only assumed that I didn’t get the position because I never heard anything further. I felt disrespected by your company at that time, so I don’t think I would be interested in this position.”

        Shockingly, he never responded to my email.

    8. periwinkle*

      Yes! A friend recommended that I talk with a specialized small agency recruiter she knew. That resulted in a placement that went permanent and shaped my career path.

      But even the MassiveMegaMonolith agencies can be good if you’re lucky. I had mixed luck with one such agency (rhymes with Smelly), but then they put me in a temp spot that also went permanent. So you never know.

    9. Tony in HR*

      Funny you mention RHI, because they’re the best agency I worked with where I am. There was only one other I’d even give the time of day locally. All the rest were either flat-out rude, flaky, unresponsive, or one of the eight on Alison’s list.

    10. Anonymous*

      Nope. Just really shady experiences with 2 recruitment agencies. 1 was RHI and the other was a fly-by-night agency.

      I’d only had 2 jobs in my life when contacted by RHI- 1 as a grocery store cashier and 1 in my field. The recruiter berated me in the interview for not having references from 3 managers. Well, I couldn’t use my current manager at the time and only had 1 other manager I could use and that was from my grocery store days.

      He became upset and said I “wasted his time” and I told him to discard my resume and I didn’t wish to be contacted by them ever again. And quite frankly, if he’d have read my resume, he’d have seen I’d held only 2 jobs at that time. It may have just been that particular recruiter but going to them again would only be if I was desperate for a job.

  9. Ruffingit*

    Earlier this year, I contacted a recruiter recommended to me by a friend. I spoke with her on the phone and she wasn’t sure she could help me, but said “Send me your resume and I will call you back with a time to come see me in person and we can discuss the resume.”

    Three months later and I never received that phone call from her. But I have received a “lovely” group e-mail from her asking that we update her on where we are in our job searches and let her know if we need anything. UM…yes, we need you to keep your word and call when you say you’re going to.

    I have not called her myself because I got the distinct impression from what she said on the phone that there is nothing she can do to help me and in any case, I found another job so I no longer need her. But still…if you say you’re going to call to set up a time to speak with me in person, then do that or at least send me an e-mail telling me you will not set that in-person meeting up because you don’t feel you can help me. No problem either way, but don’t just leave me hanging.

    1. nyxalinth*

      Yup. I’ve had this happen. Resume farming sucks. Attempts to farm my resume for contacts should be #9 on the list. First time I got one of those emails (the old ‘We have this position in blah blah, pass it on to a friend and have them come in.’), I said I’d be interested in the position myself. The recruiter ignored me.

      I got another one a year later, said the same thing, and they invited me to come in and discuss my job search and update my resume (which in my experience seems to mean “So we we can mine it for new contacts since the last time we talked to you” because really, how is my resume any different than the last time you saw it?

      I asked her if there were any actual positions and she just kept telling me to come in and talk and at that point I politely declined and said I didn’t want anymore emails from them.

  10. AnonintheUK*

    The worst one I have ever encountered was one who tried very, very hard to sell me on a job. It would have been a lateral move, and one which would have involved an extra half hour’s travel each way, the latter of which would have absorbed any pay bump. So I told her I was not interested.

    She then tried to get me to go out and see the firm, to which I said no, because I would not be taking the job so there was no point. In the end, she was so persistent I told her that I wanted to be taken off the recruitment firm’s database.

    A couple of weeks later, I was at a continuing professional development lecture when I was approached by the woman who would have been my boss. Apparently, the recruiter had given her a description of me, on the basis that I would run into her sooner or later and in the hope that I might be swayed by an in-person chat!

  11. Allison*

    This is why I don’t want to work for a staffing agency; seems like recruiters are basically expected to pull sneaky maneuvers like this to get ahead. I did fall for a boilerplate job ad when I was fresh out of school. I didn’t mind it at the time, but it was a bit of a pain to get all dressed up and pay the train fare to get into the city, then fill out a bunch of forms, only to find they didn’t actually have any jobs I was qualified for.

  12. Mike C.*

    N+1: Harvesting a job seeker’s resume and trying to represent them without permission, causing confusion and making the hiring manager uneasy about the candidate.

    N+2: Acting like we should be thankful for unsolicited contact. If you want me to drop everything to speak with you, that offer better be out the door amazing or you’re wasting my time.

    1. Anon*

      I always feel like that first one should be illegal. It’s stealing someone’s information and representing themselves as that person’s agent without there being any agreement to allow it. And then it sabotages that person’s chances. It’s basically theft and fraud.

      1. Mike C.*

        I agree here. If someone wants to enter into such an agreement that’s just great, but to do it without express knowledge and permission in such a way that makes a hiring manager want to throw out your application just blows my mind.

  13. evilintraining*

    Add: Recruiters for insurance companies who contact anyone and everyone who posts their resume on a major job seeking website to try to talk them into selling insurance, regardless of their experience and skill set.

    Recruiting went bad when it became a sales position, with sales-type targets, in my opinion.

  14. MP*

    My experiences with recruiters have been decent. A few annoyances, but nothing too serious. Only one stands out in my mind – a guy who called me at work. I was quite taken aback when I answered the call, and then asked him how he got my work number: “Oh, I called your cell phone first but it went to voicemail, so I decided to use google to find the company switchboard and then asked for you”.

    It was for a hard-to-fill 3 month job that “might turn permanent”.

    There’s a reason I sent all calls to voicemail during work hours…..

  15. Lillie Lane*

    I get frustrated in situations where a recruiter is the only way in to a large company (unless you know somebody already in the company, of course). If the recruiter is flaky or doesn’t like you, you’ve blown your chance there — even if the job and manager would be a great fit. I work in a niche field and most of the recruiters I have worked with are not familiar with that field, so I’m always left wondering if they don’t see that I’m qualified or suited for a particular position, even if (by the job description, at least) I feel that it’s a great fit for me.

  16. Felicia*

    #3 and #6 have happened to me before…they insist I would be perfect for a job and i find out the job description has skills/experience requirements I dont have or am even interested in. Or I get one that calls me for an unscheduled phone interview, and if i cant talk to them that second, I never hear from them again because as one once said “i ruined my chances”

    1. JM in England*

      “I ruined my chances” is just so naff sounding, Felicia and I sympathise with you. :-(; it says more about the recruier than it does you.

      I don’t think recruiters realise that phone interviews require at least as much prep as that needed for an in-person one. Plus you also need to be in a comfortable and quiet location. From my own experience, once got an unsolicited phone interview call when I wasout shopping. As you can guess, location was less than suitable and I said so to the caller; surprise, surprise, never heard from them again!

      1. Felicia*

        I suppose thinking about it now it’s best not to work with them….but it was actually a call 10 minutes before I was going into a doctor’s appointment, I said I would call them back, but they told me no, they had to speak to me right now or I ruined my chances. I have also had the experience where i schedule a phone interview for let’s say 9 am and then they don’t call me until 11 am and they get mad at me for it no longer being a good time.

  17. Anon*

    One thing I’ve been curious about: why don’t some job ads name the company? They’ll say “we’ve been hired by our client to fill X job. Client is a large corporation devoted to X, Y, Z with great benefits and work/life balance!”

    I see these all the time and never apply, because I research companies before I apply to find out if there are any dealbreakers and if I even want to work there. And I’m always confused by why they don’t just name the company. I wonder if the company has a terrible record or otherwise doesn’t want to stand behind their name. I also wonder why companies described as large (not the start-ups, those I understand) are hiring this out instead of having their own jobs site.

    Basically, when companies do this, I am very suspicious. But it’s so widespread, I figure there has to be a good reason for the secrecy and games. ;)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They don’t want you to apply directly, because they’ll lose the commission and/or because the company doesn’t want to deal with people applying directly.

      1. JM in England*

        It’s much the same story over here in England and recruiters have told me what you have said, Alison. However, the job’s location is often stated in the ad, so I can make educated guesses as to whom the company might be.

      2. some1*

        & if it’s an internal recruiter, there could be someone in the position they are looking to replace.

    2. Yup*

      One place where I worked hired recruiting agencies specifically so they didn’t have to list their name in the ad. They were a big-name organization with a very small staff, so hiring was unusually competitive and they weren’t set up to handle huge volumes of applicants. So they’d contract a recruiting agency to handle all of their hiring and pre-screening, including first interviews. Even so, we’d still get phone calls every week from people asking about job openings.

    3. Cathy*

      As a candidate, I’ve matched up recruiters’ ads to the company by googling the title and keywords from the ad and locating the posting on the company’s own website. I always apply directly if I can figure out who the company is. Recruiters don’t want you to do this because they don’t get a placement fee, but it’s cheaper for the company and it puts you, as the candidate, in a better negotiating position.

      As a hiring manager, I can offer some relocation reimbursement, a signing bonus, and maybe possibly a slightly higher salary if we’re not paying that placement fee.

        1. Cathy*

          The placement fee is typically 20% to 30% of the first year’s salary, depending on what HR has negotiated with the specific recruiting agency. So for the positions I need to fill, and am likely to use a recruiter for, the cost ranges from $15K to $36K. There’s also a time guarantee, so if the candidate leaves within 3 or 6 months (again whatever HR has negotiated), we get a replacement without paying another fee.

          How much of the saved recruiting fee can go into perks for a direct candidate varies. Starting someone at a higher salary is an ongoing cost and also makes benefits cost more (life insurance, 401K match, profit sharing are based on salary), so it’s usually easier to talk my management into a signing bonus or relocation expense reimbursement than a better salary.

          I don’t use recruiters for entry level positions as I have plenty of contacts at the local universities who are glad to steer those candidates my way.

        2. Recruiter-eh?*

          Our agency charges 15%-$20% of a candidate’s first year salary for permanent placements (we are in a small market, so our company also does temporary, contract and temp-to-hire which have different rates and types of billing)

  18. ThursdaysGeek*

    #12 – when recruiters leave a message on my voice mail, spoken very fast and in a accent different accent than mine, from a bad cell connection: “HiThisIsSKKkkcallingSKkksPosition.IfYou’reInterestSkkkssCallBackSKKSss834SKkkss4.ThankYou.” The numbers I could make out didn’t match the numbers on the caller ID, and after listening to it several times, I finally deleted it. I couldn’t tell what the job was nor could I figure out the number to call and find out.

  19. Naomi*

    In between graduating from college and my current job, I had a two-month designing and maintaining a simple WordPress website (I had no previous web design experience and was working for a nominal fee). I then got contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn for a much higher level web developer job that required knowledge of Java etc., when it was clear from my profile I had none of the required skills.
    I’ve had hiring managers be problematic before, too though. Once I had to take a 3 hour train ride each way to an interview, pay for my own ticket, and then it took them over a month longer than promised to contact me. Even then, it was only because I emailed for an update–the snail mail rejection letter showed up three weeks after that.

  20. Cara Carroll*

    You forgot to define the HR Representative who does it all (recruiting, hiring, interviewing, on boarding, etc)! :)

    #2 and #6 I have an issue with. I will call candidates at my convenience regardless if the candidate has a job or not. I figure if they answer a number they do not recognize then they are taking the risk of who might be on the other end. If you are in a job search in you get a call from a number that you do not recognize and you are not in a situation to talk, why are you answering it at all?! And I know some might think, “if I don’t I might be missing an opportunity”. Let me add that I am *also* a job seeker. I have not once missed a call, which in turn meant I missed an opportunity. Usually the Recruiter will leave a message or send a follow up email shortly after if not immediately after. And if they don’t just Google the number, before just calling it back. Of course if it isn’t listed then you will just have to call back with no preparation, but at least you can allow yourself to get to a quite place. Even if you just need a few min. to run outside, to your car, or take an early lunch that is better than answering when you can’t really talk then being annoyed by the caller. I have also been able to Google numbers and find the person’s email, LinkedIn, etc. So then I can just email them right away and let them know I saw the call but was unable to answer and try and schedule something else that works.

    A little off topic:
    I once had a candidate who I scheduled a call with. I called her at the exact time we had agreed upon via email. She didn’t answer. I didn’t leave a voice mail because she should have known my number from my email signature, just my personal feeling. She emailed a few hours later to tell me she didn’t answer because my number wasn’t local. I thought it was a poor excuse. Thoughts?

    1. Tony in HR*

      I think the issue isn’t with calling them during work hours. Every recruiter should understand that the candidate might be busy/working and be flexible with that. The issue sounds like it’s with the recruiter calling the candidate’s work phone.

      1. Cara Carroll*

        I didn’t think of that. I guess since this article seemed more geared towards staffing, not corporate, recruiters I could see that happening. As a corporate recruiter I would never even think to do that unless the number the candidate puts on their resume is a work phone, which I hope they would never do! I was speaking of a phone number from the candidates resume which is usually their cell/personal phone.

        1. Vicky*

          There *is* an issue with calling during work hours, I’m not going to jump up every 5 minutes that I get a recruiter/unknown number calling me and I’m not going to answer a number that I’m not familiar with. I expect recruiters to leave a voicemail because I’m working and looking for a better position. I have had days where I was getting 4 or 5 phone calls a day when I applied for several jobs (all of which I qualified for) with my CV that included my personal number.

          I sit right beside my manager, if I’m getting a phone call several times a day with my phone on vibrate or even silent I’m not going to run out in the hallway each time without raising several eyebrows.

      2. Lynn*

        Yeah, that’s what I thought too, the complaints are with recruiters who dig up a candidate’s work number (which isn’t on their resume) and call that. I think in general, candidates need to be prepared to get calls on their personal cell phone and briskly walk someplace private (this was awesome when I worked at the geometric center of a LARGE building), and not list their work number on their resume. Recruiters, for their part, should not be ambushing people on their work phones.

    2. VictoriaHR*

      I’ve had job candidates answer the phone at 10 am, obviously half asleep, going “whoisitzzzzz” and then when I ask if it’s a good time to talk, they say no and ask if they can call me back. Why answer if you’re just going to tell me you can’t talk? Just let it go to voicemail, I’ll leave a message, and you can call me back at your convenience.

      I’m with you to a degree. If someone’s applying for jobs, they can’t expect that the recruiters or hiring managers will only call during non-business hours. Put your phone on silent, don’t answer it, and return calls on your lunch break. It’s not hard.

      1. Felicia*

        Why answer if they can’t talk? Usually because they don’t know who it is and think it could be urgent, or don’t expect to be interviewed on the spot (a call to schedule a phone/ in person interview, fine. Actually interviewing me when I applied 2 months ago, haven’t heard from you since, and haven’t had any time to prepare? Not ok.

        1. Sabrina*

          Exactly. I don’t expect to answer every phone call and have a 20-30 minute phone interview on the spot.

        2. Jessa*

          Because maybe that call was my father in law’s neighbour informing us that he was ill again and telling us they called the ambulance. I didn’t have all his friend’s numbers memorised when he was dying. Maybe it’s the back line of one of our doctor’s offices.

          Just because the phone rings and someone in the house is looking for a job does not mean that it’s about the job.

          Also, when you’ve answered phones in one way or another for the better part of over half your life (I mostly managed answering services, customer service departments and groups of administrative assistants,) your natural reflex awake or asleep, is to answer the *($&($7 PHONE darn it. Particularly in a household with disabled people and who had up until they died, elderly, ill relatives. I’m over 50 years old, I learnt when I was 5 how to pick up the 2nd line in my grandfather’s house (he had a home based business,) and to answer that with the business name as soon as I could say the name of the company and say “I’ll get grandpa, please wait.” Leave a phone ringing to the answering machine? Maybe when I’m FULLY AWAKE. When I’m asleep? Heck depending on what I was dreaming who knows how I’ll answer? “Good morning thank you for calling Blah Company may I take your order?” I mean seriously. Sleeping people are not able to run a ANSWER YES/NO decision tree.

          1. Jessa*

            Oh and just to add since I normally for most of the last 30 years worked overnights, I tend to be asleep at 10 am. So yeh. Some people even if you call their home they might be asleep.

      2. Anne 3*

        The voicemail can be a whole other mess, though. Maybe it’s because I recruited a lot of students for seasonal work, but there were a surprising amount of people who would just record 3 minutes of some dumb song as their voicemail message. Or do the “Hello? Hello? … Hahaha I’m not here leave a message” spiel. If I have to sit through that to leave you a message… never mind, I’ll call someone else.

        1. Jessa*

          Oh yes. One thing I always did, and always advised family members to do. If you are looking for a job, the answering machine message should go something like “You have reached x number, please leave a message.” Something neutral and polite. If you want to put your name do it (some women particularly do not for safety reasons.) But at least give the number so they can back check if they’ve dialled correctly. Turn off any cutesy messages. You can put them back once you’ve been hired, if you don’t use that number for business purposes.

      3. KellyK*

        Yeah, I’m very much in agreement with Felicia, Sabrina, and Jessa—people answer the phone because it might be important, and it’s not reasonable to be critical of someone for answering the phone at a time when they weren’t able to discuss a job opening.

        1. Jessa*

          This, and even if they’re expecting a call about a job, one calls to SCHEDULE an interview. One does not call and have an interview. That’s not a nice thing to do to people. They may have plans. Even if they have a free bit of time, they may have a child in the room that is not being looked after. The time may go over, and they may be thinking “well I have 30 minutes, but at 35 I must leave to catch a bus,” and you are never going to make the interview actually only last 30 minutes.

          It’s simply NOT reasonable to call someone and expect them to be able to drop everything and talk to you RIGHT DARNED NOW.

        2. Jamie*

          I agree. I am a world champion phone screener, but when someone I love has something going on medically or my kids aren’t home I always pick up in case it’s an emergency.

          Case in point – last Thursday night the phone rang at 9:34 pm and I was already ranting about how it had better be an emergency and if it wasn’t …I would have been quite terse, because I was ready for bed. It was the EMT calling to tell me my youngest was en route to the hospital as he was hit by a car while riding his skateboard. (He’s okay – walked away with a concussion and a lot of road rash, but he’s otherwise okay. Considering both the cops and EMTs initially thought he was dead on the scene he is one very lucky boy.)

          So – big reminder of why I answer the phone even when I don’t want to.

          It’s like the old Miss Manner’s advice of being “in” to some people and not others. I’m always in for emergencies, doctors, and my kids. That doesn’t mean I’m in for social chat or non emergency work stuff.

          You know – after the dust settled and I knew he was okay (because he was arguing with me about wanting to go out before doctor’s clearance – sigh) I thought about that thread we had a while back about the necessity or not of cell phones. Where he was hit was about 2 blocks from the fire station…so because the driver and witness had cell phones the ambulance was there literally in under 2 minutes. If they had to run to the nearest open business to call it would have been at least 10-15 minutes…time which my son would have been unconscious, alone, and bleeding in a parking lot.

          That sounded more dramatic than intended, but there’s no other way to say it. That’s why I see cell phones as insurance, even if you don’t ever want to have to use them if something happens you damn sure want coverage.

  21. Lee*

    5. Scheduling phone interviews and then not calling.

    I’ve had 3 interviews in the last 6 months where a physical interview has been scheduled, my availability for the day is ensured etc. And then poof! HR Managers and/or recruiters disappear and refuse to take calls. If you want to cancel an interview, let me know in advance. Don’t refuse my calls/emails when I ask you for more details like the time of the interview or the venue. Is that too much to ask for?!!

  22. A. D. Kay*

    #13: When you work in tech and the recruiter thinks Java and Javascript are the same thing, and tries to sell your resume based on the wrong one

    #14: When the recruiter tries to get you to supply the names and personal contact info of upper management after you’re hired

    Yes, those were both the same recruiter.

    1. Greg*

      My favorite “clueless tech recruiter” story involves David Heinemeier Hansson, the inventor of Ruby on Rails, getting a blind email from a Groupon recruiter who clearly had no idea who he was: https://gist.github.com/dhh/1285068

      Don’t miss jrmehle’s comment, which may be the funniest of all time:
      Recruiter: How many years of Rails experience do you have?

  23. VictoriaHR*

    There are good and bad examples of any profession out there.

    As a recruiter, I feel ashamed that there are those out there who give us a bad name. However, I feel it’s important to make the distinction that there is such a thing as a corporate recruiter (I am one), that works for the company in question and no one else. I am employed by the company. I do not work for a staffing agency or any other. I only recruit and place people for my company.

    I feel like most of the recruiters who do the items on Alison’s list are the staffing agency variety, not corporate recruiters.

    If a recruiter has an email address ending in @companyname.com, then they’re a corporate recruiter and they’re not some sort of bug on the bottom of your shoe.

  24. Ontarah*

    Wow, that article just makes me wonder why companies use recruiters at all. It just seems like a way to pay more money for misinformation.

  25. Ontarah*

    Also, I’ll add another thing to the list:

    Personality tests. Part of the screening process for certain recruiters seems to be the “take this to prove you are an extrovert” test. This is ridiculous for several reasons. 1). It implies that only an extrovert could do well at the position, sometimes at a position where being talkative and outgoing isn’t even necessary. 2). These tests are extremely easy to dupe. Once you know the basic break-down of personality types, you can make a test say whatever you want it to say by choosing certain answers.

  26. Greg*

    Ugh on 2 and 5. I once had a recruiter call me at my (open floor-plan) office, engage in a long conversation, ask me questions it was impossible to answer without exposing the nature of the conversation (eg, “What type of role are you looking for?”) and then have the nerve to tell me, “You don’t sound very excited about this role. Or are you just not a very chatty person?”

    Separately, I once had a recruiter schedule a call between me and a hiring manager who didn’t pick up the phone when I called. So she rescheduled the call (still not putting me directly in touch with the HM) and the same thing happened again! I started to wonder if I was somehow being scammed. I told her, “I don’t know whether it was her fault or yours, but I really don’t care. My time is too valuable to waste like that.”

    Also, this has never happened to me, but I once heard a horror story from a recruiter friend of mine: He knew a job seeker who had applied to a company where, unbeknownst to him, a recruiter had submitted his resume without his permission. When the recruiter found out about his candidacy, he notified the employer that he would demand a commission if they hired them. As a result, the company, which didn’t have a commission budgeted for the role, pulled the offer. If a recruiter ever did that to me, my only question would be whether I should call a lawyer or just show up at his office and slug him.

    1. Anne 3*

      How is that even possible? If there’s no proof of any contact between the candidate and the recruiter, the recruiter has no leg to stand on. The company should have stood its ground, imo.

      1. Jessa*

        I honestly believe there needs to be either a contract or an email or some proof of PERMISSION before a recruiter can get paid for sending a resume. You have no right to represent ANYTHING about me and if I ever found out it was done I WOULD sue if I found out that I lost a job based on it. I cannot believe that nobody has found a way to require them to have your PERMISSION to represent you. Actual PROVABLE permission.

  27. voluptuousfire*

    Recruiter Pet Peeve # 1,006:

    When a recruiter brings you in for a meeting with them and doesn’t even give you the courtesy of a few moments of their time.

    Years ago after graduating college I had been contacted by a recruiter who wanted to schedule a meeting with me to discuss my resume. I spent an hour plus commuting to his office. When I got to his office, he walked me down the corridor and asked me for a copy of my resume. I pulled out my folder and gave him one and he perused it as we walked down the hall. He escorts me into his office and I go to sit in the chair across from his desk so we can go over my resume. Before my butt could even hit the seat, he goes “thank you for coming in. I’ll be in touch” and escorts me out. I was there all of 2 minutes. I spent an hour traveling there. At least give me a

    For about two years or so after that, I received a spam email from this jackass recruiter every few months, asking if I was still looking for employment, if I knew anyone who was looking, etc. Each time I told him he treated me like a jerk and to take me off his candidate list.

  28. voluptuousfire*

    I hate it when I hit the submit button before I proofread. :\

    Make that “At least give me a moment of your time so I don’t feel like a jerk for making the trip!”

  29. Erik*

    I’ve experienced every item in your list more times than I can remember. I would also include the following:

    #9 – Blindly spamming my resume to companies without my knowledge or permission. Many years ago a recruiter spammed my resume to MY CURRENT EMPLOYER! Thankfully I caught it and destroyed it because I wasn’t looking at the time.
    #10 – Requesting me to visit your office for a “30 minute chat” to discuss the position, which always takes at least 1.5 hours. For bonus points, make it clear to me that you can’t submit my resume unless we have this physical 1-on-1 chat.
    #11 – Lying about the pay rate
    #12 – Lying about my skill set to the hiring manager, promising them that I can part the Red Sea and walk on water. I’ve called out recruiters on this in past interviews, and told the hiring manager the truth. I also encourage the hiring managers to blacklist those people.
    #13 – They don’t know the meaning of the word “NO!”. When I say I’m not interested in a job, I mean it! Stop the hard sell tactics.
    #14 – Not being open with their client’s name so I don’t end up getting double submitted to the same company. Oh, the number of recruiters I would love to strangle on this one!
    #15 – Sending me jobs that are completely outside of my geographical location. I often get emails about 3 month contracts for a job in a cow town out in the middle of nowhere.
    #16 – Never following up after interviews have been finished, whether or not I get to move forward to the next steps. I would like to have closure, thank you very much.

  30. Vicki*

    My personal recruiter peeve is language skills combined with a perceived need to speak to me by telephone for short answer information.

    I’m unemployed. A lot of possible jobs are “contract” (W2 temp) jobs and those (in my field) tend to go through contractors; they’re not posted in the company’s job lists. So I run into a _lot_ of possibilities attached to recruiters.

    Many of those recruiters have heavy accents and very poor spoken/receptive English skills. They are comprehensible in writing, but not over the phone. Yet they feel they must call me to ask questions such as:
    send your resume as a .doc
    Have you ever worked for XYZ company?
    and other simple, 1-sentence questions that could be handled in email.

    So we play the game of “what? I’m sorry, can you repeat that? Excuse me, what did you say?” over and over.

    I’d love it if someone had suggestions for how to resolve this. The one time I tried to say “I have difficulty understanding you on the phone” the recruiter stopped returning my email.

  31. voluptuousfire*

    Adding one more to to the already extensive list:

    When a recruiter calls you and leaves a voicemail re: your resume and follows up with an email shortly after. You email back (I prefer working with email when dealing with recruiters) with the asked for availability for a phone screen and you never hear back. I had this happen within the past few days. I followed up twice and no response. I’m contemplating following it up in a few days, but I doubt I will.

  32. seeking a new career opportunity*

    I recently interviewed with a recruiter and she says I have to do a second interview with another recruiter. So I do the second one, during the interview I realized that Recruiter 1 never discussed the first interview with Recruiter 2. This told there wasn’t any communication happening!

  33. Tony*

    Another thing if it hasn’t already been mentioned is recruiter abuse specifically harassment to accept a job. A recruiter just recently harassed me by calling my emergency contact to get to me to get to accept an offer. They would call your phone and your contacts constantly to get to you. I will not tolerate that type of behavior towards me so I will hang up on them.

  34. No More Agencies*

    At the end of one recruiter meeting she just left me sitting in the meeting room without walking me out of their offices. Are we done here?

    Or the person who thought “wouldn’t it be a great idea to look up her company’s phone number, find her extension and call her there?”

  35. Rob*

    One time, I had a recruiter tell me to “stop being so entitled” because I told her that a job located 3 hours away from me wasn’t even worth considering. That was pretty great.

    Another time, a recruiter called me up about a Django job (because he “knew I’m really into Django” – I have never used it, let alone put it on my resume), but told me he had to know if I was interested right then, because apparently the hiring manager was going to be in their office interviewing people the next morning. This was at like 3:30 in the afternoon.

    I think recruiting agencies wouldn’t get so much hate if they put more effort into their own recruiting and training. As is, a lot of them seem like real churn and burn type places that just hire anyone fresh out of college, show them how to search LinkedIn and Dice, and give them a phone.

  36. Greg*

    Here’s a new one: Last week a recruiter cold emailed me about a job. I’m not actively looking, but the job sounded interesting enough, so I sent her my resume. A few days later, having not gotten a response, I followed up. She responded with the cliche-iest cliche email that ever cliched, the one we’ve all gotten from HR (“While we were impressed with your credentials, we have chosen to go in a different direction …”)

    Seriously? You contacted me, and now you’re giving me that BS? I called her out on it, and she said she had submitted my resume to the client, and the client had been looking for something else. Um, then why didn’t you just say that?

    Even crazier, the next day she accidentally forwarded me an email intended for a coworker who shares my name, and looking at the exchange, I could see that she had sent the exact same email to another candidate, in response to an email where the candidate had asked a series of questions about the role. So clearly not the most attentive of recruiters.

  37. SDF*


  38. villiage*

    How about the recruiter who stalks you? Let’s say after you’ve accepted the job offer than changed your mind than they call your emergency contract to try to get to you. Totally unacceptable and crazy.

  39. Recruiters that manage the system*

    Back in the 1980’s the Thatcherites wanted everyone to be flexible, so they wouldn’t have to pay them! Enter the Recruitment Agency that doesn’t really recruit! The first question was. “What kind of employment are you looking for?” The answer was Permanent. They did just the opposite. I gave up on them and searched for my own job as then adverts appeared in the papers. I found my own job and asked the agency for a reference. They did not bother to forward one and I had to ask a past client. According to law, they don’t have to. Nowadays the person using your services does not really employ you because you are ‘agency staff’ and neither does the recruitment agency either!!!! So therefore you get NO REFERENCES for working for these people! They then work the system so they don’t have to pay you an NI stamp as part of government policy. If you don’t work 13 weeks then they don’t have to acknowledge you as a professional and can create their own payment negotiations with the so-called ’employer’. They are the worst people ever!

  40. mike*

    Experienced #4 on the list today. During the phone screening I specifically asked the recruiters who i spoke with about the job description and it’s responsibilities only to go to the interview after an 2 hour drive, learning the company is recruiting for something else. All the preparations went out the window and I was placed in a awkward spot. So pissed off and angry for being misled to position I had no qualifications for and wasting my time and energy driving there for nothing. Enough is enough with this BS behavior. Unacceptable how job seekers are treated.

  41. AliceCat*

    I get calls (numerous) at 10:30 p.m., from my recruiter asking me if I am working tomorrow. “Uhhh you don’t know?!” At least once-a-week, she also asks me if I am bilingual (in which she should flat out ask if I speak Spanish). I have been double scheduled (along side another temp) for an interview with another person. I have to keep track of my time sheets, for which she loses. All within the the course of a month, of working for this particular company. I work property management and this temp company is, by far, the worst yet. I am surprised this woman hasn’t been fired yet. I’ve literally had property managers confide that she doesn’t communicate. That just makes me look bad.

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