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Why Professionals Are Rude to Recruiters

October 03, 20234 min read

Is there ever a good reason for a person to be unprofessionally rude to a recruiter? As mature individuals, we want to believe that there isn’t a valid reason for rudeness in any professional communications, but the reality is that every now and then, we come across as rude even when we don’t think we are. And other times, we act out our feelings of frustration from prior experiences.

Talking to a few candidates to find out their thoughts on this, they agreed that even though they did not start out seeking to be rude, the conversation may have inadvertently ended that way. And here are some of their reasons.

The #1 reason cited was recruiter non-responsiveness – when recruiters never call back or follow-up. From a candidate’s perspective, this may be a good reason to be rude to the same or a subsequent recruiter who calls. If a candidate has not received a call back from a recruiter, chances are one or more of these could be the reason.

a) Bad Resume – The candidate’s resume did not catch on. It needed some revamping and the recruiter probably had too much going on to try to work with the candidate to polish their resume. If this is a regular occurrence, then a candidate may need to go through a resume makeover.

b) No Open Position –The position had been filled and the recruiter felt no obligation to call to let the candidate know.

c) Unreliable Recruiter –Though crude, this does happen. The recruiter is just not reliable.

The #2 reason for rudeness to recruiters is when a recruiter assumes he knows what a candidate wants/needs. This is especially true when a recruiter has recruited and filled several positions similar to what the candidate seeks. In this case, recruiters may heed the saying that no two people/positions are the same and always seek to act as an advocate for the candidate by getting answers to candidates’ questions, not assuming that similar situations will have same answers.

The #3 reason is when recruiters start asking questions before establishing intent. People will answer most every question posed by their doctors or mortgage consultants because they know the answers make for successful diagnosis or loan approval respectively. When a candidate feels that a recruiter has no valid reason to ask some types of questions, then it creates tension and a situation where the recruiter and candidate are each struggling to keep their cool. The candidate is feeling, ‘why in the world is a person I just met on the phone asking me these questions’; the recruiter is feeling, ‘does this candidate have something to hide, why isn’t she giving me answers, doesn’t she know that I’m trying to help her?’

In a case like this, the recruiter should always state the reason for the call, and even after that, if the candidate is not immediately forthcoming with answers, tactfully withdraw from the conversation. Possible withdrawal tactics are (a) apologize if it’s in your nature to do so, (b) if apologies are not your forte, then ask for a do over, reason is because you want a cordial recruiter-candidate relationship, (c) ask if it’s OK to call back at another time.

Furthermore, remember that recruiting is not an act of helping. When we say we’re recruiting because we like to help other people, we ought to make sure we don’t fall into the trap of presenting ourselves as doing a favor for the candidate. Helping is something we do without seeking or wanting a payback in return. Recruiting is a service of attracting, screening, and selecting qualified candidates for organizations for a fee. Sometimes, we offer helpful advice within the constraints of recruiting, like when recruiters clean up a person’s resume, and give helpful interview tips; this is all for the benefit of the end goal – which is presenting a hire-able and qualified candidate to an organization.

The #4 reason is when candidates feel superior which results in speaking condescendingly to recruiters. This can happen when a candidate perceives that a recruiter does not have adequate technical knowledge. In this situation, the recruiter should stand their ground and stay confident in the fact that the knowledge you have in recruiting may be equal or more than the knowledge the candidate has in his profession. That being said, it is extremely beneficial for recruiters to learn the language of their candidates, whether it’s IT, engineering, medical, etc. Imagine going to an auto repair shop and not being able to explain what’s wrong with your car. The mechanic will take you for a ride to say the least.

In conclusion, the recruiter-candidate relationship is symbiotic; they need each other, so be responsive, advocate for your candidates, establish your intent, learn to speak the language of your candidates, and stay confident and true to yourself. Who can resist all that in a recruiter?

Obi Ogbanufe

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