Thursday, September 16, 2010

*Some* recruiters are morons...

Okay, when I first came back to the States, I completely denied any urges to freelance.  Too scary.

Honestly though?  I sort of saw myself doing this. I just wasn't sure how to do it or, honestly, what to do.  I knew the freelance writing market was being gutted due to the recession (economic slow down, my a$$, this is a recession).  Experienced writers were getting laid off and long-running magazines and papers were shutting down.  Not really the best time to come in as a newcomer only to have to compete against experienced writers.

I started looking for your typical 9 to 5.  I had almost no success.  That was jarring for me because I was always someone who could land something pretty fast. It brought home how very real this recession is if I couldn't find something.  What people told me and what I eventually noticed was all that time I'd spent online? That gave me a wealth of skills that some people are willing to pay for and to my clients and to a well-wired South Korea, THANK YOU.  Now I freelance and have been doing so for about a year.

Things are tight for sure, but it's rare that I'll apply for a job.  If I happen to scan the help wanted section and see something I think would be a good fit, I'll apply.  It's rare.  Why?  I'm convinced that most recruiters are just too conventional for their own good.  Most who talk to me are a bit baffled when they hear my background.  Honestly, I can understand it to a certain degree, but I look at it as "this is a candidate with a wealth of experience and tons of valuable transferable skills."  They, in contrast, don't get that I'm well-educated, well-traveled and haven't sold out to a law firm or something conventional like that. (God, no!)

Anyway, the inspiration behind this post are the recruiters who contact me.  I've not gone looking for them.  They're usually finding me from my LinkedIn profile.  (So it's good to see the site does have some value in that respect.)  I had a recruiter contact me last week. She requested a resume and I sent that to her. She said she'd follow-up with me.  I was going through my emails last night and remembered that I'd not heard from her, so I shot off a quick follow-up email.  Her reply?
Dense recruiter:  What kind of position are you looking for? 

Me: You contacted me, so nevermind. Good luck finding someone.

That was my measured reply which was actually code for this, "Pardon me? I wasn't looking at all. You contacted me; you fucktard!"
Honestly though...lately, I've been getting a few recruiters contacting me.  What I'm noticing is a lot don't do their homework.  If you find me via LinkedIn, maybe read the page and get a feel for my background before contacting me.  It's sort of insulting to know someone found you on a page where you've sat down and laid out your professional background, but then the person asks you to go through it. Instead, I want someone to show me they've read my info and ask me questions about it (questions being clarifying time lines or understanding my roles and experience). 

Basically, take the time to show you've read it and not just did a key word search.  It's lazy when I'm sitting there as the person who was contacted but I feel like I'm the one doing all the work.  It's lazy and I lose faith in you real fast.  Usually by the time you talk, a recruiter also has your resume. it.

I've also had recruiters who've come to me then flip the dynamic.  It suddenly feels like I've got to sell myself and, half of the time, they've not even bothered to give me specifics about the job. It's weird. I'll chalk it up to a lack of professionalism and maybe a general dislike of people or what they do.

I'd not put candidates I'd approached on the hotseat. Usually, that causes me to just end the conversation and get back to work thankful that I can work for myself.

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