Career Corner: Below Average Recruiter Seeks Above Average Talent

How many of us have waited by the phone for a call that never came. – Courtesy photo / Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

By Angela Copeland

There’s a dirty little secret in the job search world. It is so common that it’s often becoming the norm. If you are a human resources leader or a hiring manager, this column is for you. There is someone on your recruiting team that isn’t doing their job and you probably don’t even know it.

Before you get angry, hear me out. What I’m about to say in no way applies to every recruiter. Some recruiters are amazing. They connect deserving candidates with bosses who need their help. It’s a win-win on all sides.

Now, let’s talk about what’s happening with the not so great recruiters. Let me describe the typical candidate experience. The job seeker applies online. The recruiter finds their resume and asks them to schedule a meeting. The first meeting is a screening call. The recruiter emails the candidate the same day or the day before and asks them for a time to talk. Sometimes, the recruiter only offers one time. If the candidate is unavailable at a particular time, the recruiter may ghost the candidate.

Let’s assume the candidate and the recruiter schedule a meeting. The candidate cancels their plans to take the call. They study. They practice. They prepare to put their best foot forward! They sneak away to somewhere quiet to take the call.

Then, they wait. And, they wait. And, they wait. And, then they wait some more. The recruiter calls late, very late. I’m not talking about five minutes late. I’m talking about 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and over two hours late. I have observed this pattern in about 70% of recruiter screening calls lately.

If the candidate does not wait, they lose the job interview. But, they are forced to miss all of their commitments and to hide out for an unknown amount of time. When the recruiter calls, the candidate must pretend not to be bothered. If they don’t have time to meet, the recruiter will gladly move on to someone else in their stack of resumes. Without fail, the recruiter will say, “I’m sorry. My last meeting ran long.” As a recruiter, a top skill should be managing a personal schedule. If things were reversed, would the job seeker be considered if they were 60 minutes late?

Many recruiters are also not prepared for the screening call. They have not reviewed the candidate’s resume. Sometimes, they believe they’re calling about a completely different job in a completely different department. Oops!

How does this happen you may wonder? Well, as a job seeker, you will never get a job offer if you are the complainer and companies very rarely ever ask for feedback on interviews. So, there’s no feedback loop. At the end of the day, as long as a warm body eventually fills the job posting, the company is happy. But, are they really getting the best candidate? This is quite doubtful.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

May 26, 2019

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Angela Copeland

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