Things CFOs Hate … about Recruiters

A couple times a year I meet up with one of my local recruiter colleagues to wax philosophical about our industry. Often times, we solve world problems as well so you can sleep well tonight.

One of the questions he threw out at me was, so what are the biggest complaints your clients have about recruiters? Whoa … where to begin?!

I narrowed it down to two things … one is owned by recruiters, the other by candidates but in some instances the latter is perpetuated by not-so-reputable recruiters.


A Failure to Communicate
A Failure to Communicate

This is a pretty big umbrella, and communication should be a 2-way street. In this instance, the failure of recruiters to keep candidates in the loop during the process has resulted in a great deal of anger at, and grumbling about, recruiters.

The perception held by many executives is that recruiters are notorious for being your best buddy when they are recruiting you, only to disappear under a rock in the middle of the process. Professionals don’t treat others that way, and executives don’t expect other professionals to treat them that way.

The breakdown in communication, the failure to speak truthfully, and the dodge-and-weave maneuvers of some recruiters add up to one big thorn in the side of executives across the board, not just my CFO clients.


Not understanding what recruiters do usually leads to anger. This comment, posted in a community by a candidate, shows how misunderstood the role of the recruiter is.

Make the effort to meet the recruiter or choose one who will proactively look for roles on your behalf.

If you think the role of a recruiter is to find you a job, or you’ve been lead to believe that is what they do, you are sadly mistaken. And it will lead nowhere good and no doubt be accompanied by a lot of anger, anxiety, and discouragement along the way.

One of the things my colleague brought up is that anybody can put out a sign, create a business card, and call himself a recruiter. It’s a valid point and true in my industry as well. It’s a recipe for misinformation and misunderstanding that only adds to the anxiety of the job search process.

Bottom line …

1 – Work with reputable recruiters, and build the relationship long before you need the relationship. It will make all the difference in the level of communication that happens.

2 – Understand what they do and what they don’t do, and take full responsibility for driving your own career 24/7, 365 days a year, every year.

Not all recruiters act unscrupulously, but a few bad recruiters can color the perception of an entire industry.

What about you, what have you found to be true in working with recruiters?

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