Why Recruiters Are Hated So Much

First, allow me to begin by saying I began my career as a recruiter working for a national staffing agency based in Washington, DC.
Further, this is not meant to demean recruiters.  Rather, I’d like to challenge the industry to shift their focus (and approach their jobs) differently by considering the needs of the job seeker when they match candidates to the clients they are recruiting on behalf of.
Now that I have spent six years as a career coach and executive placement professional helping 12,000 job seekers find employment, I would like to share my observations and personal experiences on why recruiters are hated and fast becoming an obsolete service.
It begins with the fundamental role that recruiters serve…they build bridges between two parties with opposite and often conflicting needs and interests.
wooden peg game
Recruiters are engaged by and compensated by organizations that pay them to find candidates.  A recruiter thus has a vested interest in finding the right candidate(s) to their client for the right position.  They take a wack-the-peg -in-the-hole approach.  Remember that game we played as kids?  Wooden peg board, different shaped holes you had a hammer and tried to hammer each shaped peg into the matching shaped hole.   When you try to force the wrong peg into the wrong hole, you scrape your fingers, the peg gets stuck, you break the hammer, and end up throwing the board away in frustration.
They do not make much if any attempt to understand and work towards the career aspirations, goals, wants and needs of the candidate.  If they can find three qualified candidates to send to their client, that is fine.  If they can find SEVEN qualified candidates, then the more the merrier.
The end game is for recruiters to look as good as possible to their clients.  After all, it’s the client that pays the recruiter…not the candidate.
Nowadays, recruiters make almost NO effort to understand the needs of candidates, nor do they care at all if the candidate’s work preferences, values, and needs are fulfilled by the organization they send the candidate to.  Then there is the small matter of recruiters hardly ever getting back to the candidate, to let them know what the status of their candidacy is once the client decides they are NOT interested in the candidate.
I have received hundreds of emails from recruiters informing me of a position that does not match my career goals, needs, or where I am at this point in my career. They always request that I forward their job posting to any people I might know that would be ideal for the position.  So, in a very real sense recruiters are abrogating their job by asking job seekers to do their work for them.
Further, many recruiting functions are being outsourced to foreign workers. How insulting is it for a long-term unemployment job seekers to receive a call from someone who works overseas and barely speaks English as a second language on behalf of a client?  With the Internet and social media clients can accomplish much of the same candidate vetting and hiring processes that used to be handled by recruiters.
If you are a recruiter I strongly suggest you go back to the drawing board and understand that the candidate – that other side of the matching equation —truly matters and although they do not pay for your services, in the long run will determine how happy the client is that you send these candidates to.