When did the Job Hunter Become the Bad Guy?

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Without a doubt, this is a highly competitive world we live—and work—in. The job boards are full of very technical jobs requiring specific skill sets from would-be candidates. Nobody understands this better than the HR manager or the recruiter tasked to fill a position.

It’s not uncommon today to find, at the bottom of a job description, a statement in bold declaring, “Please only apply if you meet ALL of the requirements listed. ”

Thank you, we get it.

This desire for the perfect candidate has fostered a perceived attitude of, “Don’t bother me all ye who are only 80% qualified. ” While we (job hunters) can understand the reasoning, the tone comes off sounding condescending.

My question then is, “When did the candidate become the bad guy?” Isn’t one of the main duties of an HR manager, and the only duty of a recruiter, to seek out and bring in “the talent”? Given this, why do so few of them bother with even a modicum of respect when dealing with candidates?

We (again – job hunters) understand that recruiting managers are going to receive hundreds of resumes within hours of posting a job. We understand that even if the listing specifically asks people not to call, they’re going to. We even understand that after sifting through these hundreds of resumes to find a few gems, it will probably take a few days to get back to us. But what we don’t understand is the lack of respect and follow through shown to candidates who are effectively putting food on your table.

True Story (times three) – I’m permanently employed, but I’m looking. Nothing new about that. Since I currently have a job, I’m being picky. In the last two months, I’ve interviewed for three positions. As it turned out, I was only really interested in one of them after interviewing; however, one would have thought I had arrived and thumbed my nose at the interviewer and walked out. The lack of follow-up on the recruiter’s behalf was that poor.

What gives? Did you like me? Did you hate me? Are there internal politics going on that have put the position on-hold for the time being? Come on…throw a guy a bone here.

Are recruiters too busy to tell the poor sap that drove across town on his Saturday for an interview that the organization decided to go with someone else? That perhaps the recruiters is going to put the candidate on the “maybe” list while continuing to look for someone who will take less money? Is it really that difficult to pick up the phone or send an e-mail? I mean, isn’t that part of your job?

With all this, we (again – the candidates) are the bad guys. We’re supposed to get all excited when a recruiter calls and asks us to review our work experience over the phone with someone who found our resume online and should already have the information.

For somebody who receives a paycheck based on how well they are able to woo candidates into the fold, HR managers and recruiters seem to have placed themselves on a pedestal. Being the corporate gatekeeper determining whether or not someone pays their mortgage next month is a lofty place to be, no-doubt. But let’s not forget that everyone has to look for a job sometime. Karma can be a real pain if ignored.

Chris Souther is a professional technical writer and trainer in the Atlanta area. When he's not battling mosquitos or drainage problems in his back yard, you can probably find him fly fishing up in Tennessee.


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