Why do candidates ignore recruiters?

Oh, Lord, let me count the reasons! Can I get an Amen!?

Basically, candidates ignore recruiters because as recruiters we have sucked too many times for them to pay attention any longer! Also, it’s a lie, candidates don’t actually ignore you, they see you, but they don’t respond, because we can be worse than a used car salesman who’s about to be fired if they don’t sell one more car before the end of the month!

There was a brilliant article written recently by a Software Engineer, Alex Chesser, Career Advice Nobody Gave Me: Never Ignore a Recruiter. From his post:

The obvious adaptive response that I suspect the vast majority of us use is to roll our eyes and ignore them. We tell each other jokes about the problem all the time. We’ll gripe and moan about how annoying it is, how obvious and crass it is.

No one ever explained to me that recruiters are also one of the best career resources you can find.

If you think about it, who better to be completely honest with about what you want from your career? Who else has real and direct insight into how much money any given role pays?

Alex shares the script he uses to respond to each recruiter outreach he receives and it’s brilliant –

BTW! Alex says “Steal This and Use it!”

Candidates Ignore Recruiters Because We Waste Too Much of Their Time!

This is the reality. Because we, as recruiters, don’t really know enough about them, we tend to waste a lot of time discovering if a candidate is right for us or not. Maybe, Alex has found a better way to communicate this back and forth that is valuable for both parties. The candidate gets what they want and we get a response, that might lead to a positive outcome. No response leads to no outcome!

The truth is, every candidate does actually want to hear from a recruiter. Recruiters think this isn’t the case. Candidates mistakingly say this isn’t true. But it is. If I contacted Alex, today, and I had his dream job, he wants to hear from me. If I have a crappy job that is four levels lower than his ability, he doesn’t want to hear from me. But, as he found, you don’t know that until you know that!

Alex’s response to every recruiter, while canned, is perfect in getting positive responses from him. If more candidates did the same thing, I’m sure we would see more positive interactions across the board between recruiters and candidates.

Candidates ignore recruiters simply because far too often recruiters are reaching out to them with positions they wouldn’t be remotely interested in. Why do recruiters do this? Desperation. Ignorance. Overconfidence. Lack of clarity on what the hiring manager wants/needs. Lack of basic worldly understanding of what someone would possibly want given the information they have. All of the above.

Candidates don’t ignore recruiters who deliver the goods and treat them as a professional. As someone who values your time. There’s hope, because of the Alex’s out there helping us be better by being very specific about what and how that looks.

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