It’s the industry structure and remuneration that makes them unknowingly ageist
This Post reveals their processes and why they have become just sales people flogging a product – you!
Saying you’re a recruiter at a party is like admitting you’re a politician or you sell used cars. It often results in some negative outburst, or tired old jokes like…
“What do you call 20 recruiters at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.”
Unfortunately, the responses are mostly well founded – it’s the fundamentals of the recruitment industry, their processes that have to be changed.
Of course there are a few recruitment agencies who are ethical and highly professional (here’s one of the best: https://www.beaumontpeople.com.au/). However, they still have to make a living and compete with the great majority who take shortcuts and treat candidates appallingly.
Do some agencies work for the candidate and not the employer? Yes – the Australian Jobactive Agencies. They are paid by the government to help the unemployed find jobs, and there are 1,700 locations across Australia. The jobactive website is delivered by Australian JobSearch — a free online jobs website.
It’s Recruiters’ turn to Question Themselves
The reason nearly all mature age people hate recruiters is unreturned phone calls and emails. Ask around. The majority of people who have applied for jobs through a recruiter have rung up once or twice (or more) to try and get information or feedback, and never received it.
In 2008 I attended one of the many professional development conferences run by the association of 380 recruitment firms of which I was a member, the NPA. They put together a panel of 5 candidates to ask them about their experiences with recruitment firms.
From the floor I asked them “Have you had the experience of applying for jobs and not having your calls or emails returned?” All 5 said yes. More than one time? All said at least a few times. They certainly weren’t happy about it, and the saddest part was that they seemed resigned to it: they expected it to happen again.
I asked 100s of people this question in the early 2010s, people of all ages. The answers were always yes, that it happened to them many times, with many adding that they expected it. In the last 8 months I asked the over 45s – no surprise about their answers!
The most interesting observation on being rudely ignored…
One woman said as a throwaway line: “Oh, that’s inevitable!” Isn’t it extraordinary that Australia (and the world!) puts up with this atrocious behaviour? This feedback at seminars and workshops prompted us to do a formal survey. We discovered that 95% of people who had dealt with recruitment firms, reported it had happened to them. Over 90% said it had happened more than once. And over 50% said it had happened many times.
Here is what happened to a friend of mine, a story which highlights how this behaviour can damage peoples’ careers and their self-image…
My friend ‘John’ ran all the operations of a large Investment Manager. He used the same recruiter, ‘Bob’, for 5 years to employ senior new staff for his team. John gave Bob about 4 or 5 contracts a year earning over $20,000 each: a lot of money going to this recruiter.
Sadly, John’s wife died after childbirth: he had to step in to take care of his baby and so he needed to leave his job. A year later John rings Bob, his friend who he gave work to for 5 years, and says ‘I’m ready to get back into the workforce, can you help?’. The response when he went to see him? Really positive, very can-do: ‘John we can put you here, we can introduce you there, we can do this, we can do that…‘
What happened? John rang Bob and left messages but his calls were never returned. He ultimately found work by other means. How did he feel when his follow up calls were not returned? What do most people think when that happens? What did I think when it happened to me in the days before I was a recruiter?
Like every human being, I partly blamed myself, thinking there was something wrong with me; that I didn’t have the skills, etc. Whatever. And in this circumstance, it’s what most people think or feel. Instead of looking at whether the recruiter is at fault, we simply blame ourselves.