February 21, 2023

Managing a thousand relationships at once


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Or why everybody hates recruiters

Here’s my simplest take on why working some recruiters can be awful at times:

(A) Having a 1:1 personal relationship with thousands of people is impossible.

Combined with

(B) For some reason, too many recruiters are sh*t at resetting expectations.

First off, the relationship thing. When you’re a job seeker and you’re talking to a recruiter, you see it as a 1:1 thing. 

You’re talking to someone about your career. It’s critically important to you. You’re counting on them (on some level at least).

But in their shoes: they’re talking to hundreds, perhaps thousands of job seekers.

This is not a cop out. It’s reality: you cannot maintain true 1:1 relationships with that many people at any given time.

Technology to the rescue! Kidding. You probably already know what I’m going to say here: recruitment technology is a pile.

Sales people? Marketers? They get all the cool toys. They generate revenue. There’s way more dollars pumped into making them more productive. (Not just with software tools, but in skill development).

Recruiters? We’re an afterthought in the software world’s eyes. And I love you guys but let’s be honest, as a whole we’re not the most tech savvy bunch to begin with.

Again, zero excuse. Which brings me to point #2…

The key to navigating any Herculean task: setting proper expectations.

Some recruiters are junior and are still learning the basics of business. Some hate giving bad news. Some get pressured by their agencies to hit ridiculous activity metrics (which leads to systematic corner-cutting).

All the while, job seekers have high expectations. If you say you’ll do something, they expect you to do it. (As they should.)

👉If you don’t reset them, you will let them down every single time.

Not to mention so many junior recruiters are straight up intimidated by the very people they’re recruiting. When you’re 1 year out of school talking to a person who is 15 years out, it’s hard to fathom you need to be the one giving, not receiving, direction.

The result: over-promising & under-delivering. Which we all know is the exact opposite of the winning formula.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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