October 17, 2023

Recruiters have an active listening problem.


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

Didn’t bury the lede this time.

Gripes about the recruiting industry are like Groundhog Day. The same issues keep popping up. Over and over. No matter how many times people yell at the clouds.

Ghosting. Lack of follow up. Carelessness. Lack of vetting. Lack of understanding of their skill area. Transactional thinking. Inability to impact change.

Agency recruiters are boiler room hard sellers married to outdated business models. Internal recruiters are order taking paper pushers.

Not everyone. But the stereotypes are widespread because there’s some truth. Every good recruiter *knows* people who fit those generalities. Lots of them.

Complain about them all you want. It won’t change the industry. They’re the symptom, not the cause.

👉Recruiters have an active listening problem.

In my first recruiting job, they gave me a script. There was no deviating from it.

Then a form to fill out. Selling points to memorize. A job checklist. A list of common rebuttals. (I still have PTSD to this day.)

It took me years to un-robot myself. I know I’m not the only one.

Sales and recruiting training has surely evolved over the years. But it doesn’t change the fact that our job is *extremely* repetitive.

Repetition leads to habit. Habit leads to autopilot. Autopilot leads to lack of change. Lack of change leads to dumb stereotypes that never seem to go away.

The way out? Active listening. Understanding the problem behind the problems. Why your client/company’s hiring approach is off. Why their recruiting is a struggle. What your contact doesn’t understand about the process. Or why the experienced job seeker you’re talking to is stuck despite having a solid career.

You have to know when to go off script. Not because you’re winging it. But because you know it’s sending you in the wrong direction.

We can’t solve anything if we’re not listening close enough to understand the real issues.

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

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