Recently I came across a photo on Linkedin tagged with “incompetent recruiters”. Many discussions spurred from there – all of which regarding the relationship between candidates and recruiters. All I have to say is since when, for the love of God, have recruiters and candidates become enemies? Because apparently, they have. This was very inspirational to me because in an ideal scenario all they should be is friends. Where did it all go wrong?

What do candidates have against recruiters?

Recruiters are there to create a win-win outcome, right? So why would candidates dislike them? Well, frankly speaking, they sometimes have a point. I recently watched a video on LaughFactory where a stand-up comedian said: “I don’t hate men. I really don’t. There’s just a small group of men that make you all look bad, like 20-year-olds and the president”. It’s a joke of course, but I see a similar pattern here. Sadly, most candidates meet a group of recruiters who lack competence, which is why they automatically prejudice others.

Here are some examples:

You’re not listening…REALLY listening

listening careful

Recruiting is a job. Driving buses is also a job. Recruiter’s job is to have a personalized approach as possible. A bus driver, on the other hand, shouldn’t be obliged to personalize with everyone who rides on the bus. Recruiters have to be very careful with their approach, and they shouldn’t simply just try to make a placement by all means. Sadly, most of them do just that. Consequently, this puts the bad reputation on the industry because candidates can see you through and they know when you’re just scratching the surface.
People want to be treated like people, and if you’re reaching out to someone saying you want to help them, they really expect you to do that. The only way you will truly do that is if you listen, understand and meet their needs.

Your research is as poor as you will be…

…If you don’t start doing your job right.
Many people wrote about being contacted by recruiters who failed to do the basics right. I picked out my personal favorite. This recruiter reached out to a candidate saying he can’t find their public profile. Later on, that same recruiter was offering an “exciting new job position that will make you progress in your career” when the candidate’s been on that same exact position 6 years ago. Of course, this information was all available on his public profile. Yes, the same one that a recruiter couldn’t find! Which, again, proved to them that you couldn’t care less.

You’ve lost the touch

What happened to caring and socializing – this is what candidates want to know. This, again, comes down to the fact that most recruiters are doing a robot-like job. Or even worse…. considering the fact that there are some more humanly robots nowadays than humanly humans. Candidates can see if you use algorithms to search for resumes, if you’re sending template e-mails – they can see you’re being fake. Every single person wants to feel unique and wants to know you will honestly engage in the whole process. Contact your candidates even if you weren’t able to place them immediately, wish them happy holidays, ask them about their goals, resolutions, ENGAGE. That’s all they want.

I’m just not that into you…


Imagine having your boyfriend/girlfriend break-up with you in such a way that he/she never contacts you again. Pretty terrible, huh? Well, believe it or not, that’s what candidates experience more often than they should. If you interview a candidate and stay in touch with him/her during the process, it’s wrong and it’s mean to ghost them if they get rejected for a particular role, or if you decide to process a different candidate in the meantime. Imagine how they feel? Actually, you don’t have to imagine – you can see their anger and disappointment all over the Internet.

Sorry sir, I think I’m lost…

right or wrong

When the market is hot there’s more need for both candidates and recruiters. This isn’t a bad thing of course unless you hire someone who has no knowledge about job roles. An IT recruiter should know what a full-stack software engineer is. I know, you’re thinking – It’s not their job to know! Oh, but it is. Your job as a recruiter is to find the most suitable candidate for a particular position. And how do you plan to do it right if you’re clueless about the implications of certain job roles?

I have another example that can fit in this category. One recruiter wrote this sentence: “I wanted to get in touch to see if you was on the market”. Unless you’re coming from a ghetto urban street, there’s no excuse for you to write professional e-mails like that! If it’s an honest mistake, it should teach you to double check your e-mails before you hit the send button. On the other hand, if that’s not the case then you’re just lost and should find another job.

You have a bad name

Finally, when you’ve done all the wrong things you could possibly do – you’ve earned yourself a bad reputation. This is like a suicide note because bad word spreads fast. Just like I found online comments about bad recruiters, so will other candidates. They will know your pattern, approach, maybe even your name and ultimately avoid you completely. Even if you start implementing better strategies later – every door’s already been closed.

What do recruiters have against candidates?

As assumed, there’s always the other side of the coin. There are bad candidates out there too, and no matter how good of a recruiter you are – they will treat you badly.

The rude John Smith

angry man

John Smith’s out there, don’t be offended – I’m just giving an example 🙂
We had an unpleasant experience recently when we contacted a candidate who wrote on his public profile that he is open to new opportunities. When we received an open position that would match his background and interests we reached out to him. On our surprise, he was extremely unpleasant calling recruiters stalkers and what not.
Why on Earth would you set your profile public and OTNO If you intend to call someone a stalker? There are people who are really trying to help you but your attitude is a complete deal-breaker.

John Conceited Smith

self confidence woman

Don’t get me wrong, being confident is always a plus. But when does confidence become annoying?
When recruiters contact you about a job position, they want to know about your interests, preferences, background, skills, abilities, goals and that’s about it. Recruiters most certainly don’t want to answer questions like DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? They also don’t want to hear about your connections and the fact you’re life of the party. Sure, most companies have a relaxed working atmosphere, but your attitude won’t help you pass the first round, let alone get hired. That’s not how you make the best first impression.

John Irrelevant Smith

A recruiter has contacted you about a particular job role, sent you a job description, explained everything you need to know before you send your resume, and then you send THAT. If a recruiter contacts you about an open spot for UX Designer, your work experience in a coffee shop when you were 14 is completely irrelevant. There is no time to decorate everyone’s resume, so please touch them up yourself in such a way that represents you in the best possible way for each job application.

Liar, liar pants on fire


Good recruiters will find most information about you online. But, it’s your job to send your CV and to introduce yourself properly over the phone, or in an interview.
There were countless examples where candidates lie about their abilities, skills, past job roles and many other things thinking it won’t be double-checked. Once recruiters find out you weren’t being honest – they will never contact you again. On the other hand, If you’re super lucky that your lies somehow pass unnoticed and you do get the job – you did yourself an ill turn. The lack of relevant skills or abilities will show and you’ll likely to be jobless in no time.

The ghost of John Smith

candidates ghost recruiters

A recruiter reached out to you, you responded, maybe even had an interview, and then suddenly disappeared and never replied again. Recruiters are humans, they will understand if you’ve had some unexpected changes in your life and now is simply not a good time for you. But they will not understand that you just completely start ignoring them. After all, someone who really tries to help you at least deserves a note that says: Hey, I don’t want your help!

To sum this up, in one sentence – there are bad recruiters and there are bad candidates. Period. But, in order to fix this problem, you, as a recruiter, should always strive to personalize your approach. Take some time to modify it according to every candidate and understand that your job has a noble cause. Make sure you truly do your best to help someone find the best fit, which will consequently earn you a few bucks too. Not to mention the impact it will have on your reputation.
Candidates, on the other hand, should try to make fewer generalizations because there will always be bad examples, but also good ones. When someone wants to socialize and personalize with you – help them. Additionally, If you’re having trouble trusting recruiters, next time they e-mail you, you let them know about your distrust. If they’re doing their job right, they will try and earn your trust. Don’t ghost. That makes you contradictory. All candidates want personalization and attention, but then ghost recruiters every day making them feel bad and unimportant. Instead, recruiters & candidates of the world – UNITE!