Here’s Looking At You, Kid…

Free Beer!

Like you, I’ve been getting cold calls from recruiters since I began working (decades ago in my case). My experience is that they are rarely helpful; largely because the recruiter is often low on information.

I don’t blame the recruiter for being low on facts. The information about a job, or consulting project, is (or should be) provided by the agency’s client.

However, I do blame the recruiter for contacting prospects even when they have insufficient information about a role.

Recently, I was (cold) contacted by a recruiter about a “SharePoint Position.”

He didn’t provide a job description, but mentioned opportunities for “free beer!” on three occasions in a single Linkedin message.

I responded to recruiter and told him that his message didn’t give me a good vibe about the client or his agency.

He responded, “My client has a VERY casual work environment and they just let the work week speak for itself.”

WTF does that even mean?

It creates huge problem for all parties when a client doesn’t provide recruiting agency with sufficient information about a role, but still issues “get me candidates” directive which causes recruiters to start Linkedin spamming of “prospects.”

This is a tremendous waste of time for all everybody: the client, the recruiting agency and the candidates.

If a client doesn’t really know what they need in a candidate, or isn’t sure if they really NEED a candidate, then should they really be giving marching orders to line up interview prospects?

Should recruiters who are given nebulous instructions, about an amorphous role, start cold-calling candidates without a healthy pushback to the client?

If the client’s response is “Because I said so!” then can they really expect to find qualified candidates for positions for which the requirements are still in an ill-defined state?

Now about this “free beer,” thing. After eight years working for big ad agencies and then later finding myself in the muck of the “Dot.Com(edy)” era, working myself ragged, I can tell you that the price of “free” beer is a pretty steep one.

“Free beer!” as a selling point is rather unappetizing to me, especially in the absence of a job description.

After an email exchange with the recruiter, I told him I was not interested in talking further because my vibe about the client had not improved.

I explained that I really didn’t think that he and the client couldn’t provide a role description, and their value proposition was “free beer!” I didn’t have any interest.

I also made an attempt at some constructive criticism, though I think my worlds might have made me seem Humphrey Bogart in ‘Casablanca’, because my message felt like this:

“…claims that the client ” ‘….lets the work week speak for itself…’ and ‘free beer!’ don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Some day you’ll understand that.”

Not my exact words, but the sentiment is pretty damn close.

I don’t expect to change recruiting processes much. My influence on recruiters and their clients doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Though, I think it important for agencies and hiring managers receptive to constructive criticism. For a company to expect qualified an agency or candidate to act upon nebulous instructions is contrary to best practice in recruiting.

Perhaps someday, they’ll understand that.


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