How (not) to be a Recruiter…

I deal with Recruiters a lot. Some of my best friends are Recruiters. Well, maybe not, but as a Contractor that changes jobs, Clients and even Sectors every five minutes or so, I rely on Recruiters. And they rely on people like me too. So I tend to get on reasonably well with them. Even when there might not appear to be a mutually-beneficial deal on the immediate horizon, the chances are we’ll be discussing something at some point in the future.

I even partnered up with a Recruiter (who originally contacted me about a role I wasn’t ultimately interested in) to set up a Motor Racing Team and have previously posted an article that might be of interest to Recruiters to understand what we (or I, at least) expect from the collaboration (“In response to all the ‘advice’ from Recruiters…”).

So, it’s not as if I’m one of those potential candidates who dislikes being contacted out of the blue by a Recruiter. It happens maybe 30 times a week and I accept its part of my ‘ways of working’. Even if I’m not interested (or available), I usually just ask for details so I can review them in case one or other of my peers might be a suitable match. But, occasionally, a Recruiter comes along with an air of such self-importance or with such an anti-collaborative ‘F**k you” attitude that it just makes me smile.

Below is the thread of a recent conversation with one such individual. After this, I did 5 minutes of research online and discovered that the Recruiter below (let’s call him David… because that’s his name but I’m not including his 2nd name!) appears to be a one-man-operation, based in Ireland – a small Country in terms of interpersonal and Business networks – and not even based in one of the major towns or cities that Recruiters mostly frequent. It’s worth bearing in mind that ‘David’ is a real person, trying to forge a career for himself as a Recruiter… and that we Contractors often exchange notes on the Recruiters we’ve dealt with…

  • David: We have a Senior Product Owner position in Dublin if you are open at the moment.
  • Me: As per previous emails, it all depends on the contract / role. Please send on whatever details you have
  • David: It would be a permanent role, would you consider such roles?
  • Me: Yes, but it would need to tick a lot of boxes. Again, without details, how would I know
  • [after this, there was a missed call on my phone. I guessed it was from David. It was]
  • David: Shall we have a call to discuss the position and whats on offer?
  • Me: No, thanks, David. I’m currently away on holidays so I’m not taking business-related calls. Also, given the number of emails I get about roles, I always review the details before arranging a discussion. They’re usually not very well suited to me (or vice versa). If you have details, please send them on and I’ll review. If it’s of interest, we can arrange a call. If it isn’t, we will have avoided wasting each other’s time.
  • David: What salary are you seeking ?
  • Me: OK. This conversation is over if you have nothing to actually send. I don’t waste my time on email tennis and I certainly don’t get into negotiation before I even know if I care enough about the role
  • David: I would prefer not to work with you. Passive aggressive and very very rude, not much has changed since i spoke with you last.
  • [when we last spoke, it was about a role that was maybe 5 levels too junior for me and paid about 50% of my current rate]
  • David: If I dont hand over everything you request out goes the dummy. I prefer not to work with people like this. Try and enjoy the rest of your holiday.
  • [Well, at least he hoped I would enjoy the rest of my holiday. Maybe there was sarcasm involved. I prefer to think that’s unlikely 🙂

The interesting thing is, I still don’t know what the role was. David may be so busy that throwing a tantrum and potentially losing a ‘sale’ is not a problem. But I wonder if his Client would feel the same way, knowing that they are potentially losing candidates simply because the Recruiter wants to keep the details of the role a secret because… well, I don’t really know of any realistic ‘because’. Maybe he thought he could sell it to me on a call but not in an email… like I’m going to ‘sign up’ without seeing the details…?

That’s the kind of thing that ‘cold calling, hard-selling’ salespeople did about 20 years ago. It doesn’t work these days, especially not in my Business… Maybe ‘David’ and all the other ‘Davids’ will eventually understand this. Maybe not. Maybe they can move over to hard-selling Insurance, Investments or something equally suited to it.