6 Things That Will Make People Think You’re a Rookie Recruiter

April 9, 2015

Recruiting just keeps getting more competitive. That means that candidates will be contacted by more employers more frequently. Naturally, they’re going to get more picky about who they choose to talk to.

If you come across as a rookie, they won’t give you the time of day. So, what can you do (or not do) to make make them want to engage with you?

6 things every recruiter should avoid doing

A recent poll by CAREEREALISM Media asked professionals high on the Global Talent Spectrum (a tool designed by recruiters to evaluate the attractiveness of a candidate) what they consider to be signs a recruiter isn’t worthy of their time. Here’s what these sophisticated job seekers said were things recruiters do that will make them run in the other direction:

1. Sending hype emails that look like SPAM.

If you are sending out generic requests to connect filled with phrases like “awesome opportunity” and “amazing company,” you are being written off as unoriginal and an overseller. Email outreach to top talent needs thought and customization. See how recruiters at Yahoo are using this technique to get top talent to respond to their emails 70%+ of the time.

2. Interacting with them only when it works for you.

If you approach your talent communications with a “hurry up and wait” mentality, you will alienate the best candidates quickly. Asking them to contact you immediately, only to take days or weeks to respond back to their timely response to you is insulting and shows a lack of respect for their time.

3. Knowing nothing about them other than they have a skill that matches your list.

The best candidates have worked hard to build their personal brands and career reputations. They have quantifiable accomplishments that are publicly displayed. Failing to acknowledge their unique path to success in your outreach means you don’t really know why they are good at what they do. Top talent won’t waste time speaking to you if it means having to convince you they’re great – they already know it and expect you to know it too.

4. Talking to them as if you are a telemarketer.

If your phone conversations are a boring set of questions designed to see if the candidate fits a long list of qualifications given to you by the hiring manager, you’ll quickly be dismissed as a rookie. Top talent wants to have an engaging conversation with a confident, dynamic recruiter who knows their industry and area of expertise. If you can’t talk like someone in their field, they won’t be convinced you can convey their unique strengths properly to the hiring manager.

5. Getting upset when they aren’t immediately overjoyed about the job opportunity.

Assuming that talent should be honored you are interested in them for a role is the fastest way to get a candidate to write off your company as an employer. Top talent needs more than one interaction to decide if an employer might be a potential fit for their career needs. Pushing them too quickly into the interview process sends a warning signal that makes them wonder why you are so desperate to fill the job.

6. Never contacting them again once you find out they weren’t a match for your open position.

Being a one-and-done recruiter makes you look greedy and selfish. Just because the candidate wasn’t a fit today, doesn’t mean they couldn’t be a fit tomorrow, OR know someone who is a fit for your future roles. Developing a rapport with talent doesn’t mean you have to contact them every week, but following through on their candidacy and allowing them to touch base with you from time-to-time helps keep the relationship going. Ignoring them ensures they’ll have no problem letting anyone who asks know you’re a rude professional with no respect for talent.

Are you guilty of any of the above? Here’s something to consider…

If you do even one of the things above, your reputation as a recruiter could be compromised. To help you see what the best talent expects, read this article on what signs show you are good recruiter that top talent wants to work with.

Having a great reputation as a highly professional recruiter will not only make attracting talent easier, it will make your job more fun and rewarding. Your personal brand defines you. You aren’t lazy, so don’t let your recruiting tactics send the wrong message!


J.T. O’Donnell is the founder and CEO of CAREEREALISM Media, which specializes in helping companies attract top talent by featuring and promoting their employment brand. Check out their FREE e-guide on inbound recruiting and the power it has to help drive the right candidates to your inbox. 

6 steps to a better personal recruiter brand