How to react when contacted by a recruiter

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Re: How to react when contacted by a recruiter

Postby Yandorio » Wed May 10, 2017 3:50 pm

I don't get why Steven Z. would need to "cease and desist."
He's speaking from experience, explaining that there's a lot of manipulation and exploitation out there and strangely catches heat for it for not being part of the groupthink. I got the same type of bogus jobs offered from unscrupulous recruiters, and when I went on careerbuilders, linkedin, and other websites, attempting to "network" as I was advised to do, I got caught up in a rat's nest of spammers and scammers, despite my earnest attempts to find a decent job. It was hard to believe I couldn't get a position that matched my interest and background, with a PhD, 20 years of publications, and good recommendations.
Sure, the forum agenda is to help people get jobs, so there has to be a positive tone, but to scold the guy for advising people about potential bumps in the road (learned the hard way) is really odd and a little disturbing.
You'd expect Science magazine to foster an environment that was a little more heterogeneous in terms of its opinions, or are they tortuously trying to drag more people into the maelstrom?
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Re: How to react when contacted by a recruiter

Postby Rich Lemert » Wed May 10, 2017 7:49 pm

Steven's first post was a reasonable comment that was based on his experience, and so was the response to that post. Steven suggested that some placement agencies are - let's say "difficult" - to work with; no surprise there. D.X., in response, pointed out (correctly) that these agencies sometimes also provide the best access to what I think everyone would agree are "good jobs."

If the conversation had stopped at this point, everything would have been alright. Readers would have received fair warning to be careful about who they deal with, along with a reason why they might want to risk those interactions. Both parties would have behaved in a professional manner, and everyone would have been happy.

Steven was apparently not satisfied, however. He had to return and cast all agency recruiters into the same pit, using highly inflammatory language to do so. I do not discount the fact that he has had a bad experience. What I do discount is his implied claim that any interactions anyone has with this type of agency are automatically going to be a bad experience.

Contrary to what some would claim, this forum does not reflexively shun "negative" input. It recognizes that as with any human endeavor people will have both positive and negative experiences. If their is a bias, it is a bias toward providing practical guidance to help individuals more effectively attempt to achieve their goals. If you take our advice, there is no guarantee that you will be successful in this effort; sitting around complaining about how bad things are will almost certainly guarantee that you will fail.
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Re: How to react when contacted by a recruiter

Postby Steven Z. » Thu May 11, 2017 8:13 am

I will concede the point that not all agency recruiters are terrible and indeed it isn't really completely their fault. The recruiters have a very crappy job to perform. Working at a staffing agency is a common entry point to being a recruiter. You may find a great recruiter. Since it is an entry level job they will likely be very inexperienced and there will be high turnover so your recruiter may be gone tomorrow. The recruiter may set you up with a great company that actually treats their temps well and hires them.

My numerous (not single) experiences and those of the people I know and the accounts I hear about and the stats I have read indicate that is not a likely scenario.

As I explained, they have performance metrics and like to build databases and bring people in. I had a recruiter literally lie to me that they had a direct hire job when they did not to lure me in. They will also immediately demand references because those reference calls, usually to managers, are just a pretense to solicit business from them. If you apply to several agencies you will have your references bothered by numerous agencies and they will quickly become annoyed with you and you will lose them as a reference.

Most of the jobs they fill and the companies they work with are not great. A lot of companies (larger ones in particular) have large numbers of second class workers that they churn and burn through. Other companies use them because they are unable to retain workers due to poor conditions and pay. Another reason is temp workers are a variable business expense rather than employee headcount which can be good for their accounting. Finally, temp workers receive no benefits from the client and can be fired with one phone call so it is common for companies that don't value or are unwilling to commit to use temp agencies. It is the employment version of shacking-up.

There are some companies that do try before buy temp-to-hire. Unfortunately, the agencies and clients advertise this even when they have no intention on doing so. It provides a carrot on a stick way to motivate workers to take jobs that are otherwise highly undesirable and work hard and stay engaged. Therefore, I would never believe any agency's or company's claims about their intention to hire and keep seeking employment on the side with full effort. I mentioned previously that the WE Upjohn institute for Employment Research found only 27% of temp to hire jobs actually become permanent

When the economy is better the staffing agencies will become more desperate to fill jobs since they are so undesirable. Every time your resume matches a key word search like HPLC they will ring you up or email you with lousy jobs. You can be a PhD scientist working for Agilent researching and developing new HPLC stationary phases but they will still spam you with $15 an hour third shift HPLC tech positions.

Another common tactic used by agencies is to ask if you are unemployed. If you're receiving unemployment compensation then turning down a job can get you suspended even if the job meets the legal criteria for you to reject it. The staffing agency will threaten and follow through with reporting you to UI and you will end up fighting a tough battle in hearings to get your unemployment compensation reinstated. Heaven forbid if you ever have an unemployment claim with the agency directly. They will offer you the most awful job 50 miles away and when you say no use that as an excuse to get your benefits denied.

So yes you can consider all the above and decide if you are desperate enough to wade through it. If a recruiter from a staffing agency just contacts you and you are currently employed or not very desperate why would you want to play with them?
Steven Z.
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Re: How to react when contacted by a recruiter

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu May 11, 2017 11:49 am

Please note that you've made your point here, Steven Z. You don't need to re-hash.

We don't allow "rants" on this forum, on either side of the "positives vs. negatives" canyon between us. People are free to make up their minds about who they connect with on LinkedIn. You've listed horror stories that I've never heard in listening to 30 years worth of comments about staffing firms. OK, your experience is unique. Happy you had the chance to express yourself! Now, please drop it or we'll be forced to lock this thread. Thanks,

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“I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day.” - Albert Camus
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Re: How to react when contacted by a recruiter

Postby PG » Thu May 11, 2017 6:53 pm

I have a relatively high number of recruiters of different types in my linkedin network but have not seen any abuse of the system. There is a few of them that contacts me at different occasions either regarding candidates that they have been retained to place somewhere, with questions about whether I want to use them to recruit for a position that we have open or regarding open positions that they have.

When I am contacted about open position that they have it has usually been either positions that I may potentially be a fit for (based on the information that they have) or about qualified positions in my field of work for which I may have other contacts in my network that may be interested. Since I usually do my best to help a few of them are contacting me on a semi regular basis.
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Re: How to react when contacted by a recruiter

Postby Ralf K. » Mon May 15, 2017 1:50 pm

Hi all,

Thank you all for your recommendations, also Steven for critical remarks and warnings. I actally like it when there is a discussion in the forum (except when it's about degrees and how great everybody is with his titles and publications...).


So if somebody wondered how it went:
First he asked me why I responded to his request and what caught my interest. Then I responded that I am interested in that field and that I am currently not searching a new opportunity but that the position is interesting.
Then we talked about my previous experience and he asked some questions about the different roles I had in the past.

Then we talked abit about the company and what strategy is beeing run and in what they are investing. So I could get some company details. Additionally I asked when looking at my cv what else would be of useful for these kind of positions. So I got also some inputs in this regard.

We remained that we will stay in contact and might have a chat again in 6 months.

I felt that he was a bit disapointed when I told him I was not looking for a new position right now. Let's see..

Have a good evening
Ralf K.
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