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Ten ways in which recruiters can prevent you from getting a job

Your CV

Your CV

You’re applying for a job in banking. You’re spreading your CV far and wide, like bacterial effluvia following an expectoration. You’re waiting to hear back from all sorts of different recruitment firms, confident that at least one of them will be appreciative of your special talents. Days pass. Weeks. Recruiters who were highly receptive when you first approached them suddenly won’t take your calls. And finally? You’re forced to accept reality: you won’t be getting a job through a recruitment firm after all. You will have to try other channels.

If this sounds familiar, it may be that you’re using recruitment firms wrongly. Or it may be that recruiters are willfully impeding your jobs search. Or it may simply be that you’re not suited for the jobs you’re applying for and are a little paranoid. Either way, this is how recruiters can sometimes come between you and the job you want…

1. Recruiters won’t put your CV forward for a job unless you’re perfect

If you’re applying for a job in rates sales and you previously worked in credit sales, don’t expect a recruiter to do anything for you. Recruiters are there to match candidates to jobs. They are not there to shoehorn nice people into jobs they could probably do but haven’t actually done yet. If you ask a recruiter to shoehorn you into a job, your CV will be consigned to the eternal waste bin.

2. Recruiters might change your CV without telling you about it

This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen sometimes. Most recruitment firms use CV templates: before sending your CV to their client, they adapt it to their template. In the process, they might change or omit things. One candidate told us a recruiter cut an entire section of work history and that when she referred to this in her interview, the interviewer looked at her askance.

3. Recruiters will charge a fee if you’re hired through them

If a bank hires you directly, they won’t have to pay a fee. If bank hires you through a recruiter or headhunter, they will have to pay a fee – and this could be anything from 10%-30% of your first year pay. Banks therefore have an incentive to hire people who come to them directly, rather than through recruiters.

4. Recruiters might disappear at the crucial moment

One recruiter tells us that this “happens a lot.” A mystery recruiter disappearance won’t necessarily prevent you from getting a job, says Simon Head, deputy managing director at Correlate Search (who stresses that he is not prone to disappearing himself), but it will be irksome. “As a headhunter you are solely dependent on a bank coming back to you with feedback. If the bank doesn’t come back to you, you will have nothing to tell the candidate. Some inexperienced recruiters will avoid candidate calls in this situation,” he said.

5. Recruiters might ask for the names of your colleagues/ex-colleagues and then place one of them instead

It’s quite standard for recruiters to enquire into the identities of your colleagues and an ex-colleagues with a view to adding their names to their database. If you impart this information, you may find that the star salesperson on your right is selected for the rates sales job instead of you.

6. Recruiters might place one of their other, better candidates instead

You have your own best interests at heart. Recruiters have their candidates’ best interests at heart. If recruiters come across someone better than you (see point 5), you will be dumped.

“Candidates need to remember that they’re not paying the headhunter and that the headhunter or recruiter works for the client,” says Head. “The headhunter needs to show the candidate respect, but he or she also needs to put the clients’ interests first.”

7.  Recruiters might accidentally destroy your morale

Inexperienced recruiters might promise to get back to you next week with feedback on your interview. If their client goes AWOL, the recruiter may go AWOL too (see point 4.) In this situation, you may be left waiting for a call that never comes and could end up horribly discouraged.

8. Recruiters might mismanage the recruitment process

Recruitment is all about matching candidates’ expectations to clients’ expectations and reading between the lines when a candidate demands more money or a client refuses to pay. There will be situations where the candidate wants a job so much that he’ll accept it even without more pay. And there will be situations where the banks’ refusal to pay is merely a bargaining position.  It’s up to the recruiter to read the signs, said Head. A recruiter who doesn’t read the signs could end up pushing too hard for higher pay, for example, and ruining the whole deal.

9. Recruiters might blacklist you from their database

In the past week, you’ve sent in your CV for 68 extremely disparate jobs all listed by the same recruitment firm. You’ve pitched yourself as a compliance manager, a product controller, an equity researcher and an M&A associate in the oil and gas sector. In this situation, sensing that candidates are a little desperate, the head of one City recruitment firm told us he blacklists people so that their CVs never appear in a database search.

10. Recruiters might give you a nasty unofficial reference

Detailed written references are rare in investment banking. Detailed spoken references are the norm. If a bank wants to know what you’re like, it might call a recruiter for their take on your abilities. The recruiter might then explain that you’ve sent you’re CV for 68 very different jobs in the past five days. “It’s a grey area,” said the head of one recruitment firm.

Comments (11)

Comments
  1. “… spreading your CV far and wide, like bacterial effluvia following an expectoration !!!!” and people wonder why job applicants do not like recruiters !!!

  2. Point 1 is a major shortcoming of recruiters. Whether through laziness or a lack of knowedge of the job, many of them try to ‘box tick’ the candidate with the job, rather than find out what the candidate wans to do and can offer to the job. Recruiters don’t often have the influence with hiring managers which is needed to make sure the best candidates get seen.

    One of the biggest misconceptions in banking is the view that jobs are highly specialised and people in similar jobs can’t transer across easily. The crossover in skills between one job and another, say rates sales and credit sales, is much bigger than people think, especially recruiters. At the end of the day its all sales.

  3. Sarah

    are you comparing us to harmful bacteria: “… You’re spreading your CV far and wide, like bacterial effluvia following an expectoration”.

    I really hope for you you will never find in a situation where you are obliged to try desperately to find a new job

  4. Hi Anna and Markus,
    I’m not comparing recruiters to bacterial effluvia. I was instead comparing CVs that are thoughtlessly sprayed out by candidates (to tens of recruiters) to bacterial effluvia….
    Sarah

  5. Candidates are desperate. Hence them ‘spraying’ out their CVs!

  6. Insecure/incompetent managers will provide you with a bad reference, thus blacklisting you unofficially, with and without the recruiters (who will not hesitate on further blacklisting).

  7. Recruiters are plain nasty, simple as that. Most of them do not have any real qualifications at all anyway. They just ”sell” people to the highest bidders. They will move from one recruitment agency to another, stealing the database from their previous agency and contact you again shamelessly. Most of the time, they are non responsive, unprofessional in their responses (that is, if they do respond to you!). Contact employers directly, I got 80% of my jobs this way. You will cut off the nasty middle men and women, and their up to 35% commission on your gross salary. Fortunately, with social media, if used well, you can stand out naturally for whom you really are. Recruiters use blacklists when they just don’t like you – nothing else. No one ever sent 68 cvs, that’s just another lying exaggeration. And if one did that, he was indeed looking for a job, with recruiters putting him down the pile ”because oh, he sends so many cvs”. The truth is if they are more recruiters contacted, you will not be ”their little exclusive toy which they can sell, just for them”. Avoid recruiters at all cost!

  8. As a recruiter, lets look at David’s outburst;

    Recruiters are plain nasty, simple as that
    – Now thats just mean.

    Most of them do not have any real qualifications at all anyway.
    – Actually I have a Master Degree but unfortunately I couldn’t find a job in my field. I took a role with a recruitment firm and really enjoyed it so here I am 3 years later.

    They will move from one recruitment agency to another, stealing the database from their previous agency and contact you again shamelessly
    – Database? Every heard of having a client base? If I am working with A for the last 3 years and they are my client, of course I am then going to work with them again should I move jobs. Or should I say no Mr A, I can’t work with you anymore because I moved job.

    Most of the time, they are non responsive, unprofessional in their responses (that is, if they do respond to you!)
    – I get on a job ad around 250 application. Now to ring every single one would take me a very long time which means I wouldn’t be able to do my job. I can’t speak for others but I am always polite even when dealing with people that are just not friendly.

    Recruiters use blacklists when they just don’t like you – nothing els
    – If you are difficult to deal with and not a nice person then am I really going to put you in front of my client? To do that could cost me some reputation with them and why would I put my neck on the line when you give me absolutely no reason to?

    . No one ever sent 68 cvs, that’s just another lying exaggeration. And if one did that, he was indeed looking for a job, with recruiters putting him down the pile ”because oh, he sends so many cvs”.
    – How about you don’t speak about something you aren’t qualified to speak about. In actual fact, I do get many people who apply for every job we post regardless of their qualifications. For example, I deal with Architects but I receive repeated CV’s from Site Foremen. It gets to a point when I simply won’t open these emails because there is no point to.

    I think what people forget is that our clients pay us for a service and we have to deliver on that service. Lack any industry you have to produce something that is of a high quality. So for example, an Architect can’t go to a client with a substandard design because it will be rejected. They have to deliver a high end product! I am sorry if this is not good enough for you but unfortunately that is life.

  9. You are right bad recruiter are the devil in the recruitment industry, they are digging the whole industry and making a hole inside. so stay away from such a bad recruiter which are there for their own benefits and just sell your database. they don’t care the impact of this on the other side, they are selfish, cruel, nonsense guy and much more. Just stay away!!!

  10. Good one

  11. Good recruiters play a vital role for the job searching and placing candidates to the perfect job. So if any of the candidates, which lies in the criteria for the job search is gone with the whole recruitment process.

    In my opinion, this article tells that don’t put your information in front of the recruiters as they can use your data against you. They put your colleague and your employer on their list and used it in the future. When you ask them did they put your CV forward for a job, then they disappeared and won’t answer your calls. They not contact you unless they find you useful and assure that you are their valuable assets. So they sometimes send you the job that have no interest to you. So aware from such recruiters or recruitment agencies and check their review on the platform at http://www.recfluence.com.

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