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Recruiters warn against crazy candidate syndrome

With more and more people pursuing fewer and fewer jobs, recruiters say some candidates are exhibiting strange and unusual behaviours in an attempt to catch their attention. These apparently include:

Sending in their CV for every single job going: “These are the serial appliers,” says Recruiter A. “They apply for everything we advertise across every function.”

Repeatedly sending in their CV for the same job: “If someone sees an advert they like, they will apply 15 times in a row,” says Recruiter B.

Telephoning immediately after sending a CV: “We have people who send in their CV at 9am and are on the phone at 9.05am asking if we’ve received it,” says Recruiter C.

Pretending to casually drop by: “There are some people who buzz downstairs and say they happened to be in the neighbourhood, saw the nameplate, and wondered whether they could come up for a quick chat,” says Recruiter B.

Needless to say, none of these techniques work. Recruiters point out that most of the better firms in the industry have comprehensive databases, and that once you’ve sent in your CV once there is absolutely no need to send it again and again as different jobs come up.

It is, however, necessary to take no for an answer. “You get people applying for the same job again and again and who keep asking why they are not right for it,” says one recruiter.

He adds: “In most cases, a job that is advertised for a long time is there because the client is particularly choosy. Eventually you have to point out that at the top of the bull market they had a job at a Landesbank and in a bear market Goldman Sachs won’t want to hire them.”

Comments (37)

  1. Interesting article, but from a candidate’s perspective I would point out that often agencies run with very similar job descriptions for different jobs -so it is natural some candidates will end up reapplying.

    From personal experience, I know that while a particular agency may say they have a long relationship with their client and know they would be not be interested in your profile, you can end up getting an interview/ the job through other agencies who ACTUALLY KNOW the company better. So my advice is to take anything recruiters tell you with a pinch of salt (or more if necessary!)

    The not so crazy candidate Reply
  2. yeah…receiving at least a call per day from fired bankers, it is quite bothering.

    it is really a nightmare over there, uh?

  3. As an IT recruitment agent who has been with Rullion for 17 years I think that most of my competitors have forgotten that our business is best served by looking after people particularly when they are in need and I am amazed by the arrogance of the IT recruitment industry in general. Whatever happened to ‘putting people first’?

    Will O’Donnell Reply
  4. The same three people keep applying to all of my jobs…….please stop!

  5. To all candidates out there PLEASE read the advert fully and only apply if you actually match the criteria. And don’t whatever you do ring up to ask a series of questions that are already answered in the advert as it won’t get you anywhere. If the adverts states you need X, Y and Z then that is what the client has stipulated and no amount of you talking at an agency will change that.

    In response to “the not so crazy candidate”, did you get the job you mention? If you did, then well done and more fool the first agency; if not they just have been right after all!

    busy recruiter Reply
  6. Point made in the article, but are you trying to tell us that HHs are good, innocent people who are harassed by jobseekers? Is this JOKE? Anyone, ANYONE with a few months experience knows perfectly well what HHs are all about, I wont even go and describe, it is all the obvious stuff. There are few OK good people and that’s it. And as you go closer to the money, (trading/structuring/sales) people get more and more mental.

  7. Waah. Waahhh! Stop moaning! We are all busy. Filter the jobs and build relationships with your candidates, so you know who to approach when a new position comes up.

    Many job specs are flexible and you do not have to fill all the requirements. Some are mandatory others are just desirable!

    Bored with moaning recruiters! Reply
  8. 17 years in IT recruitment….I bet you really do put the candidates needs before your own. What a flump, especially mentioning his company name which actually has a bad enough reputation in the market anyway.

    Someone must have used your name and company to post that.

  9. Pot, Kettle Black – agents (of which I am one) have been sending peoples CV’s across the city incessantly for the last 6 years – now the shoe is on the other foot I don’t feel anyone has a right to complain. Hopefully the people looking for the jobs will have a little more empathy for the recruiters if and when the market picks up again. We are all trying to earn a living and having someone send there CV 3 times a day isn’t causing any harm, and clearly demonstrates willing :O)

  10. A am assuming by your silence that “the not so crazy candidate” did not get that job, so perhaps that agency did after all know what the client was looking for…?

    busy recruiter Reply
  11. Will that was a shameless pitch for Rullion… if you were putting people first you would be working for minimum wage in Oxfam… Recruitment was never intended to put people first it essentially was based upon the principle of all business money. Probably wouldn’t go with Rullian unemployed developers I’m not sure they have any morals

    Employed Developer Reply
  12. c’mon get real..we are all struggling..best if we all try and work together a little. There is absolutely no problem with “passing by and dropping in”
    5 minutes is a little quick, but again there is no problem in checking that it has reached the right person. Re Databases..even the best works on the principle of crap in..crap out..so if you think you fit the bill..check that you are being thought of and considered. 99% of jobs currently out there are with multiple recruiters..so no harm checking around (tho do at least tell people who you have approached ..there is no point oin multi recruiter approaches to a client..it just pees them off

  13. Pot, Kettle Black – agents (of which I am one) have been sending peoples CV’s across the city incessantly for the last 6 years – now the shoe is on the other foot I don’t feel anyone has a right to complain. Hopefully the people looking for the jobs will have a little more empathy for the recruiters if and when the market picks up again. We are all trying to earn a living and having someone send there CV 3 times a day isn’t causing any harm, and clearly demonstrates willing :O)

  14. HR dude? HR DUDE? Are you kidding? You may work in HR but HR dont employ ‘Dudes’. Dudes are cool, easy going people who are happy in their skin. My friend you are not a dude.

  15. There are good and bad recruiters, just as there are good and bad accountants, lawyers, bankers etc. What annoys me is that many candidate’s seem to treat us as if we’re all the same. Yet I would never consider that all bankers and all lawyers are the same.

    Regardless, as a candidate you should be very aware that you are not paying us a penny for the service. We are paid by our clients to find the most suitable person for the job that is available on the market.

    It is a bear market, there are hundreds of candidates on the market for every job. If you’re getting no help from recruiters, you could always try applying directly to the company of your choice. Think objectively and take the recruiters advice to go for roles you can do, rather than holding out for the elusive job you would like to do.

    My advice is to work with the Consultant you feel best understands your experience and is confident of getting you interviews. If he/she fails, move on. Taking all advice from recruiters with a pinch of salt is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard, ever. It would be almost the same as not taking legal advice on a legal matter or not speaking to your bank about financial matters.

  16. I hate it when candidates call me and harass me all day. Do they not realise it interrupts the important time I spend on lovefilm.com arranging my hotlist.

  17. The one good thing about this recession is it similarity to ‘London’s Burning’. The city is full of rats and rogues, and its my sincere hope that by the end of the recession, we have been sanctified of this epidemic of annoying headhunters, arrogant incompetent ‘bankers’ and clueless time-wasting HR’s. Then we can truly start afresh and fix what is a cocktail of carnage that has resulted from years of ineptness and nonsense.

  18. Well said David O! “Pot, Kettle Black” indeed! The market will pick up again and when it does the moaners – generally those who do not acknowledge receipt of CVs will I’m sure continue to be hounded by these professionals!!…

    Some of these comments are truely unbelievable.

  19. Hi, my name is unemployed and I have CRAZY CANDIDATE SYNDROME. And then come the cheers and clapping. I do not need that right now, all I need is a job.

    I must confess that I have, in most instances missed that I have already applied for the role and just apply again. So, sorry recruiters!


    Wanna Job Now! Reply
  20. Well , Well I know that recruiters might be busy and its no point harrasing them if they have said no once. But mind well out of site is out of mind and though with all the databases in the world it may turn out that your recruiter didnt reach your CV because he found a few in the database before your name.

    Well it worked out for me though.And i have a Job.

    But there have been a few recruiters that mock candidates by saying that they have a role (when they have none) so that you chase them for a good few weeks where you are told the recruiter is on holiday or on gardening leave. After a while of their fun when u finally call dem all you hear is them mocking you over the phone .

    I think recruiter should be aware of the fact that the recruitment process is mutually benificial and a few years from now when the person will himself would be looking to hire a few ppl he would surely know where to go and where not to go…….

    So good luck and beware of such recruiters.

  21. funny article

    so, gentlemen, following-up is a certain way to get your CV black listed?

  22. Well, here’s a warning about crazy “recruiter” syndrome:

    -posting jobs just to collect CV’s, so you can go to a bank and say “you should put me on your preferred list because I have 3,000 CV’s in my database.”

    -arrogant, condescending nitwits who couldn’t spell “stochastic integration” let alone have any idea what it means mathematically when I explain it to them.

    -“carpet bombers” who send your CV to 50 different shops everyday without asking you.

    Jobseekers, always work any contacts before paying these parasites their percentage.

    Johnny Moondog Reply
  23. Quite honesty recruitment consultants deserve everything they get, they are parasites, probably loathed more than estate agents and lawyers put together. Many of the people on here have no doubt experienced the CV harverster techniques, the lack of general professionalism and lack of industry knowledge. I have come across only a few decent agenies that i would recommend or ever consider using if when I need to hire someone.

    Micheal Svenson Reply
  24. From an ‘in-house’ recruitment perspective, you can actually replace the word ‘recruiter’ with ‘in-house recruiter’ and then replace the word ‘candidate’ with ‘recruitment consultant’ and it will still ring true with stunning poignancy.

  25. Also, my advice to anyone who might be looking for a job, apply to the firm directly be it through HR, the business, or both. All organizations are looking to cut costs, applying directly instantly makes your hiring 20 to 30% cheaper depending on which country you work in, than an agency pitched application. Most firms have in-house recruiting teams which have come from the industry. Try to apply direct, it costs the firm less and shows initiative. Check the firms which advertize directly on here, get out and sell yourself as you cannot depend to hand that over to someone else who is ultimately driven by ‘the sale’…

  26. According to an agency I have spoken to at the moment for every job advertised agencies are receiving 200+ responses – so if 5 people call the next day and 3 are suitable they will be put forward and the rest ignored.

    As for searching on the database I live in Peregrine Gardens and an Asset Management system (number of PCs you have etc) called Peregrine exists – I receive at least 3 emails a week asking about my Peregrine skills and most of rhese are followed up with a phone call.

  27. Phil – your no lawyer.

  28. Fred Sir – couldn’t agree with you more. Applying directly has brought me success with a couple of firms (mainly the European houses). However, the ‘agency within HR’ function -former recruiters comissioned to work on site at an IB, are just as pointless – no idea about your skills and how they apply to a role. They have enough CVs to sift through so they just don’t bother vetting yours.

    Flawed Process Reply
  29. As someone who works with people in career development situations I could tell you a few stories about “crazy” recruiters!

    Dorothy Wilson Reply
  30. Recruiters are first and foremost, “salesmen”. They place candidates where they can just for the commission regardless of whether the it is the right fit for either candidate or client.
    There is MINIMAL REGULATION in the industry which breeds a rampant culture of unethical behaviour.

    ex-recruiter, now in Internal HR Reply
  31. Have any of these agents been unemployed for 6 months looking desperately for a job? Have they felt being unsecured without a salary and living only from their savings, having a mortgage and bills every month??

    Common get real. Being unemployed is very taugh…and some people try to do their best to get a job…

  32. Kolabrau, I’m afraid you are illiterate.

  33. Recruiters are like estate agents. Underskilled morons who like wearing fat ties and pointy shoes. It really is a trade full of scumbags that I wouldn’t even want to speak to even if it was only to tell them to get me a coffee.

  34. haha, I would love to meet the guy that was casually in the neighbourhood and just wanted to “pop in” for a chat with HR. In all fairness, students are chasing fewer and fewer jobs which is making it terribly difficult to secure an investment banking job. Maybe try getting some inside help like I did.

  35. dear banker wannabe (the majority here), why don’t you contact directly the manager at the firm you are interested in? You, banker, you should have a huge network of contacts, why don’t you use it?

    I am a “fatcat” thus i am also part of the recruitment process, i alwais pick potential candidates from those who contacted me…i don’t spend 20-30% of the hired total comp to pay HH copwboys.
    If i need candidates, i just to leverage my MBA alumni status to gather higly qualified CVs, or just need to call few friends in other banks to have great recommendations.

    So, do your job banker: develop your relations and you will have more chances

  36. Ain’t nobody crazy but the recruiters.
    95% of them are dishonest, lazy, stupid, arrogant (for what reason i dont know).
    I have a great job and am happy, so i dont hate them because i havent found a job. but in my experience, here is a small list of SOME of my experiences:

    1. had 3 interviews for a job, all going great. recruiter calling EVERY single day to make sure im still interested. Eventually, they picked someone else. The person who had been calling daily for weeks didnt even bother to tell me. he not only disappeared, but he stopped even answering his phone!

    2. agency told me my cv had been turned down by a company i applied to. i didnt believe them and applied through someone else with same cv. i got an interview instantly.

    3. when i was younger and more naive, i was hassled daily by agencies with “current vacancies” that never materialised. i started connecting the dots when i realised that they actually lie about jobs to obtain information about my colleagues. and then use this information to pretend they “know” everyone..

    now, if a recruiter asks me a question without telling me exactly what job is available, there is a n immediate click and tooooooot.

  37. This is a very dangerous attitude. It is extremely tough being unemployed in a market like the current one and people need to try everything they can, not give up and not be made to feel like they are failures just because their firm closed for business/closed a division etc
    We are not all made redundant because we are useless.
    For some of us the exact same job we did previously does not exist so we cannot fulfill the lazy recruiters’ ideal candidate spec. This does not mean we are not the best candidate for the job. We may have skills, knowledge and business abilities that are better than those who have been made redundant from a similar job because they were the ‘bottom 10%’ – so why would an employer prefer the bottom 10% who have done the job before to the incomer who may actually be more capable ?
    The world has gone mad and there are a large number of very capable people out there whose skills are being wasted, who are being made to feel they are useless and who are, on top of this, being criticised for trying hard when many others would simply give up.
    What has happened to business and the human race in this country ?

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