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In a market like this, recruiters are first furiously courted by banks, then pointedly ignored

Being ignored is never fun

Being ignored is never fun

Recruitment has been particularly challenging over the past few months. Even though there was some hiring following the August holiday season, the same old issue of employers “ignoring the headhunter once a candidate has been presented” is back with a vengeance.

Let me break it down for you: After many conversations and coffees between the headhunter and hiring manager, it is finally agreed that the vacancy is not going to be filled via employee referrals or internal mobility. Even better yet, the hiring manager now has sign-off to engage a recruiter.

Generally what follows next is a sense of urgency never seen before from both the hiring manager and HR. They stress that the role needs to be filled ASAP and that only A-grade candidates, with skills and experiences that match the job description verbatim, will be considered. Initially this is music to our ears – finally a firm has approval and appetite to undertake recruitment!

A puzzling vanishing act

Once a candidate shortlist is presented, the process tends to go awry. Suddenly the hiring manager, who was only recently telling you how important this role is, can no longer be located. It’s almost as if they have fallen of the face of the earth; direct lines are not answered and emails are not responded to. The same goes for the HR person, whose phone is constantly on voicemail.

While the headhunter ponders the curious disappearance of the client, the job seeker naturally questions the recruiter about what is going on. This makes for difficult conversations as the candidate doubts the organisation’s commitment to hiring. This, along with the MIA line manager, does not make for a rosy situation.

This game generally plays out for a period of time without any contact from the prospective employer, so both headhunter and candidate move on. Fast forward a month or so later, when the hiring manager re-emerges, and the response is either “we managed to fill it directly” or “we lost the headcount”.

Please, just say something

Come on employers, you may be surprised, but we do understand that things can change suddenly and headcount can be pulled. We get that banks will always be looking at internal candidates or referrals – no matter what. But there is also no need to disappear and ignore our calls and emails. A simple update is all we need. If there are issues, tell us – we can then manage all parties’ expectations. That’s not so hard now, is it?

The author is a financial services headhunter in Singapore. The views expressed are his own and not those of eFinancialCareers.

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Comments (5)

  1. I agree up to a point. If there is an update, then it should be shared. No point dragging out a process unecessarily. But most recruiters have a nasty habit of hounding hiring managers to the point where it’s calls every day, or sometimes everu few hours just to “touch base” and see if there has been any progress. That’s just annoying and deserves to be ignored.

  2. Answer is obvious: Banks are downsizing. No more hiring, it will be paycut + headcount cut.

  3. Karma.

    You mean recruitment agents dont post job adverts where the roles don’t actually exist ?
    You mean recruitment agents dont ignore jobseekers and provide them with updates?
    At least the firm manager is not blatantly lying to you to collect infomation…

    The great thing about a sinking ship that is “the financial industry” — is that the rats always leave first.

  4. I agree with loves_Karma… i have much more frequent experience of the shoe being on the other foot. recruiters chase employees, lavish with them praise, have them provide a fullsome pitch or presentation for themselves, then disappear into thin air!

  5. Don’t be naive. Banks don’t work solely with one recruiter. When HR/the hiring manager is not getting back to you, it means another recruiter has found them a better candidate. They have no time for you because they are too busy following up with candidates they want to hire.

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