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GUEST COMMENT: I hate it when recruiters cold call pretending to have great jobs and then milk you for information

I hate cold calls from recruiters. My most recent experience went like this (names changed).

Me: “X Bank, Joe speaking. How can I help you?”

Recruiter: “Is Peter there please?”

Me: “Sorry, there’s no such person. Perhaps I can help?”

R: “Actually I’m a recruiter and you’re also on my list of contacts Joe. What’s your surname so that we can update our files please?”

Me: “Uh, sorry, who did you say you were?”

R: “I have job openings in your area with top-tier companies willing to pay good money for the right candidates. We also have candidates in your area and can help with your hiring needs. Why don’t you tell me about your team? We have a ‘John’ listed as well, is he still working there?”

Me: “Sorry, I didn’t catch your name or company?”

R: “Oh, my name is Annie from Top Recruiters.”

Me: “OK Annie, thanks, but I’m not interested.”

R: “I understand this might not be a good time to talk. Why don’t you leave your number or email address so we can speak later?”

Me: “I’m really not interested.”

R: “You mean you don’t want to keep abreast of developments in the market and potential opportunities?”

Me: “I don’t need your services, thanks.”

R: “It’s important for you to keep yourself up to date and know when opportunities arise…”

Me: “Thanks, but no thanks.” *hang up*

Usually armed with outdated contact details, recruiters call looking for the previous listed user of your office telephone and then pretend they know you as well. But it’s downright insulting to try to suck me in with the lure of great jobs and then squeeze me for information about my team.

Tip for these cold callers: Don’t waste my time and yours. To be fair, most recruiters are usually more professional and courteous than this caller, who was amateurish and borderline offensive.

In any case though, surely this must be a low percentage play for recruiters? How many successful placements are made, or useful information solicited, from this approach?

I’m no psychic, but my next cold call from a recruiter will go something like this:

R: “”I have some great jobs that you might be interested in….”

Me: “*hang up* *beep* *beep* *beep*

Comments (30)

  1. if you aint gonna listen to our job s list..how do you think you’ll ever get the top jobs ..numpty !

  2. So the **** what?! I get callers at home, trying to sell me gas and electricity. I wouldn’t dream of writing an article about it though. This comment is bad enough. Bye!

  3. This is an arrogant banker who gives a bad reputation to our industry.

  4. Relax man… you have a job so you’re getting irritated. But believe me .. times change and when you dont have a job.. you’ll be calling them and they’ll be hanging up on you.. So instead of being rude… just be nice and one day not too far in the distant future, you may find that Annie from Top Recruiters just happens to help you out when nobody else is listening.

  5. You know gas/electricity/car insurance prices may go up in the future, so maybe I SHOULD listen to every salesperson who calls me. That your logic? Just in case I find Annie-the-top-insurance-seller on the other end of my call.

  6. Shock horror… He doesn’t like someone calling him and potentially offering him a job…

  7. @StillHaveaJob: you have a job, recruiters call you… you don’t, they’re not interested (who wants a reject?)
    So, don’t lose time on these calls! (but be polite)

  8. The fool who produced this article Clearly has never been within a managerial or hiring role… The best candidates do not sit on WWW. portals.. They are to busy doing their jobs… So therefore we must “HEADHUNT” them….
    Do yourself a favour and don’t be so rude to the next one as your likely to be made redundant soon and will be grovelling back to them….!

    Rec Super Star Reply
  9. I think StillHaveaJob has the right attitude.
    Maybe that’s why he StillHasaJob..

  10. Worst part is when your boss arranges for some recruter from no name agency call you and offer you great position to see if you are looking out! Never trust recruiters, nasties profession ever !

  11. Agree with the author some recruiters even don’t read the cv! you out that you need a sponsorship they call you make you waste 30 mn or ùmore and after say oh sorry given the market it’s difficult to get the a sponship… they profit of candidates and fiurthermore they abuse sometimes of their position because they know that many candidates are hungry of job, if you are satisfied of your current job and you have such recruiter which actually consider that you are stupid, hang up!

  12. I wonder if Annie belted out a rousing rendition of Hard Knock Life after you hung up…

  13. I guess you’ve now got the point, if you were humble enough to read the reactions to your guest comment, Mr. Guest. ITS A TWO WAY STREET.

    Schweizmeister Reply
  14. Recruiters = scum. Any good jobs are filled via referral, what they have is worse thna the odd stint at McD / Starbucks.

  15. @Anne, you dont appear to grasp what recruiters do or the different types of recruitment consultants vs the level they cover..think you will find that most of the very top banking jobs are filled by international search firms…

    Murders and Aquisitions Reply
  16. When I was out of work, I had a headhunter call me, supposedly about a job. After being on the phone about ten minutes and being asked endless questions about the number of employees etc, who worked where, it was pretty clear there wasn’t a job, they were just abusing the fact that I was out of work to glean info.

    Anyway, I like to think that I got revenge in a small way: when they asked for the name of the Director, I gave them the name of the postboy! I do hope they were foolish enough to try and speak to him.

  17. Completely agree with article. Reading the reactions of the stupid recruiters has really made me chuckle. Losers

  18. As an exec search recruiter I find it highly embarassing reading the majority of comments left on this website by recruiters.
    1. You are not a salesman. You are meant to be a consultant. Try calling with some info that adds value rather than just worrying about your next placement. Market knowledge and useful information will give you a better relationship with your clients and candidates even if you do not have anything for them right now.
    2. Remember you are normally speaking to people with a dim view on recruiters. If you get your back up and have a bad attitude, do not be surprised if they are not warm to your call. Good recruiters can turn this round by following point 1.
    3. Do not post snide comments on Efinancial Careers. It gives us all a bad name. Before you post a comment, think whether or not you would post it if it was not anonymous.

  19. This is rife within certain companies. I have had this particularly when I was more junior as they have less to loose I guess. My experience was that, I had applied for a position, the recruiter then rings up and before explaining anything about the advertsied position, they ask which companies you have been interviewing with. The 1st time, being young and naive I said company x, the recruiter then uses the line, ah where you interviewed by so and so…….but the name is made up so that there is no chance you will have encountered a person of that name. I gullibly said no, it was mrs x, the recruiter then asks what other companies and does the same thing. All under the guise of not wanting to put you forward for jobs you have already applied for. And then voila, they say, the position you actually originally applied for has gone/ may not be suitable and you never hear from them again.

    Now, I realise there are some great (and I mean great) recruiters who do everything possible to get you the best possible package, position etc and do not even think about trying something like this but what the author has described does happen so no it is not just sour grapes!

    Not on your nelly Reply
  20. Quantrec – I think some of the larger agencies do recognise that they are indeed sales organisations and have organisational structures that reflect this.

    Those folks that are calling you are probably sourcers, not consultants, they are the bottom of the food chain, and do expect them to do this. Most people in a sales role will attempt to gather information like this, why would this be any different, it’s just that most of us are not getting the sales calls from the chair salesman that the facilities manager is getting.

    The really unethical practice is CV farming via false advertising, if you suspect an agency is doing that, stop dealing with them immediately. Only engage once you have a “branded” job description.

  21. I’ve been looking for work for a few months now. To date i’ve had around 8 interviews- can’t say that all the jobs were in line with my field but i went along to keep the recruiter happy. Then are times when agencies who have not called for some time call up out the blue and ask “Hi just wanted to find out what your current situation is…WHERE HAS YOUR CV BEEN SENT TO?”.

    I understand it’s hard for them as they have a target to maintain but it’s tought for most of us. PLEASE RECRUITERS MAINTAIN SOME DECENTCY.

  22. I share his experience. Many headhunters called without a real mandate. Honestly I have entertained so many of them only to realized at the end of the day either there is no such jobs or the employers are looking for entirely different candidate. For example, The employer may be looking for a front office experience but I may not have! Humiliating and waste of time. I sometimes wonder why don’t they do some research about the job and come clean. I don’t think I am arrogant..I appreciate if it’s genuine. If it is not, I feel like a fool in front of the prospective employer and also it’s a waste of everybody’s time

  23. Pixie, you are so right. I am going through the same situation at the moment. I’ve decided instead of dealing with headless chickens it is best for me to contact companies myself. I have an appointment with a very significant company. If you dont feel recruiters are satisfying your requirements, do it yourself.

  24. Recruiters are ALL Scum Bags! There are no exceptions-ever.

  25. @ Banker – First of all, don’t use the name Banker, that’s my name. Besides this not all recruiters are scum. 1 out of 10 is exceptional. In banking 1 out of 100 is exceptional.

  26. Brightup@ i admire your guts to do that as i’ve tried that route but often get no where (good luck). Do you not find that they prefer to use useless agencies as it saves them time in verifying you etc??? common sense would say that they save a fee if you deal with them direct.

  27. The Banker- i agree, there are some, though very few that are in fact genuine. But the trick is to find one. It’s a bit a needle in a haystack!……………………………good luck searching……………………found one yet??

  28. More like 1 in a 1000……..and I number myself in the 1…….000sssss ahahahhaaha

    The other bad thing I have come across is where the organisation doesn’t even have a job and tries to make out there is something wrong with your CV and says they can fix the CV using their oh so expert CV service which only costs 100. Thankfully I did not fall for this but I reckon there must have been some people out there that did as desperation can make people do stupid things…….though the flipside is more fool them if they could not see through such a rouse!

    Anyway, my advice is if you have been out of work for a few months, think about really boosting your CV by going back to study. Banking = msc or phd, buyside = msc mba or phd. You’ll ride out this current poo storm and by the time you finish you’ll have options…..particularly if you have done an MBA somewhere decent (Top 3-5 bschool) and you might even find you want to take your career somewhere completely different. Well, it worked for me in 09-10 :)

    Harry Henderson Reply
  29. otherwise slit your throat….chances are you will have more luck doing that finding work in this economy….sorry to be so blunt

  30. Why are you all so dense? Do you think it’s normal to call perfect strangers to milk info out of them? What are you even doing on a professional job board, if you don’t know professional boundaries? Most recruiters are a bunch of slime balls with sketch recruiting tactics. I am unemployed and even in my worse dreams, i wouldn’t answer the emails or calls of this wolf pack. They have no morals, no integrity: the only thing that matters to them is their commission. So yeah, hang up on them; maybe that will teach them how to be professional and decent while doing their jobs.

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