Recruiters: I am not responsible for your tracking database

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jan 14

Recruiters are wonderful people. But like every other position, there are great recruiters, good ones and not so good ones. This is a (true) story about the not so good ones.

Recruiter blogs are famous for telling job candidates how to work with them to help them find a job. They give resume advice, interviewing advice and whine about how job candidates don’t do the right stuff.

Rarely, however, do the recruiters look at their own processes and see how they offend the very job candidates they so want to fill those positions.

Here’s the example: my wife is a fabulous Business Analyst. She was laid off by a consulting company when consulting at Microsoft in the finance department in 2009 when the very same finance department discovered they were two million dollars over budget. Which tells you all you need to know about Microsoft and how well they run the company.

Long story short, we moved from Seattle, WA, to Wisconsin in December, 2009, and she is happily employed here and I’ve got a consulting gig as well. Life is good.

In the meantime, we’ve scrubbed all of our employment stuff — taken down resumes, changed our addresses, changed phone numbers from Washington to Wisconsin numbers, updated LinkedIn — we’re not searching for jobs. So we took it all down.

Today, Kate gets this e-mail from a recruiter. About a contract position in — you guessed it — Seattle, WA, while we’re now living in Wisconsin. For over a year. This happens 3-5 times a week with her, less often with me, but it happens with both of us. The kicker is, this recruiter decided to lecture Kate about keeping her communication information current:

We attempted to contact you at (Washington State phone number), but it seems that number is not valid. We have a position for which your skill set appears to be a good match, but you need to maintain accurate contact information other than email if you hope to be considered for positions like this.

Here’s a clue about working with terrific job candidates, recruiters: It is not the candidate’s responsibility to update your candidate tracking database. Nor do you get to lecture people about keeping up contact information when you’ve never talked to the candidate or shown any interest in the candidate until your first email contact that lectures the very same candidate you are trying to recruit on keeping contact information current.

Here’s reality, if you only cared to check: our contact information is current. It is so widely available via that thing called Google search that it isn’t even an issue. To send an email attempting to chastise a candidate for not keeping YOUR tracking database current is yet another example of what is wrong with the recruiting profession.

Look, there are great job candidates. Lots of poor ones. Great recruiters (and I am working with a great one on my consulting gigs) and poor ones. The poor ones ruin it for the rest of the great ones.

I won’t tell you the two-word response Kate had for this recruiter who lectures her about not keeping his database current. You’re a Cubicle Warrior: you can probably guess the two words.

And you’d be right.