An angry young businesman is on the phone and screaming

Are you irritating your candidates?

Whether or not the reputation is fair, many recruiters are viewed as aggravating sales people who harass unwilling and uninterested participants. While this is certainly not true of all recruiters, the stereotype stems from a very bleak reality – many recruiters never learned to properly recruit! In order to rid themselves of such a stigma, they must learn to avoid the following tacky methods:

 1. Initial Contact: Asking the candidate for favors

Many recruiters have the habit of asking for favors in their very first message to a candidate: “Please send me your resume/fill out this application/come to this interview/tell me who you know.” Not only does this sound absolutely demanding, but recruiters are forgetting that they are the ones approaching the candidate in the first place. The candidate doesn’t owe the recruiter anything, and at this point he/she might not even be interested.

Building a relationship and observing interest are prerequisites for resumes, applications, referrals or interviews.

2. Acting Needy

While recruiters might desperately need to fill their positions, this is not the candidate’s problem. E-mail subject lines such as “Urgent: Talent Needed” are much too common and ineffective. Most candidates will actually be deterred by a recruiter who expects him/her to take a position based on the recruiter’s own need. Remember recruiter – it’s not about what you want but what the candidate’s wants and needs!

3. Qualifications

Listing required qualifications in an intro email or message infers that a candidate will care about the recruiter’s need. It is not the candidate’s problem that certain skills are needed for an unfilled job – especially if he/she is not at all interested in that position. This is especially true for passive candidates who might not want to be bothered at all.

It is the recruiter’s job to ask questions and do enough homework to determine a candidate’s qualifications, rather than demanding that the candidate labor over a long list of requirements.

4. Offering a “Great Opportunity”

Recruiters often fall into the trap of selling what they have, not what the candidate needs. Rather than asking questions about the candidate’s career interests and skills, they tend to use tacky lines to promote the open position. Not only will cause candidates to roll their eyes, but it will probably be the fifth message they got that day with the same subject line.

As the recruiter, how do you know it’s a great opportunity for the candidate?  Are you really going to say “I have a crappy opportunity for you”? Stop following the crowd of recruiters who just don’t get how to connect with candidates.

5. The “Great Match” Line

“You’re a great match for these eight totally unrelated jobs!” While this phrase sounds ridiculous, many recruiters offer more than one job at a time while claiming the candidate is perfect for each role. This is the best way to fail at earning a candidate’s trust, as it is obvious the recruiter’s needs are being put first.

Another way to phrase this line is, “I need to fill one of these jobs, so I’m going to tell you what you want to hear.”

6. Copying & Pasting the Job Description

Unfortunately, many recruiters have the bad habit of copying and pasting a job description into an email and sending it to the candidate. Not only does this downplay the individuality of each candidate, it leaves the candidate wondering, “Why should I care?” The recruiter’s job is to convince the candidate that he or she will be better off in a new position. Failing to do so will only further irritate the candidate.