Episode #37 – What NOT to Do When Working with a Recruiter (Job Seeker)

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about what job seekers should not do when working with a search consultant or recruiter. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Sharita. I’m glad to be here today.

Sharita: In our last podcast, we tackled the topic of what employers or hiring managers should not do when working with an Animal Health or Veterinary recruiter. In today’s podcast, we’re going to discuss the same topic, but from the job seeker side of the equation.

Stacy: That’s right, and once again, the reason is simple. Ultimately, in order to be successful and maximize your efforts, you must know both what to do and what not to do in certain situations. Now we’ve talked before on this show about what job seekers and candidates should do when working with a recruiter. We’ve also touched briefly on what they should not do, but we’re devoting an entire podcast to the topic today. Since we explored the topic in full from the employer side, we should explore it in full on the job seeker and candidate side.

Sharita: That makes sense. Thank you, Stacy. Can you talk about why it is so important for job seekers to do the right things when working with a recruiter? There may be some people in the audience who think it’s not that big of a deal.

Stacy: An Animal Health and Veterinary recruiter can be a valuable resource for a job seeker. They have access to information that job seekers and candidates do not have access to, and that includes great employment opportunities. Many times, the only way that job seekers know about these opportunities is because recruiters contact them to let them know about them.

The fact of the matter is that if a recruiter is working with a job seeker, and that job seeker handles the relationship the wrong way, then there’s a good chance the recruiter won’t want to work with the job seeker again.

Sharita: And if that happens, then the job seeker will no longer have access to the information that the recruiter has, including information about great employment opportunities?

Stacy: That’s right. Job seekers and candidates have to remember that when a recruiter presents them to their client, they’re taking a risk. They’re risking their reputation and essentially their livelihood by presenting you. They’re basically telling their client, “This person represents the work that I do as a search consultant.” So if you do something that reflects poorly on yourself or on them, then they’re not going to want to represent you or present you anymore.

Sharita: That certainly makes sense. So in essence, the only person that the job seeker or candidate is hurting when they engage in negative behavior is themselves.

Stacy: That’s the reality of the situation. And unfortunately, I’ve witnessed candidates engage in all types of negative behavior down through the years.

Sharita: I bet you have. Can you share some of that with us now?

Stacy: Absolutely. First, don’t think that you’re a candidate for every position that a recruiter has in the Animal Health or Veterinary Profession. Right off the bat, that’s not possible, Second, don’t try to manipulate your background so it looks like you’re a fit for a specific job. Recruiters literally interview thousands of people a year. They know whether you’re a fit and whether you’re qualified.

While it’s true that you might be very motivated to find a new job, thinking that you’re a fit for every position on a recruiter’s desk is not the way to go about it. You must be patient, and you must approach the situation in the right way.

Sharita: What’s something else that candidates should not do when working with an Animal Health Recruiter or Veterinary Recruiter?

Stacy: Well, this next one is something you should not do whether you’re working with a recruiter or not. You should not agree to an interview if your motivation for doing so is something other than the job itself.

Sharita: What do you mean by that?

Stacy: There are candidates who have been known to accept an interview request just so they can get a free trip to a city or take a mini-vacation.

Sharita: Really? This has happened before?

Stacy: Oh, yes. On more than one occasion. I once had a candidate who interviewed with a company only because he wanted to take his wife on a trip to New York City. He admitted it to me after the interview process was over. As you can imagine, there was no way I was going to represent this person again and present him with an employment opportunity. He wasted my time and he wasted my client’s time.

In another instance, a candidate flew to another city for an interview. He interviewed with our client, and then he flew back to his hometown. When he got back into town, he and his wife went to a fancy restaurant and ordered a big meal with an expensive bottle of wine. And then the candidate attempted to get my client to pay for it, claiming that it was part of the interview trip. As a job candidate, these are things that you just can’t do. It makes you look bad and it makes the recruiter who is representing you look bad.

Sharita: And these candidates are only hurting themselves in the long run with this type of behavior.

Stacy: That’s right, they are. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “burning bridges” before, and that’s what this type of behavior does. The Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession are small niches, so doing things like this can have ramifications and consequences in the future. Candidates who engage in this behavior are limiting their career opportunities, at the very least.

Sharita: What else should candidates not do?

Stacy: I know I’ve mentioned this before in a previous podcast, but don’t try to go around the recruiter and contact the employer yourself. This could happen at anytime during the process. It could be at the beginning or it could be in the middle. Sometimes candidates become overanxious and they start thinking to themselves, “If I could only speak directly with the hiring manager, I could convince them of what a great candidate I am.”

So what they do is they contact the hiring manager without telling the recruiter what they’re doing, and it ends badly. This is like what I discussed in our last podcast about the hiring manager discussing critical topics with the candidate without the recruiter’s knowledge. If the recruiter is part of the process from the beginning, they should always be part of the process.

Job seekers must remember that organizations rely upon the judgment of the search consultants and recruiters they hire. If you go around the recruiter and contact the hiring manager yourself, you will likely no longer be considered for the position. I’ve had multiple cases of this happening. Once again, I will not be motivated to work with these job seekers in the future or present them with opportunities. Why would I be?

Sharita: I certainly understand that line of thinking. As you said, these candidates, in effect, represent your organization. That’s not the type of behavior you want to see. What else is on our list of things that job seekers should not do when working with an Animal Health Recruiter or Veterinary Recruiter?

Stacy: Our next item is don’t be a “stalker candidate.” This one goes along with the one we just discussed.

You don’t want to circumvent the recruiter during the process, but you don’t want to hound the recruiter, either. Showing persistence can be a good thing. Persistence is often needed during the search for an Animal Heath or Veterinary job. But there is a fine line between persistence and annoyance.

Recruiters talk with countless people every day. The hiring process is full of steps and stages. If a recruiter does not return your calls or your emails immediately, then there is probably a good reason. That reason is most likely because they’re in the middle of something or because your background and experience is not suited for one of their firm’s current searches.

If you’re working with a recruiter, then you must have patience. Even though they might not have an opportunity for you today, they could present your dream job to you tomorrow. That’s how things can operate in the employment marketplace. I’ve seen it time and time again.

Sharita: Stacy, we have time for one more. What final thing should a job seeker not do when working with a recruiter?

Stacy: Well, this final item is more like a two-for-one. If a candidate does not get a job, for whatever reason, that candidate should not write a nasty note to the recruiter. They should also not write a nasty note to the hiring manager.

Sharita: This has happened before?

Stacy: It has happened. Both instances have happened, and like the other things we’ve discussed today, they’ve happened on multiple occasions. In fact, I once had a candidate write a note to me saying that the hiring manager was stupid for not hiring them. No good can come from a letter like that. As a recruiter, I’ll be less inclined to work with that person in the future. And calling a hiring manager stupid does nothing to advance your career.

If you don’t get the job, you may be hurt and disappointed. Those are natural emotions that result from the feeling of being rejected. But in the end, only one candidate can be hired. The key is to handle the situation professionally and with grace. When you handle the situation correctly, then the recruiter will definitely want to work with you again when the right opportunity comes along. The correct behavior is very important in these types of situations.

Sharita: As we’ve mentioned before, you’ve been a recruiter for more than 20 years. You’ve seen candidates handle things the right way, and you’ve seen them handle things the wrong way. Everything we’ve been discussing today is based on years of first-hand experience.

Stacy: It is, and that’s why I wanted to talk about these things. I want to arm job seekers and candidates with the kind of information they need to be successful and maximize their careers.

Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!