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Feb 16, 2015

Back in the day, while working at my first job out of school, I became bored.

Shocker for a young person, right? I made the decision that since I had one year of real life working under my belt, it was time to move on and change jobs.

I was scouring the Sunday classified ads and snail-mailing my resumes and cover letters — printed on the perfect shade of buff-colored stationery — to companies. No Internet or job boards back then. How painful would that be if we had to do that today? 

How recruiters used to operate

A friend suggested that I call someone she knew who worked for an employment agency. She proceeded to explain that companies who had open positions would call these agencies looking for candidates to fill their jobs. “Wow, how easy is that?” I thought.

I called the agency and spoke with a gal named Donna. Well, Donna and I spoke frequently and she wanted me to succeed.

She gave me feedback after I interviewed and even coached me on negotiating a job offer. It was a win for both of us. This was my first experience working with a recruiter and it was first-rate. In fact, I recently connected with Donna and was glad that she remembered me from back then.

Throughout the last 20 years, I’ve had calls from recruiters who were looking to fill positions and I have reached out to recruiters who have posted positions to fill.

My experiences have been scattered. I’ve spoken with some who were detailed and emphasized the priorities of the job, details about the company and style of the hiring manager. They also took the time to get to know my background.

Dealing with the “resume collectors”

I’ve also had some disappointing experiences. The recruiters I refer to as the “resume collectors.”

It’s obvious when a recruiter is simply adding your name to a stack of other resumes that are being submitted to a manager so that it appears as though the recruiter is working on filling the open position. They’re the ones who don’t ask many questions about your background and you rarely hear from them again.

As I mentioned in a prior post, recruiting is a role that requires excellent relationship-building and sales abilities. Great recruiters maintain relationships for years and many will work with the same professionals over the course of their careers.

I often wonder if new recruiters building their careers understand what this gig is about. It’s about people. Whether you’re working with hiring managers to fill positions, or interviewing candidates — all people.

Candidates are people, too

Success will be difficult to reach without building these valuable relationships.

I admit that I had a great first experience with a recruiter. And yes, I also get that recruiters don’t work for candidates, they work for clients. But let’s remember that candidates are people too and we’ll never know if our paths will cross again with these folks throughout our own careers.

This was originally published on Kimberly Patterson’s Unconventional HR blog.