Thursday, July 03, 2008

Recruiting Ruthlessly

I visited yet another recruiter today, making the third one that I'm currently in touch with. My favorite recruiter is S, followed by J. The woman I met today, M, is very different from both S and J.

S and J are both very friendly and personable. S is always updating me on her schedule so we can coordinate phone calls and meetings, and she asks me about my week, how things are going, and so forth. She treats me like a real person, and not a robot. I've only spoken with J over the phone, but he's easy to talk to, asks clear questions and is a great communicator. Both S and J are very diplomatic in their dealings, and if they need to change something on my resume, or ask questions about my work history, they put me at ease.

I met M at 10 this morning, and when I left I felt like I had spent the past hour in an interrogation room. As usual, I was asked to explain the particulars about why I left my past jobs, and so forth. She flat out said that I made a stupid move leaving the job with my mentor, and that I made a big mistake discussing the job move with my mentor beforehand. I tried to point out that my mentor is supportive of me, and wanted me to move on to bigger and better things, but I think M doesn't believe in helpful bosses. She was ridiculously obsessed with why I left my last job, and I kept feeling as if she didn't believe my reasons (a first). Further, my taking notes during our conversation was labeled "rude" (another first).

I'm not sure I can work with someone who doesn't trust me, or doesn't inspire trust. And any time I've taken notes in an interview, I always ask, "Do you mind if I take notes?" I've never been given so much as a sideways glance over that. The whole experience grated on me; it's not as if I can't take a little criticism--but most of what M said went against everything my mentors and past experience has taught me.

I've worked with a fair number of recruiters now, and M is an entirely different person than the others I've known. Even the woman who told me I didn't have the right kind of experience for her clients (and therefore couldn't be placed from her firm) was more professional and polite to me than M was. Of course, M was trying to correct me so that I would play well with her clients, but I still felt slighted by the whole experience. Not to mention that her interview kept me for two hours today, much longer than any other visit I've ever had to a staffing firm.

The positive note in all of this is that I don't have to work with M. I will definitely look at her advice and assess what I can and can't use from it; there's no sense in having wasted an interview. But working with a recruiter is a matter of choice, and I may ultimately decide to drop myself from M's roster of candidates. If I can't be comfortable with the recruiter, how could I trust her to represent me to a hiring manager?

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