Recruiters Are People Too

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If you’ve been in your career for any length of time, chances are you’ve received a phone call or email from a recruiter. Maybe you were grateful, or maybe you were more annoyed than interested; having had less than stellar experiences with recruiters in the past.

And if you’ve never had the opportunity to work with a recruiter, you might not be predisposed to think that all recruiters are just like used car salesmen – crooked. Our apologies to the used car salesmen of the world for the cliché reference to their often maligned profession. Most do their job with a high level of ethics and integrity.

In the spirit of honesty, just like in any other industry there will always be those that want to beat the system by lying, cheating and generally being  all around awful people (think Bernie Madoff or the folks that brought you the Enron scandal).  Some recruiters fall into that category. Most do not.

In fact, in the late 70’s and early 80’s, recruiters were responsible for placing thousands of temporary employees on historic projects in the aerospace and defense industries including the design of the 747 at Boeing, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Apollo Project at NASA and the Duke Power Project. When the projects were over, the engineers and other technical professionals were no longer necessary. As such, they had to look for new employment opportunities to earn a living.

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During this time, recruiters worked with many of the same candidates over and over again; finding them plum roles at high wages throughout the nation. Recruiters were not viewed as second class citizens, but rather trusted and hard working advocates for those they represented.

So what changed? How did the recruitment industry start to develop a less than stellar reputation?

During the 1980’s, companies started shifting their use of temporary employees from just engineering and technical to include clerical and accounting, etc. Companies also started to become more global and the United States started to lose it’s foothold over industries that it had  historically dominated.

Lowering costs and streamlining systems ruled the day. Companies  recognized that by outsourcing their labor acquisition and HR departments, they could compete more effectively on the world stage.

The push for globalization facilitated the rise of thousands of staffing companies, which in turn encouraged the free market competition to deliver the best candidate at the lowest possible rate.

It was (and is) through this competition that the recruiters of today are striving to make a living. Most recruiters have the same mentality of their long since retired counterparts – they want to find the very best person for the job and facilitate the perfect match for the companies they represent. They live and work by a code of ethics based in honesty and mutual respect.

But that same competition has also bred a “win at any cost” mentality for those that probably shouldn’t be in the recruitment business to begin with.

No one is suggesting that staffing agencies are nonprofit entities. But companies like CPI have built their reputation’s on their ability to conduct their affairs with integrity and with respect for those they represent.

If a recruiter is not willing to do the right thing, even when no one else is watching, they should probably opt out of the game. They will be found out eventually.

So the next time you get a call or email from a recruiter, think twice before you assume the worst.  Odds are they sincerely want to help you find a great job at a fantastic company. After all, recruiters are people too.

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