Sunday, May 6, 2012

How NOT to handle a recruiter on the phone

Every once in a blue moon I'll write about how job seekers interact with me over the phone. Today is going to be one of those posts as I had a conversation with an "older generational" type a few days back and I just can't seem to shake it off. Perhaps writing about it will help purge it from my brain?
One can only hope.

And BTW, in case you guys haven't figured it out, this is my therapy, and you are my hostages. So put your seat belts on and get ready ... here we go!

My conversation with "Cindy" started out like most of my recruiting calls do. Although I'm literally talking to a complete stranger, I get to the heart of the matter pretty quickly. I want to know what they want to do with themselves. I want to know where they want to go with their careers. Basically, I want to know if I've got a go-getter on my hands or somebody that just wants to work hours THEY dictate, whenever it fits into THEIR life.

Cindy was interested in a position I had available working under one of our more prestigious agents in their office. She had replied to an ad I had placed for full time work. She had a background in insurance (which helps as most people that apply don't) but I could tell from her extensive dates going back to before I was in diapers (ahem) I was going to possibly have some issues on my hands. One of them was bound to be her telling ME what she would and wouldn't do. This happens with Generation Y'ers and people over 55. Unfortunately.

Here's how our convo went down... my commentary will be interjected and sprinkled thruout. (I know you're totally shocked.)

Me: "Hi Cindy, this is Stephanie from _______________. I'm calling because you emailed me a copy of your resume, I guess you were interested in the full-time position I had available with our office in  _____________. "

Cindy: "What? Who are you and what did I do? Oh, yeah, wait. Hang on just a minute, I was just outside gardening and I'm covered in mud. I have to take my gloves off. Hold on."

Drops phone violently, I think onto concrete?

Me: Patiently waiting.

Me: "Hello?"


Me: Thumbing through my pile of people I still have to call and email, getting more impatient by the minute... "Hello Cindy? Are you there?"

Fumbling in the background, evidence something muddy and ridiculously time wasting is going down.

Cindy: "Yes, hello, are you there??!?"

Me: "Hi Cindy, yes I'm here. So you're out gardening today eh? It's kinda rainy outside right now. How's that going?"

(Do I care? No. Do I need to make petty conversation? Yes.)

Cindy: "Yes, I just had to get those weeds off the back hill. They've been driving me nuts. And if I just work on them for like 17 minutes each day, then I can whittle them away a little bit at a time. You know what I mean?"

Me: "Well it is probably better to pace yourself as an entire back hill can take anybody down if done all at once."

Cindy: "And I've got no one here to help me. It's just me and the dog. My husband left me for some dumb blond and ditched me AND all the responsibilities for the house. Damn sonofabitch."

Me: Chuckling. Violently. Inside. TMI anyone? How many seconds did that take to fly out of her mouth? "Well shame on him. So I got your resume, it would appear you are interested in a job with our company?"

Cindy: "Yes, but only during certain hours. At my age I've got to pace myself. I can't go no long 8 hour plus stretches like I used to. Plus I have the weeds to tend to ..."

Me: Well this was a HUGE ass waste of my time. Just as I feared it would be. "The job posting you answered states it's a full time position. So you're telling me you're not interested in working in that capacity?"

Cindy: "No. I really only want like 2 or 3 hours a day. And I want benefits. I need health insurance at my age."

Me: I think I'll play with her a little. After all, THIS COULD BE BLOG MATERIAL. "Oh. Huh. Well I work full time and I don't even have health insurance. So that would be something, now wouldn't it? To be able to only work 2 to 3 hours a day and then get health insurance on top of it?"

Cindy: Completely missing my sarcasm "Well I can also only work from 8-10 or 11 every day. I need the office to be early risers."

Me: Well shit woman, why don't you just give me the rest of your demands while you're at it? Don't hold back as long as we're pissing in the wind and throwing wishes down the well. "What else would you like? I'm taking notes here."

Cindy: Still missing my sarcasm: "I want benefits. I want paid vacation and I want dental. I really need dental. I also don't want to drive more than 10 miles each way. I figure it doesn't hurt to ask, I may as well get it all out there up front right?"

Me: Note to my blog reading chickadees- yes, as a matter of fact is DOES HURT TO ASK. Don't even think about it if you really want to be employed. "Well the job posting you answered is at least 20 minutes away from your home. And they want you to work full time. And I know for a fact the office doesn't even open until 9:00 am every morning. And they won't offer all of those benefits unless you're willing to work the full shift they are requiring of you. So maybe this particular opportunity isn't a good fit for you Cindy."

Translation: Bug off lady.

But no, Cindy had to keep going at me.

Cindy: "Well this Obama dude isn't helping me one bit. I can't believe he's done so little for our economy and the job market. I even voted for him, I'm ashamed to admit. What an idiot. He didn't fix everything like he so eloquently promised. What's that all about? Why can't I get hired?"

Me: Seriously? She is seriously so dense that she doesn't see that SHE'S the reason she's not getting hired? She won't get out of her own way? AND not only is she stupid, but she has the AUDACITY to bring up politics when she's trying to find a job?
Don't do this people.

Me: Quiet and contemplative. Trying to think about what to say that will just make this all stop so I can just get on with my day. I could just hang up. Hmmmm. That's tempting.

Cindy: "Are you there? Where'd you go? Don't you think Obama is just awful?"

Me: "I think maybe you should look elsewhere for a job Cindy. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful to you."

Cindy: "Oh okay, just like that huh? You're done with me? Throwing me away are you?"

Me: And she wonders why the husband left to go find a blond. Probably because he had to PUT UP WITH HER SHIT. "I'm not THROWING YOU AWAY Cindy, you've done nothing but put up road blocks at me left and right ever since you took your gardening gloves off. I have a responsibility to my employer to find qualified candidates that meet the exact criteria in the job posting. You are telling me you have no desire to comply to ANY of the things I very clearly listed in the job description. Best of luck to you Cindy."


And now? I want the last 9 minutes of my life back.

So let's recap, shall we?
Who can tell me how many things Cindy did wrong on this call?
If you came up with the number of 7 items, ding ding ding! You win the imaginary prize!

Here they are:

1. Answered the phone when she wasn't prepared. (Just let it go to voice mail people and call me back when you're calm, collected, and also? Not covered in mud.)
2. Didn't remember what job she'd replied to.
3. Told me way too much personal info right out of the gate.
4. Gave me a list of demands that didn't even come close to the job parameters.
5. Had no grip on reality and the working world. None what-so-evah.
6. Brought up politics. (HUGE NO NO!! That and religion.)
7. Being accusatory- implying that I'M mistreating HER.

I would have left her for a blond too.
Cindy, I'm sorry dear, but you're just one more example of:

Peace out my peeps.


  1. Wow, just- wow. I know this stuff happens... but to get a eye witness account (or would that be ear witness? ;-)) just really leaves me speechless. Sometimes I just want to yell, "This. Craziness. Must. Stop."

    Seriously. I am terribly impressed with your level of composure in the face of extreme idiocy. I don't know if I would fare that well. *applause* :-)

  2. So, a) here I am wondering if I can accommodate 3rd shift hours w/ 3 children to appease a potential job requirement & she's dodging a full days work... & b) simultaneously wondering if I'll ever get a reply email for my chronic diarhea of the mouth (thank God I at least know better than to mention politics or religion)... Thanks for the input, filing in the mental archives...

  3. Sharon a24hrmom ClarkJune 6, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    So, a) here I am wondering if I can accommodate 3rd shift hours w/ 3 children to appease a potential job requirement & she's dodging a full days work... & b) simultaneously wondering if I'll ever get a reply email for my chronic diarhea of the mouth (thank God I at least know better than to mention politics or religion)... Thanks for the input, filing in the mental archives...