It is the silly summer season in Europe. I can tell, because our network of HR leaders within that region, are reporting exceptionally high contact from recruitment agencies.
To many job seekers as a result, it seems like a "hot" market currently - lots of calls about lots of jobs so an exciting time to be thinking about a change. But those very job seekers are also starting to report their bemusement. These"confidential" jobs still haven't eventuated, and the agencies aren't returning their phone calls despite having received CVs and Resumes from our job seekers. Which is making our job seekers worried about what they may be doing wrong.
Here is one example of an email query I received today from a high calibre specialist with a particularly compelling CV:
"Hope you are doing fine? I really had a great experience with you during a selection process some time ago and I hope you don't mind me asking for advice now. Since our last interaction, I've changed my location and I'm having quite a number of head-hunters and talent acquisition people reaching out. They are often saying they have a confidential role coming up, and asking that I share my CV with them. Usually they don't have a JD to share, and are very sketchy on info about the role. Sometimes they don't even share info about the company. Some of them I never hear from again. Others come back saying something like: "thank you for applying for xyz role, but...".
I am now baffled and do not know what to reply to them. I do not know even which feedback to ask for since I don't even know which role we have been discussing nor have I actually applied for any specific roles. Do you think I am doing something wrong, or is there something wrong with my CV?"
My reply to this professional, was the same as it has been to countless other HR leaders over the last few weeks:
"Hi. A recruiter may not always be able to share the employer’s name, due to confidentiality/discretion needed for the hire. BUT they should always be able to share details of the role. If they cannot do that, then I wouldn’t share my CV with them.
Any ethical recruiter (who has actually been appointed by any company to recruit for them and believe me, that's a whole topic in itself!) should be able to talk to you in detail for the role remit and hiring criteria, and at least be able to sketch out the culture of the company they're hiring for and its key business challenges. You know how that conversation should sound after all of our discussions together.
Unfortunately there are a large number of recruitment agencies, who judge the performance of their staff on the number of CV’s they collect and the number of phone calls they make to prospective candidates. Some also set targets for the number of candidate meetings that are held. Regardless of whether there are real vacancies that are actually being hired for!! It is a very poor, but common industry practice that focuses on volume of activity to get billing results, rather than quality of activity.
Bizarrely, there is a handful of internal TA folk who have these same targets for activity, particularly in instances where the resourcing team are not skilled in the type of hires to be effected.
The practice is getting worse year on year, because many recruitment agencies and in-house sourcing teams now list their research online for their end client (hiring manager) to see. So they are wanting to show the client that they have “considered” high volumes of candidates to try and build their credibility / justify their fees / make their actual candidate recommendations more “special”. Typically, as volumes of random CV’s are fed into these online databases, an automated “thanks but no thanks” message will be generated – allowing the recruiter or resourcer to assure their clients that they’re delivering a “courteous experience” for all candidates considered.
Aside from the waste of your time and energy, these kinds of random approaches would have me worrying about the confidentiality of my CV and my job searching status as well - definitely a consideration when your current employer isn't otherwise aware that you're wishing to leave."
So, for all of you job seekers being dazzled by the sudden "upturn" in the job market - please be sure that you're receiving calls about genuine roles. Oh, and for anyone with a hiring need for an international Compensation & Benefits leader, I can steer you towards the professional who emailed me today - a person with multi lingual European languages, and very impressive experience and demonstrated success in complex, matrix organisations throughout a stable but rapidly progressing career!