The Ridiculous Recruiter Request and What it Means

I’m a former recruiter and, frankly, when the market picks up, I very well could start recruiting again.  But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes recruiters really piss me off.  Case in point.  A client of mine dropped me a note the other day requesting my help.

Apparently a recruiter was “insisting” that she takes the dates of employment, currently aligned on the right side of the page, and put them on the left side, instead.  My client wasn’t able to do this without the format completely changing and the resume falling to pieces in terms of design.  I promptly wrote back saying that it was a ridiculous request and she should tell the recruiter that she did not have time to do this and that if it was so important that the recruiter do it herself.

I realize that I probably should have taken a few deep breaths before responding because I wasn’t so “delicate” with my response.   But, here’s the thing.  There’s no logical reason why my client should have to waste her time — and, yes, it’s a waste — redesigning her resume just to put the dates of employment on the left.  In order to make the resume look neat and legible, this would involve tabbing the actual content over to the right about an inch and aligning it on an even plane throughout.  What’s the point of this?  It’s not as though the content needed to be changed, which then I could understand.

I’m assuming that the reasoning behind the recruiter’s request had something to do with technology.  I asked another recruiter I know if he thought this could be the case.  He suggested that perhaps the recruiter in question wanted to format my client’s resume in some sort of template and the date alignment wasn’t jiving.  Even if this is the case, he agreed that the request was out of line.  He suggested that the recruiter cut and paste the resume into Notepad and realign it herself.  Good idea.

Then I decided to throw the question out to an HR listserve that I’m part of.  Six responders couldn’t figure out why anyone would make such a request.  But, a seventh had a different theory that was truly frightening.

One thought is that the recruiter is trying to see how committed your client is to working with him or her? Sometimes asking a candidate who seems less than enthused about an opportunity to perform a simple task is merely a way to weed out those who may not cooperate on larger tasks later in the process… not something I do, but I’ve seen it done…

Man, and I thought I was cynical!  I hope this is not the case because that would just be wrong.

The bottom line?  If a recruiter asks you to make a format change that seems frivolous, I really don’t think you need to oblige.  Is it going to change whether or not the recruiter wants to work with you?  I seriously doubt it.  He or she WANTS to make money and if you are a great candidate, she’s not going to let you slip by.  If she does, well, maybe you should consider if you want to work with her anyhow.  There are lots of bad recruiters out there.  Stick with the ones who want to work with you, not boss you around.  Stick with the ones who respect your wishes and want to find a job that fits your needs, not theirs.

Carpe diem…

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