Why Students May Not Want to Work With Recruiters

During my undergraduate years at Ohio State, many of my friends and I all attended the several career fairs the university would host each year. At those career fairs, besides representatives from various hiring companies across the nation, were recruiters who were hungry to get information from the many students at the fairs.

While many students and other job-seekers will find the experience of working with recruiters beneficial, some of my friends (and myself) realized that there are both pros and cons to working with recruiters — and the experience of working with recruiters can be good, or not-so-good.

So for any recruiters out there who are curious about the vibes students may get from a recruiter, here are some reasons why students might not want to work with you.

Lack of transparencyStudents feel working with a recruiter can be challenging as you can’t always be sure that what they’re telling you is the truth. For example, they might tell you they haven’t heard back from a hiring manager, that they’ve gone in another direction for the position, etc. Whether students work with an external or internal recruiter, they may end up being lied to — and while it may sometimes be “for their own good” or to soften a blow, it’s still a lie.

Additionally, there are recruiters who may never call back candidates, and students will expect and accept a no-response when applying to jobs through a website in situations where says they won’t contact all candidates unless selected to move forward in the application and interview process.

But when students are dealing with a person and that recruiter fails to get back to them and let them know they weren’t picked, it’s likely that student won’t want to work with any other recruiters in the future, thanks to bad experiences in the past.

Plus, some recruiters will keep a backlog of resumes to peruse and review for new job openings when they’re tasked with filling a position while others will seek out completely new candidates and won’t even check past applicants to see if anyone would be a good match. Knowing this, students may question why they should bother working with a recruiter, and the answer to that will depend on the practices the recruiter uses to fill empty positions.

Lack of focus. Contrary to what many may believe, students believe recruiters don’t work for them, the job-hunters; instead, they work for companies who pay them to find promising candidates for job openings. So a recruiter will be willing and eager to work and communicate with students if they fit the desired qualifications of an open position for an employer. However, if a student doesn’t have the experience and skills a recruiter is looking for, they may not be very helpful as they focus on other more promising and qualified candidates.

Recruiters are typically paid about 15 to 30 percent of the successful candidate’s starting salary, but only if they’re the ones who find the perfect person to fill the position. Students may therefore feel they’re better off circumventing recruiters and going at the job hunt on their own as recruiters are not only working for their client companies and the job-seekers, but also looking out for their own best interests.

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Lack of reliabilityStudents feel they are the ones who will be most motivated to find themselves a job — so relying on a recruiter may seem counterintuitive and counterproductive to students. Students, especially millennials, approach job-hunting as they do many other tasks and things: with independence and the knowledge that whatever is unknown about the job or application process is inherently know-able and self-teachable, thanks to the power of the Internet.

Recruiters basically help connect an employer and prospective employee by introducing students to their clients — and even if students are working with a recruiter, they shouldn’t be the only game plan when it comes to finding a job. The need for a recruiter then, at least in the eyes of many students, is nil, as you’ll still have to do job searching and networking on your own.

Lack of knowledgeIgnorance isn’t always bliss — sometimes it’s just ignorance. A big reason students may not want to work with recruiters is a lack of knowledge on all things recruiter-related. Some may think that the sort of job they’re hoping to land won’t be the kind a recruiter is looking to fill, but there are recruiters who specialize in different fields, and those students are missing out on a potentially valuable contact that may be helpful in the job process.

Also, students may think being unemployed will make recruiters not want to work with them (which is sometimes true) or that if they have a job, they shouldn’t be both connecting and building a relationship with a recruiter. This thinking shows a lack of knowledge, as it’s helpful to have a relationship with a recruiter even before you actually need them and recruiters often prefer to work with employed or very recently employed candidates, as they’re often easier to place.

All in all, there are many reasons students may not want to work with recruiters when looking for a job — and it’s up to the student to make that decision, though they’ll be better off in the job hunt process if they are better informed and know for sure whether or not a recruiter can help them land a job in the field they want.

Elana Goodwin attended The Ohio State University and majored in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice. She is a writer for Uloop and has been published on the Huffington Post and USA Today's websites, among other outlets, and writes freelance on a variety of subjects as well. Uloop is the leading college news and classifieds resource for college students, providing employers a place to post jobs for college students, including full-time jobs, part-time jobs and internships.  

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3 Comments on “Why Students May Not Want to Work With Recruiters

  1. Elana, You are pretty much on target in this article. Just as companies condition candidates, recruiters also condition candidates. The experience may be good or bad – as you indicated. The key is to find a recruiter that you or your friends trust. College recruiting also requires patience for recruiters because you have people who do not always understand the importance of communication with the recruiter. Transparency works both ways.

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