Your Relationship with Your Recruiter

I want to discuss what you share with your recruiter.

It’s been a subject that’s been kicking around in my mind a bit after a college student made a bush league error during college recruiting season several weeks ago – that deeply cost him – and has really bothered be for what it said about candidates/recruiters and relationships.

Here is what started the whole issue – Original article here is linked below and the commentary over there is lively BTW – but I’ve freely swiped the email for the purposes of this blog:

College Kid Sends Ridiculous Email to Accounting Recruiter, Sees It Go Viral on Wall Street

Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 11:06 PM
Subject: Question


We talked a couple weeks back at the UW-Milwaukee accounting night. (I was the one looking for equity research positions and had a zit on my lip that could have passed for a cold sore. Lol. Whew. It was not. You’re probably like, “uh.. What?” Maybe that helps you recall, maybe not. Not completely important, I suppose.

Anyways, if you have a chance here is my question: (background first) I interviewed with BDO and Baker Tilly today, two firms that seem like good places to work, I believe they don’t kill you like a big 4. Tomorrow I have an interview with Deloitte :O somewhere I thought I’ve always wanted to work. Obviously I don’t have an offer so this is all hypothetical thinking, but if I get the job, the reality of the situation is that I’m getting old. 25. I know you can’t force love and I know it just comes when you’re not looking, but would working for a big four completely squash any possibilities for potential relationships if one came along? Is working for a big four a potential career – love trade off? I mean, I like money(as do most females) but love is…great 🙂 What are your thoughts?


Sent from my iPhone

Please note – the candidate in question is a male college student, the recruiter is a female they met at an evening event.

Some people have reacted with the – “That’s not a real email!” response. While I might grant you the meme of the Yeti on the Unicorn was photo shopped – NOT EVERYTHING on the web is photo shopped and after 21 years in HR I can promise – not every “cuckoo-for-cocoa puffs” candidate letter, is a fake.

Trust me on this. If there is an HR Policy for it – It’s happened *at least* once.

There is a reason I came in on a Monday to a new sign over the coffee pot at one workplace that read “Do not drink from the carafe – it’s a communal pot. Not a mug.” There was also a reason why I brought an illegal coffee pot to my workplace after that, hid it behind my desk and brewed my own. GACK. No THANK YOU – not a fan of Cooties.

Goofy HR policies exist for a reason. Do I believe this a real candidate letter? I have no reason not to. I have read weirder.

The recruiters I’ve talked to about this particular email have had a vigorous debate on whether this is a good letter or a bad letter.

For a lot of us – if you have a great relationship with your recruiter – this letter is a “no big deal” – your recruiter will laugh, and no one thinks anything of it. It certainly doesn’t end up on the bathroom wall – or for Pity’s sake.

That’s the issue really. Clearly this new grad did not have the relationship with his recruiter he thought he had.

The folks on the bad letter side of the aisle clearly end up there because it’s a relationship/misunderstanding problem.

He clearly misunderstood that relationship. Was it a gender thing? Was it an age thing? Did he misunderstand that a corporate recruiter’s *first* obligation is to hire the right person on behalf of her corporation?

Don’t get me wrong – some of my dearest friends – I met as candidates or hiring managers while recruiting.

Recruiting and HR have brought the most amazing people into my life. Had they – or I – been afraid to have the type of honest exchange this candidate *attempted* to have had – we may never have become friends. But misjudging the relationship allowing for this exchange? That mistake leads to things like this email going viral.

This email is painful in it’s honesty. It’s coltish, hopeful, hopes and dreams just spilling about in a stream of consciousness full of jagged un-sanded edges. If he had a recruiter he could have trusted with all of this – this email would not have been all over the web. If he had someone who understood he was anxious and maybe a bit unseasoned – needed the hand-holding or to be told – “Hold on – WE DON’T. Calm down.”

That isn’t what he had. He didn’t have the “House Mom” or “Coach” he seems to have needed. He had someone who whether they meant to or not damaged his career chances by spreading his anxiety – I am assuming by simply forwarding the email – but it went viral. I’m guessing it quickly got out of their control. Companies all over Wall St. have it.

The whole situation is sad.

First – hopefully you have checked out your recruiter before you started working with them. You have read their profile on LinkedIn – you know what people have to say about working with them or you have been referred to them by someone whose judgment you trust.

Second – Trust your gut instincts about whether this is a concern you should share. What’s it telling you?

Regardless of both 1 and 2 – Please – don’t send an *email* like this to anyone involved in your job search. You control what you share and how it’s shared.

If you are anxious – and these types of things are your questions – call your recruiter and *ask* them verbally.

The right recruiter will put your mind at ease and help talk you off a ledge you have managed to get yourself on. You never know when you might make a friend that lasts decades – not just for a job search.

FYI – I’m still not a big fan of the communal coffee pot. Just so you are aware. It happened once. It could happen again.

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