The Recruiting Nightmare #1 – The System is Broken

Let’s get this out of the way now – the entire system of recruiting, hiring, and placing people is terribly, terribly broken.  You probably noticed this, but I’m just going to confirm you’re right.

There’s specific ways that its broken – indeed I’ll be covering them – but it’s important to understand right now it does not work right.  People need work, there is at least some work out there, and a lot goes unfilled, goes wrongly filled, and good jobs and good people vanish into the either.

I base this on the fact that pretty much everyone I talk to about recruiting tells me this, often followed by a litany of reasons why.  There’s a weird, almost pathological consensus out there that things aren’t working in getting people into jobs.  What makes it weird is that by now we’re terribly used to it, despite it being a rather large social/economic malfunction.

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The Recruiting Nightmare – Introduction

I spent weeks dumping my brain droppings on the blog about what I learned in my job search – that applies to job searchers.  I hope it was helpful, I think it was useful, and if nothing else it was immensely therapeutic.

But there’s another side to it that it’s time to address.

As most readers know I also help out recruiters and HR people I know.  I encourage everyone to do it, from passing on good contacts, to being a resource on market info, and so forth.  Recruiters have a hard time.

In my job search as well as my other activities, 2012 is also a year where I have come to the conclusion that Recruiting Is A Nightmare.  Which of course is also an awesome name for a column series.

Oh, yes there are many good recruiters – more than you realize.  There are many happy recruiters – it can be a very satisfying profession.  It’s just that right now, at this time, the level of stupidity, frustration, and utter insanity recruiters face is unbelievable.  I had trouble believing it until I started putting the pieces together as part of my usual research and helping out the recruiters I knew.

Recruiting is painful these days.

So of course beyond helping out recruiters I know, referring people, and being a shoulder to scream on, I realized I should write up my findings for a few reasons:

  1. It’ll help organize my thoughts to help my readers, be they in recruiting or not.
  2. It may lead me to figure out other ways to assist them.
  3. It’ll provide insights I and others can use.
  4. You, the job seeker, can learn to work around the craziness, help out recruiters, and reap the benefits of better jobs, as well as helping your fellows.

So what’s wrong with recruiting these days?  I’d call it a perfect storm in a way – there are many factors that individually don’t always seem bad.  However when you add these factors up . . .


– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at