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r/recruitinghell: How recruiters can avoid becoming a horror story

r/recruitinghell: How recruiters can avoid becoming a horror story

Recruiters of the world, you’re facing a serious issue: you don’t really have the greatest reputation. And, no, it’s not in a cool, bad boy type of way. 

It’s more of a “you don’t care about your candidates and you’re rude” type of way. Or maybe you’re lazy. Or just plain unbearable.

Before you start thinking that I’m just trying to hurt your feelings, you should know that these are all sentiments shared on the r/recruitinghell reddit page. They’re all real-world examples of bad recruiters and recruiting practices.

Look, we know there are plenty of great recruiters out there, including the clients with whom we work. People who take the time to sit down and really work with a candidate. Those who understand how to connect the needs of the employer with the unique skills and talents of the professional.

But there are countless examples of candidates who were ghosted, treated poorly, ignored and forgotten—all at the hands of unprofessional recruiters.

So, what can you do to change this perception of recruiters?

Be genuine

We can’t necessarily do something that will create immediate change, at least not at this scale. If any of us could snap a finger and make sure nobody hated us, I’m sure we would do it. But that’s not how this works, and any action to combat this negative perception of recruiters has to come at the personal level. 

The first step involves being genuine. Make sure that you say what you mean and mean what you say. In this hiring environment, candidates have plenty of leverage, and professionals are becoming increasingly aware of what they bring to the table.

Remaining upfront, honest and committed to a genuine approach can do wonders. Honestly, it really comes down to the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated. 

Follow through

You see so many stories about it. A recruiter reaches out to a candidate. Candidate interviews. Ultimately, the client company says thanks, but no thanks. Then, the recruiter ghosts the candidate. 

How rude.

A simple phone call, a polite email, a little bit of follow-through could fix the whole situation. It’s never fun to deliver bad news, but the candidate deserves to know where they stand. Nurturing both client and candidate relationships is extremely beneficial—you create repeat business and maintain positive experiences, meaning great word of mouth and reviews. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.


Communication seems to be one of the top issues people have on the r/recruitinghell reddit page. However, there are plenty of ways that you can improve your communication. 

Firstly, stop ghosting people. It’s rude, and if you don’t want candidates to ghost you, then make sure you aren’t doing the same. 

Beyond that, make sure to keep communication open. Be accessible and understanding. You don’t need to be available 24/7, but you should be accessible during business hours and ready to answer any questions about the process, organization, job and any other relevant details. 

Bringing it together

While there’s no one quick solution to reversing the stigma around the recruiting industry, recruiters can do plenty to help the situation.

The first involves simply not doing the things that land recruiters on the r/recruitinghell page. Be genuine and treat candidates well. Beyond that, be sure to communicate and follow through, even if you’re delivering some less than exciting news.

Additionally, you should lay the foundation for these types of interactions well in advance. Meet with your team to discuss how you want your firm to be perceived. Establish automations that can keep candidates in your pipeline for future opportunities. Build out your digital presence so clients and candidates can see who you are, how you can help them and what you bring to the table. Remember, what you say and do online has an impact on your real-world relationships.

If you build the infrastructure now, you can withstand a one-off negative interaction. Clients and candidates will see and know who you really are, and that mutual trust can and will remain strong.

Unsure on how to best build your brand? Maybe you’re looking for a little help with establishing your online presence? Recruiters Websites can help. We’re a full-scale digital marketing agency with the skills and expertise to build your brand, create a custom website and establish a digital presence unique to you. Reach out today.

Want to know about how your digital presence can affect your firm? Listen to Distinctly Digital: A Modern Recruiting Podcast.

Ryan Berger

Ryan Berger is a marketing specialist who uses his fun and creative energy to produce fresh, unique and custom content for our clients.

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