1. They don't take the time to give the recruiter a clear idea about what they're looking for.
Sometimes they get insulted if the recruiter can't figure out what they want from the job title alone. Then, when she brings someone in they tell her the candidate is missing x, y and z. But how was she supposed to know?
2. They give you a moving target. Even if the hiring manager takes the time to give the recruiter a decent job description by the time someone is submitted the description has changed.
If the recruiter is working on a retained basis she won't complain too much because she's going to get paid no matter what.
But a recruiter working on a contingent basis will not be paid until someone he submits actually gets hired.
And if you make it look like you're going to send him on a lot of wild goose chases because you're going to take a long time to make up your mind about what you want, he'll have good reason to put you on the backburner or forget about the search altogether in favour of something that holds more promise.
3. They want to see a lot of people. If you're using a recruiter, chances are that the kind of person you want is not falling out of the trees.
These people are employed and it's often hard to find someone with the right skills who is ready to make a move.
So when you do find someone who looks good, it's good to pull the trigger as soon as you can.
I'm not saying that you should hire someone who doesn't excite you. But I've had clients who said that the people I submitted were just what they were looking for but they wanted to see more before they made up their minds.
Is the money an issue? No. Experience? No, they say. They just want to see more people.
So, the recruiter starts asking himself, "Is this guy serious? Is he ever going to hire? Should I take a chance on him or cut my losses and leave."
4. They are hard to get into interviews. A hiring manager might say that he needs someone immediately and send you rushing out into the field to find him. But later, when you find him someone, he's too busy to interview.
I was once on a search for a trainer for a special kind of software in Toronto. I found what I believed to be the only person in the country who fit the bill. He was on the west coast but was coming to Toronto on personal business in the near future.
Great luck, right? What a find! But the company had a rule: the candidate had to be interviewed by three people and only two of them could make it to the interview on the day he was going to be in town. So they passed on this guy. They passed. I couldn't believe it.
They wouldn't pay to fly him in themselves but, luckily, he returned to Toronto a few months later and they managed to interview him then.
5. They don't sell the company to the candidate. I am not aware of ever having had this problem myself but I have seen other recruiters complain about it.
They work hard to bring in a candidate who is already employed and fairly happy. So she needs a good reason to make a move. But at the interview, the hiring manager makes no effort to provide one.
The hiring manager is the lynchpin in the hiring process. We assume that she is the one who understands the job best and can discuss all aspects of it with the candidate.
Once the recruiter realizes that the manager doesn't have the skills required to manage the interview properly, they are usually eager to provide coaching.
6. They don't want to pay a realistic amount of money to get the kind of person they want.
7. They want a combination of skills and experience that probably doesn't exist.
If the recruiter knows the field very well, she will tell the client before she starts the search that this isn't going to fly.
If she can't speak with certainty at the start of the search, she will have to go out into the field and find out what skills are available and at what price.
Then, if there is a discrepancy between the wish list and reality, she has to report back and hope that the client is reasonable.