Blind Item: Agency Creative Has HAD IT with This Recruiter

By Patrick Coffee 

Here’s a blind item that many readers will find painfully familiar.

Seems that a certain freelance recruiter has a certain interest in a certain creative director at a certain major agency.

The party in question has worked with the recruiter in the past, but he/she was more than a little pissed to get no response to a query about an (alleged) job opening in the creative department of a different agency.

Our PR contacts remind us that their jobs are all about relationships — and, quaint as it may sound, the same is true of recruiters.

We thank the responsible party for taking the time to write such a compelling email…and giving us yet another excuse to scroll through “angry businessman” stock photos.

Hi [name withheld],

Just following up on my follow-up email about the job description you promised to send me yesterday. My guess is that my salary requirement was too high for the position, which is fine, but would it really have been that hard to let me know? Sure, for some reason radio silence is an accepted method of communication in this industry, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a pretty awful way to treat someone. You’d think that a recruiter like you, whose professional livelihood depends on their network/rolodex, would value maintaining connections more.

Remember a few years ago when you were recruiting me for that eBay-offshoot company, or have you forgotten? I haven’t. To refresh your memory: my interview went very well and we were negotiating salary and benefits, emailing back and forth every hour or so, before settling on a number. Then you went completely silent, didn’t respond to my next three emails and I never heard from you again. Sure, it wasn’t a great gig and I found something better pretty soon after, but again, why not take a couple minutes just to let me know what happened?

To clarify – this is not about my feelings. That certainly wasn’t the first or last time I’d received the silent treatment and I have plenty of colleagues and friends with similar tales to tell.

Here’s what gets me, though – I’m in a management position. A portion of my job involves hiring people and working with recruiters such as yourself. I would think that you’d exert at least the bare minimum level of respect and professionalism towards someone who can HELP YOU MAKE MONEY. Also, many of the copywriters and art directors you’re communicating with now will be in similar positions in the future. Do you really expect them to forget or look past that time you totally blew them off a few years back?

Look, I’m sure you’re really busy. Your inbox probably gets bombarded all day and night with email from young, desperate advertising creatives. It must be exhausting keeping up with it all. So here’s what I suggest: create a Word Document with a few standard email responses that you can copy and paste throughout the day. Here’s a sample to help get you started:

“They really liked you, but didn’t think you were the right fit for the position.”

“I haven’t heard anything yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do.”

“They want to talk to other candidates before making a decision.”

“They just lost/won some business, so everything’s crazy over there right now.”

“They’re having a hiring freeze.”

Secret: all of the above are lies. I know this because I’m a professional liar (I work in advertising, remember?). But these are helpful lies – they provide closure, allow people to move on and help you sustain a professional relationship with them. All that with just a few keystrokes!

Please understand that the point of this email is not to belittle you, but rather to help you help yourself. Maybe if you make a commitment to start treating people better it’ll inspire others to do the same and then one glorious day in the future we can all look back and have a laugh about back when it was an industry standard practice to ignore people you’d spent a few days or weeks building up a rapport with. Sadly, my guess is you are not up to task and that you won’t respond to this email. Just please don’t be offended next year or the year after that when you reach out about a job or a candidate and never hear back from me. I will never forget to remember.

Take care,

[name withheld]