Etiquette, Please.


You’d think that all recruiters or headhunters are eager to pursue candidates and generally would spend time and effort to “woo” them. After all, their job is typically commission-based (or KPI-based for in-house recruiters), so the quicker they secure and place a candidate, they quicker they get their reward.

Through the years, I’ve had my share of duds, ranging from those who don’t know anything about the role they are selling to those who naively think that their role is such a wonderful opportunity that someone out there will be willing to take a pay cut to join them. This one headhunter with no EQ or manners (why are there so many people like that in the world?) really took the cake.

We had arranged to meet at a cafe near my office. She was late. Strike One.

When she arrived after 15 minutes, she plopped herself down opposite me and started talking nineteen to a dozen about the role. Which is fine, except shouldn’t you 1. apologise for keeping me waiting? And 2. maybe offer to buy me a drink? Strike Two.

Finally, after we had sat there for half an hour talking about the role, expectations, etc. – still without ordering anything, mind you! (Thankfully, this was a “go up to the counter to order” kind of place and we were in an inconspicuous booth), she concluded the conversation by informing me that the company may have found someone to do an internal transfer and that they would consider external candidates only if that didn’t go through. So what exactly was the point of talking to me at all? Strike Three.

The whole experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth, both from her disregard for wasting my time and the cafe’s space. As I left, I was so tempted to alert the staff that the headhunter had yet to order anything and was occupying their seats without spending a single cent. I still wonder what would have happened if I had actually done it.

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