After several horror stories shared with us by some of our most respected candidates, we have decided that it was time to blog about the new species of 3rd party recruiters. “Basement” recruiters are essentially folks with no credentials working out of their basements and papering the city with… your curriculum vitae. These people look for your contact information online and reach out to you asking that you send them your résumé so that they can in turn forward it to a company with an opening in your field. What makes their method of operation troubling is that they never invite you for an in-person interview, do not conduct an in-depth phone interview and sometimes don’t call you at all (if they downloaded your resume off a job board).

Think that you could care less as long as your CV ends up in the hands of a hiring manager?

Here is how this practice is actually harming your chances of landing a job.

1. Inability to highlight your core competencies. When someone who has never met you is sending off your CV, they are unable to highlight your core competencies and align those with the hiring company’s needs. As you submit your résumé with a cover letter, a seasoned headhunter will present a carefully crafted profile to position you perfectly and ensure a client’s interest. A “basement” recruiter, on the other hand, lacks experience and education required to present a convincing synopsis of your expertise and key achievements. If your strong résumé still captures a hiring manager’s attention, their interest quickly fades when they ask a “basement” recruiter additional questions about your experience and get vague and unconvincing answers. Your background is certainly richer and more complex than the information you could possibly include in your CV. But how could someone who never met you know that? To them you are just what’s on paper.

2. Your résumé ends up in the wrong hands. A “basement” recruiter will often misunderstand the information on your CV and present it for positions that are irrelevant to your experience. Since a hiring manager assumes that you have been de-briefed on the opening, they assume you are clueless to apply for something outside of your area of expertise. If you apply to the company for another position in the near future, you might never get a call back as you now appear to be someone who randomly applies for any and every job.

3. Their reputation reflects poorly on you. When a hiring manager receives your résumé from a “basement” recruiter, they wonder why you would choose to associate yourself with someone of questionable reputation. After all, a “basement” recruiter has no office address, no company email address and often an odd LinkedIn account that lists them as “self-employed” and mentions nothing about recruitment. A hiring manager will assume that you are a run of the mill and possibly desperate candidate if you choose to partner up with someone mediocre to handle your career move.

4. They hinder your chances of securing a job on your own. As the “basement” recruiters randomly send out your CV and misrepresent your qualifications, they close doors for you on their way. As you apply to the same companies on your own or through a professional headhunter, the hiring manager always reverts back to the “original” application and does not move forward with your candidacy.

By now you are probably wondering how you could protect yourself from these incompetent individuals desperate to make a buck and having little regard for the damage they cause on their way. First of all, you need to know that it is illegal for anyone to send off your CV to any person without your explicit permission. This is the reason professional recruitment firms ask you to sign a consent form when you come in for a meeting. If you find out that someone has presented your résumé without such consent from you, you can – and should – go after them. If you get a call or an e-mail from someone who introduces themselves as a recruiter and asks for your CV, inquire about their credentials. If they give you the name of their supposed client, ask detailed questions about the position. If the person you are speaking with is unable to answer such basic questions as the company size, the structure of the team, the reason the position is open, company’s accessibility by public transit and the details of the interview process, they are in no position to represent you.

Align yourself with the best and do not allow someone’s questionable reputation cast a negative shadow on yours!

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