Confessions of a Recruitment Consultant Interviews

Prepare to be shocked, appalled and amused! We interviewed a graduate recruitment consultant to find out what really happens to your CV when you apply for a job through a recruitment agency. If you want an honest insight into the recruitment process, you’re in the right place. The person we interviewed has asked to remain anonymous. Get ready to find out why!

I often look at a CV for as little as three seconds, but I look at some CVs for as long as two minutes.

I always look at the hobbies on people’s CVs. They tell you quite a lot about the person and sometimes they’re really hilarious. I had one today that said they were an enthusiastic member of the handball society. Another one of my favourites was: “flying my bird of prey.”

Someone else listed one of their hobbies as living at home with their partner, dog, cat and rabbit. Hobbies can definitely tell you if people are nuts or not. Sometimes I call them, just so I can see what they’re like.

I don’t really care if somebody’s CV is longer than two pages. As long as they’ve got what I’m looking for and it doesn’t look stupid, I’ll look at it. Lots of graduate CVs are one page with really small font, which I think is quite cool.

For one basic admin job, paying £16,000, I once got 3,000 CVs in a week. I physically don’t have time to open every CV I receive.

I almost never read cover letters. I can’t physically click on both email attachments. I just don’t have the time.

I lie to candidates every day. You just can’t tell people the truth. Often, the reason why you won’t get a job is because you’re a bit weird or your trousers are too short. I can’t tell people these things.

If I can’t think of a valid reason to decline a candidate, but I know they won’t get the job or they’ll embarrass me at the interview, I will tell them I’ve sent their CV and it was declined by the client.

If I was more ruthless, I’d be more successful. I’m a bit too nice to work in recruitment. I make less money than I would do if I was mean. I’ve worked with other recruitment consultants who have stolen candidates’ phone numbers out of my diary.

I change people’s CVs every day. I take off hobbies that clients might perceive as stupid. I don’t restructure the CV too much, but if it looks crap, I’ll rewrite it or change the font.

People have sent me entire cover letters in capital letters. I also get CVs in Romanesque-style fonts that look like calligraphy, or people who use fluorescent colours.

I get funny photos all the time. I see lots of glamour shots and pictures of guys with their shirt off on the beach. I received one CV where the guy was wearing a Santa hat, clearly off his face at a party. I even get CVs with family photos, where people say things like: “I’m the one in the blue shirt.”

I got a CV once where the first page was an A4 size photo of a woman wearing little hot pants and reclining on a tree. I received a CV for a secretarial assistant job a couple of days ago, where the girl was trying to look like Maggie Gyllenhaal in the film Secretary. She had a sultry expression on her face and an envelope in her mouth.

I received a CV from someone today who had a master’s degree, but on the first page of their CV it said something like: “I done project.” English was not their second language. I don’t know how some people get through university.

I had someone the other day who wrote an amazing CV, but had spelt ‘achievements’ wrong in big, bold letters. I emailed him and said: “I think your CV is great, I just want to let you know that you’ve made a typo. I don’t really care, but other people will.” He never replied. If he’d taken the time to say thanks, I might have got him a job.

I got hate mail once. I was a pretty fresh graduate and it was my first year in recruitment, so my self-esteem was open to be ruined. I received a hand-written card in the mail and I thought: “Wow! Someone’s written me a card to say thanks for getting them a job.” But I opened the card and it said: “I hate you. I hope you die and your career is ruined.”

At one of the companies I worked for, a guy came into the office with a gun, held it up to the receptionist’s head and said “Give me a job or I’m going to blow your head off!”

All recruitment consultants enjoy having a bit of power: the ability to change people’s lives. If someone has a dream and you can help them to achieve it, that’s always nice.

When you get such a high volume of applications, there is a lot of blind luck involved. Sometimes the CVs I look at are picked completely at random. Eeeny, meeny, miny, mo.

You have to be quick. If I get a new job, I post the ad online instantly and I’ll receive CVs within one or two seconds. I’ll send CVs to the client within one or two hours, and they’re the people who will be interviewed. A decision needs to be made quickly; clients hardly ever give us any notice anymore.

Coming to see me without an appointment really pisses me off. I know people are desperate, but it’s just really annoying.

I once interviewed somebody who turned up holding a baguette and sat stroking it for the duration of the interview. Someone else wore headphones, and another person wore a t-shirt which had a naked woman on the front. Her legs were open. Not cool.

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