The Bad Recruiter from Chicago

28 Oct

**Video courtesy of YouTuber SubliminalMinded2011**

Today’s post is my experience with a Chicago-based recruiter. I won’t do the name and shame for this one.

Agency code name is SACS, the recruiter is Miss Distant and the client is Magical Entertainment. This doozy is a long one so here goes!

A friend of mine forwarded me a job lead that didn’t interest him from Miss Distant Recruiter of SACS Chicago. He thought that I should apply for it, but I thought it was a little above and beyond my skill set.  After much discussion inside my brain, I reached out to the recruiter to see if Magical Entertainment had other openings that would fit my background.

They did but she didn’t have a job description on hand. Red flag #1. After a few e-mail exchanges and phone screening interviews, I was game to have my resume submitted. Little did I know.

Red flag #2 – Magical Entertainment’s latest agency didn’t have an existing website, so I couldn’t do much research. I was told it was being worked on, but to this day, I don’t believe it exists. I’ve checked and nothing appears in the search listings.

This part may get confusing, so I’ll try to simplify. Two creative agencies were interviewing candidates for Magical E. Agency 1 was in NYC and Agency 2 was in San Francisco. Both agencies were involved with Magical Entertainment’s latest business venture.

The first phone interview was with Agency 1.

Miss Jolly of A1 sold me on this new endeavor. She spoke highly of the environment, benefits, vacation time and was set to pass my resume over to Agency 2.  She also confirmed that there wasn’t an existing website at the time.

Before I had my call with Agency 2, Miss Distant tells me to do my research and have questions prepared.  She had not researched the company herself.  The recruiter didn’t have Agency #2’s contact info so I had to dig around on LinkedIn. Great.

Here’s where it goes wrong and I mean awkward wrong.

Before I got the call, I e-mailed Miss Distant to make sure the interview was still on. Interviewer #2 was 15 minutes late and I didn’t have her contact info. Finally the phone rang.

The conversation began like this:

MC: Is this BLANKNAME? (Pronounced wrong)

Me: Yes, this is BLANKNAME (Corrected pronunciation).

MC: Is this a good time to call?

Me: (Interview was scheduled for 3-3:30 pm) Yes, this is a good time to call.

MC: Awkward silence

Me: How are you?

MC: Good, thanks.

The type of questions asked:

What type of blogs do you read to keep up with the field?

What was your  normal day at Company X?

What type of keywords would you use to promote this movie?

I explained more about my background and asked her questions about the position/company, but the conversation was not flowing at all. It was like being on a bad date with nothing to say.

She finally admitted that she was muting the phone because she had a cold. Hence, the awkward silence after my answers. It also seemed as if she was checking through a list of questions because there was always a delay into her next question.

I also suspected that she did not have my resume in front of her because she never asked any job history questions.

The interview lasted15 minutes.  I immediately called Miss Distant to give her my WTF recount of interview 2.

Me: Um, that interview was really awkward. I don’t think it went well. She was silent after my answers every single time.

MD: (Exasperated breath) Oh, so what happened? I can’t talk too long, I’m on the train.

I give her the run down and she really didn’t have anything to say.  Hello, she’s the recruiter, shouldn’t she help me out here? No, she works for the client you see. That exasperated breath was the sound of a lost paycheck.

A day later, I e-mailed her for a feedback update. They passed on me because I didn’t have enough strategy experience. That experience was mentioned on my resume. Now I know Miss Confused didn’t read my resume.

The recruiter assured that there were  ample opportunities for my field in LA.  Really? Because the silence is deafening. I haven’t seen or heard about many jobs for my field.

I thanked Miss Distant for the interviews, but later added in my two cents.  If I burned a bridge, oh well, I felt she could use the advice. Why?

A few days later, an acquaintance of mine mentioned that she had a phone interview with Interviewer #2 as well.  She was extra confused during their call. My friend made it to the 3rd round but the regional director was negative throughout the interview.  He then admitted that he was glad she didn’t ask him what the position was about because he had no idea what position they were hiring for.

courtesy of

Wow, just wow!  After hearing that headbanger, I advised the recruiter that many highly-qualified candidates are probably being turned away from the Romper Room crew (I kept it professional).  If there isn’t a clear job description and their creative reps are clueless, that’s a problem and most likely not a good company for prospective candidates.  I probed for pain and the pain level was at a 1 – mental illness.

A waste of time, but we got interviews right?

The lessons learned from this incident?

  • Recruiter couldn’t provide a proper job description, should have been a no go.
  • Recruiter made me do most of the work, didn’t need the recruiter.
  • Magical Entertainment needed better representatives.
  • Don’t use long-distance recruiters.
  • Expect to have a few bad interviewers during a job search.
  • If the recruiter/seeker relationship isn’t working, cut your losses.

Happy job hunting!

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