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7 Warning Signs of a Disengaged Recruiter

Let’s be honest, we’ve all had bad days. We’ve all felt uninspired, overwhelmed, and dejected at work. For most of us, those days aren’t the norm. But, that’s not the case for everyone. Some recruiters become perpetually disengaged at work, harming productivity and the morale of your team. 

In order to turn things around, it’s important to spot disengagement early on. It’s worth pointing out that disengaged recruiters aren’t necessarily bad recruiters. They’re just under supported, frustrated, and uninspired by their job. 

So how can you tell if recruiters are disengaged? Here are 7 warning signs:

1.    They Complain

If a recruiter is frequently complaining and making excuses, then something isn’t functioning as it should. Successful recruiters take ownership and they’re proud of their achievements. When a recruiter feels frustrated by an aspect of their work, problems will emerge. Often disengaged recruiters will complain about the smallest things, revealing dissatisfaction with their working life.

The best way to resolve this? Talk with these recruiters. Get to the bottom of what they’re really complaining about. Figure out how your company can better support them and how you can create a working environment within which they can thrive.

2.    They Procrastinate

If your recruiter is doing everything other than their job, it’s clear there’s an engagement problem. Too much time spent on personal social media accounts, for example, harms productivity and it shows that a recruiter’s mind really isn’t on their work.

Of course, everyone procrastinates occasionally, but when it becomes the norm instead of the exception, then something has to change. If you notice a recruiter blatantly procrastinating, you have to lay down the law. Talk with them, help them to manage their workload more effectively, and set challenging targets so they don’t have the time to procrastinate. 

3.    They Don’t Help Others

Everyone is expected to do more than their job description requires. Work is often reactive and engaged recruiters are happy to adapt as needed. They know that sometimes they have to take one for the team. Disengaged recruiters however are more likely to say: ‘It’s not my job.’ 

Now, it’s important to note that engaged recruiters will only stay engaged if you openly acknowledge and at times reward them for going the extra mile. So, if you notice a one-time engaged and driven recruiter refusing to help out, consider if that’s perhaps the fault of your company culture. 

4.    They Gossip

If a recruiter becomes too involved in what other people in the office are doing, it means their job isn’t stimulating enough for them. Gossip can harm relationships, create cliques within a workplace, and lead to morale issues as employees stop trusting one another.

If you catch a recruiter talking negatively about a colleague, be direct and tell them to stop. Explain the effect this type of conversation has, and then encourage them to talk positively about their co-workers. 

5.    They’re a Know-It-All

Engaged recruiters work together as a team. They share resources, ideas, and information, helping each other to succeed. Disengaged recruiters work in silos, they don’t ask questions, and they resist help and advice from co-workers. They don’t feel the need for input, instead relying on their own initiative to do their job.

This doesn’t lead to a healthy company culture, and it fragments your team into individuals working away on their own. Often this problem arises because communication has broken down. So consider if this is a problem between a recruiter and their manager or if there’s a wider issue within your agency. Recruiters shouldn’t feel defensive about their work. Instead your company culture should promote healthy growth and discussion around how everyone can become more successful in their work.

6.    They’ve No Desire to Grow

Similarly, if a recruiter isn’t actively striving to improve themselves, then they’re stagnating. This leads to diminishing returns as these recruiters aren’t taking the time to focus on their future. Instead they’re bogged down in the day-to-day, revealing a lack of drive and ambition.

If you notice a recruiter struggling to focus on the future, provide them with an incentive. Perhaps schedule in a training day or an event that takes them out of the office. Inspire them to seek out ways to improve their skillset. The reason why a recruiter has no desire for professional growth is because they don’t see the value in the opportunities on offer. So get to know that recruiter better, ask them where they see themselves in X number of years, and then put a plan in place to help them get there.

7.    They’re Stressed

We all have stressful days at work, but when we become stressed, then something has to change. Stress leads to poor decisions, it negatively affects our memory, it makes processing new information difficult, and it leads to mistakes.

Stress creates disengagement at work. But it often means there’s a bigger problem in your workplace. A stressed and disengaged recruiter is a symptom of a poor company culture. So consider the environment that your recruiters work within. Are you piling on the pressure? Do your recruiters have an unhealthy work/life balance? Is management micromanaging?

Each of these issues need to be resolved in order to reengage stressed out and disengaged recruiters. 

Create an Environment to Succeed Within

Disengaged recruiters don’t support a good company culture. They’re thinking of themselves first, the agency second. But you can turn this around. Start by identifying why people are disengaged. It could be as simple as talking it over with them. 

For the most part, disengagement is a company wide problem and it’s something that can be fixed. If you notice recruiters who are struggling with any of the above, talk to them. Find out if there’s anything you can do to support them and help them to love what they do once again. Just as negativity can create a poor working environment, positive thinking can be transformative. 


Andy Mckendry

Content Guru

Firefish Software®

Tel:                +44 (0)141 648 8520


Twitter:         @firefishnow