When it comes to the mysterious recruiting world, and whether or not an individual can expect this channel to produce many viable job leads during the course of their job search campaign, the facts are:

A) Some professionals are highly recruitable and will get stalked relentlessly by headhunters throughout their entire career

B) Other professionals are somewhat recruitable, but only during portions of their careers or during a tight labor market

C) Many other professionals, still, are totally UN-recruitable and shouldn’t rely on this channel at all as a lead generation source

So how does one determine which camp you’re in so you can manage your expectations accordingly — and not burn a lot of time or mental energy on this  avenue, if it’s not likely to produce results?  For starters, while we all wish we were in the first category above, of course, that’s just not the reality.  I’m certainly not a “highly recruitable” person myself, given that I work in a fairly esoteric field without a lot of specialized qualifications.  Folks who have been unemployed for a considerable period of time are also not very “hot” commodities within the staffing world, either.  Neither are generalists, return-to-work homemakers, or people looking to change careers.

In general, the people who can expect a reasonable level of success with recruiters tend to have HIGHLY specialized skills — such as people who work in certain categories of accounting, engineering, and technology or folks who have been high-profile organizational leaders with a demonstrated track record of ROI performance.  These are the people recruiters can command a fee to seek out and place.  And in today’s world, those who don’t meet these exacting criteria aren’t likely to experience a lot of warm, fuzzy behavior from the recruiting and staffing sector.  Those folks who “hunt heads” for a living are having a hard time trying to attract viable job orders from companies, and when they do, virtually all of their time is consumed servicing these accounts and tracking down individuals with the perfect pedigree — versus following up with candidates who send in resumes at random or don’t quite meet their ideal profile.

So while there’s still no excuse for any recruiting professional to engage in rude, demeaning, or unethical behavior with ANY job seeker, I’d advise anybody still fuzzy on how the recruiting world operates to read through the excellent LinkedIn Answers discussion here that contains some terrific dialogue about how the recruiting channel really works, behind the scenes.  In order to know the recruiting channel fits into your own marketing mix, you must first understand it, and this thread of conversation will really shed some light on the subject and clear things up, I assure you!