20 reasons your boss hates you

20 reasons your boss hates you

Does your boss hate you?

OK, hate is a strong word. I am sure she does not actually hate you. (Well, maybe not).

But let’s say you irritate her, disappoint her, and ultimately incline her to regard you more as a liability than an asset. And that can only end in tears.

30 years of managing recruiters, and managing managers who manage recruiters, have given me a fair insight to those behaviors that really tick a recruiting leader off. You might assume it’s all about poor results. Sure, a bad month, or quarter, is not going to thrill your boss, but trust me, she will forgive you far quicker for a poor fee tally, than she will for serial offending in these areas.

Be honest now. Recognise yourself at all here?

  • You contradict or argue with her in front of the team. Or at best you show your disdain for her ideas and initiatives with negative  body language, smirks, and audible sighs.
  • You are negative about new ideas, cynical about change, and undermine initiatives.
  • You come late to meetings, and often to work too.
  • You inflate your sales pipeline and potential billings, and always fall short on what you promise to deliver.
  • If there is a dress code, you flaunt it, or push it to the limit, putting her in the awful position of having to counsel you on how you dress.
  • You repeat the same recruiting mistakes time and again, and appear to be immune to coaching and mentoring.
  • You don’t comply with even the most basic admin requirements, and seldom complete the required data updates on your CRM/ATS.
  • In meetings, or any discussion about the business, all your ideas involve the company spending more money. You sulk when they don’t fly.
  • You fan the flames of gossip and discontent, instead of dousing them where you can.
  • You muck around on your phone during meetings when she is trying to convey a message, or enthuse the team.
  • You take the credit for new clients, and deals done, even when you had little real involvement.
  • You don’t prepare for your weekly meetings with her, and you put almost nothing into your performance review preparation. But you complain bitterly that your ‘career is going nowhere’.
  • You are cynical and disinterested in ‘training’. You often find a reason not to attend sessions she runs. If you do attend, you dominate the session with war stories about the way ‘you do things’.
  • When you do well, you are smug and insufferably arrogant, prancing around like a prima ballerina on smack. But when your numbers are shocking, you blame the market, or the database, or the admin staff, or something else. Just never you.
  • You squabble with your colleagues over the tiniest of incidents, hold long grudges, and spend a good chunk of your time ‘in a huff’.
  • Two or three disappointments in a week will throw you into a downward dive of despair, wasted emotion, and ‘woe is me’. You mope around the office, looking for sympathy and re-assurance, dragging down the team with you.
  • You complain bitterly that ‘no one ever gives you any leads’, and demand access to everyone else’s clients, but guard your own clients with the intensity of a rabid honey-badger, hissing at anyone who even hints at an approach, with a vicious, ‘that’s my client!’
  • You take so much for granted. Training, bonuses, marketing expenditure, benefits, company-paid team beers. Pretty much everything really.
  • You never, ever, ever, say thank you.

Now, before Managers get too smug, nodding at every point above, and recruiters get all bitter and twisted over this harsh expose of their sins, take note that next weeks blog will be, “Recruiting Managers. 10 reasons your consultants do not trust you”.

Have I missed any? Please leave your comments and ideas below.


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About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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27 Responses to 20 reasons your boss hates you

  1. Dana Peever June 17, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Or just the exact opposite. You do everything you need to and then some, but your manager is threatened because you think outside of the box, initiate and execute at every turn and have a positive outlook on life.

  2. Richard June 17, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    Greg, could not agree more. Having managed very large teams of recruiters for over 10 years, your 20 factors hit the mark.

    Unfortunately the recruitment industry has no required professional qualifications, no required accreditation and no barriers to entry. Any idiot can call themselves a recruitment “professional” and as a result, our industry is filled with people I would not trust to walk my dog.

    Given that the larger recruitment companies make a habit of recruiting 20 something year old,”wet behind the ears” recruitment consultants who are then thrust out into the world (with virtually no quality training) as the latest (insert recruitment company name here)’s mining/accounting/sales recruitment expert, its no wonder our clients hate us too.

    Let’s bring in some formal qualifications and accreditation required to become a recruitment consultant (that is actually hard to attain and is valued in the marketplace), cull out all of the numpty, oxygen-bandit recruiters currently populating our industry, and perhaps we can start to earn back the respect of our clients (and also end up with teams that deserve their jobs and are actually committed to mastering their craft).

    • Ivan May 18, 2016 at 8:30 am #

      Good points made.
      Please review the REC, their training programs are exceptional in addition to the ethical and legal aspects.
      Australia and Nz have nothing like it, mores the pity.
      I have 16 years of experience and I still don’t class myself as an “expert” So it irks me when someone with 2-3yrs experience is classes themselves as an ( insert industry ) expert, when they haven’t even mastered their own CRM/CMS.

  3. Anita June 17, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    So very, very true Greg…..irritated me just reading it.

  4. Mike June 17, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    Could not agree less.

  5. Mark June 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    So very true…and quite common amongst recruiters in their 20’s!

  6. Michelle June 17, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    I have certainly worked with a few of these consultants (for a short period of time) I am going to regret saying this but there seems to be more of them in IT and Finance then other recruitment sectors! Those of us that have been in the recruitment industry longer than we would like to admit are less likely to behave like this or at least I would hope!!

  7. Millie June 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Unfortunately though, most managers will let this behaviour ‘fly’ if the consultant is a biller. I have worked with a few consultants like this and because of their attitude and the fact that they get away with being complete a$$holes, I have become like this at times.

    My manager’s excuse for keeping them was, regardless of their tantrums, they made the money and that was ultimately more important than retention and staff morale.

    Let me give you a head start on your next article – Managers are hated by consultants (sometimes truly hated) because they:
    1) Were never recruiters (worst)
    2) Haven’t recruited for many years and give advice on a market they no longer play in – or even worse – continue to bleat about marketing and cold calling yet they only call their warm clients as examples
    3) Do not promote any sort of standards at all within their team
    4) Treat recruiters like numbers
    5) Fail to acknowledge staff – generally

    I fail to understand why Recruitment Managers cannot simply do the one thing they promote – recruit and manage correctly. Don’t assume you know it all and drop the ego long enough to find out what is actually happening in your team.

    Show me a good, consistent Manager and I will show you a Recruiter (several) that have a good reputation and still love the job by mentoring themselves. Treat us like money makers and we (secretly) treat you like the idiots that only know how to do dish it out.

    And @ Michelle (comment above) totally agree with you but I would also chuck in the Exec Recruiters. Recruiters who have too much time on their hands to be difficult.

  8. Tracy Wright June 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    I heard them recently described as – Internal Terrorist. Big billers that destroy a culture.

  9. Kim Parker Adcock June 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    That last one really hit home being a boss has felt like a thankless task at times. Glad to say not all of the time though. I realigned my company culture in 2007 and 5 of 11 staff left – their culture is listed above. These days our positive culture is paramount and we’d all completely agree with your comments Greg! #Dana come and work with us you’re definitely our kind of person!

  10. Richard June 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    Have you been spying on me? 😉

  11. Ashleigh June 18, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    I think blaming ’20 something’s’ is a very narrow minded comment. I’ve known recruiters of all ages who display the behaviours above.

    • Kate July 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      Well said Ashleigh!

  12. Mark June 18, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    I believe some managers instigate these reaction from people – I’m not saying all. But if you have a manager that has consultants that keep battling with you, I do believe its something your saying or not doing.

    People normally follow the lead of the leader.

    But that’s not to say you will have “Problem children” in your team. I’ve had my fair share – and turned them around (or sacked them).

    Looking forward to part 2 Greg.

  13. Richard June 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    The fish rots from the head down

  14. Alex June 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    Great post as usual Greg! Although I must say that this one seems as though it was written about one person in particular who is driving you crazy 🙂

  15. Haryo June 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Greg, I always learned something new after reading your post here. A few years ago I happened to deal with not one, but about four people with those 20 traits you mentioned above. After a long thought, I fired three of them and the last remaining person resigned voluntarily after I decided that I have to implement more ‘draconian’ approach to improve the morale and build a corporate culture I really want.

    Now I can proudly say that all my consultants share the same positive spirit and work in alignment with the culture I envisioned when I started this company. The key is in the simple recruitment mindset: hire for attitude and train for skills. Works perfectly for me 🙂

  16. Fiona June 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm #


    One more for you !

    Consultants who are to ‘busy’ ie important to do team marketing days and call cycles!

    • Greg Savage June 27, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Excellent one Fiona..perfectly fits the genre

  17. Joana_JW June 30, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    I am negative with the way he behave and his concept of change and work. During meetings, whatever he says or ridicules is meant with the purpose to target me. He doesn’t believe in quality work…I do. He believes in quickness and quantity and I hate that. He likes cheating and calls it inspiration and I am a fan for innovation. I guess bosses are meant to be HATED 😀

    P.S: He is an idiot…Oh I am not!

  18. Anthony Hesse - Property Personnel June 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    Great article Greg. Here’s three more:
    1. The consultant who arrives one minute before 8.30am and leaves at the dot of 6.00pm (or whatever your official opening hours are)
    2. Someone who constantly makes tea and/or coffee
    3. A consultant who emails rather than phones a client when doing ‘vacancy follow ups’

  19. Mark July 27, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    Hi Greg,

    I am also wondering which office plant you must have been hiding behind! I have dealt with all of these behaviors and still do at times. Your article is a nice reminder that my business partner and I are not alone as owners of a Recruiting Firm. I often like to use articles like this for training purposes, but it wouldn’t be fair to do so before I suffer through reading “Recruiting Managers. 10 reasons your consultants do not trust you”. There is no doubt in my mind that some of my bad habits will be exposed.

    Where’s the follow up article? Was there not enough content out there? 🙂 I’m beginning to feel the smugness creeping in! Kidding of course….

  20. andy November 25, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    Hello Greg,

    thanks for the great article! i found it really helpfull for me to improve my knowledge on how to handle with bosses, i’ve heard from a TV show that we have to follow what our boss want no matter what we think is it correct or not, but what matter the most is what our boss think.

    now from your article i can more understand what they think, and what should furthermore to improve my career, and i found it right for haryo saying hire for attitude and train for skills, i absolutely agree, thumbs up!

  21. Ups and downs of the search game February 17, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

    Frankly speaking, there was a point in my career when several of these points could be attributed to me. I was 6 or 7 years at one company and was utterly bored with same rhetoric from leadership. I had seen young consultants come and go, so grew tired of mentoring them and trying to install a work ethic of sorts. I was young and immature, sure, but after a while – transactional recruitment for bonus becomes soul destroying. Companies need to do more to engage their employees – offer an ownership stake perhaps. Something that will give their guys pride in the organisation they work for, 30% of billings doesn’t cut it…

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