you-suck-thats-sad-happy-bunny-19616140-350-523Upfront, I need to make clear, this isn’t about most CDs and recruiters. It’s about that minority who, for some sad weird reason, take a sort of pleasure in belittling young ad people and enjoy making students feel bad about themselves and their work.

I wouldn’t be writing today if I didn’t frequently hear about this problem. And it happens pretty much like this:

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(We open on an interview taking place in some meeting room, maybe at an agency, a school, or a career fair.)

STUDENT: (Nervously) Hi, thanks for seeing me. I’m Cheryl F…

RECRUITER/CD WITH ISSUES: Yeah, great. Show me your work. (Sits down, doesn’t look at young person, appears bored, important, and douchey.)

STUDENT: Oh, okay. … Well, here’s my home page and…

ISSUES MAN: What’s this? (Pointing to screen.) I don’t get it.

STUDENT: It’s just my “About Me” page, where I…

ISSUES MAN: C’mon, get to the work. (Looks at his phone.)

STUDENT: Uhhh, okay. So … here’s my first campaign. (Clicks to new page.) It’s Maxwell House and our strategy was….

ISSUES MAN: Just be quiet. Lemme read. If I don’t get it, consumers won’t get it. Okay???

(Awkward silence. Ticking clock.)

ISSUES MAN: What?? Are you kidding me? This … this won’t work. (Rolls eyes, clicks to the next campaign.)


ISSUES MAN: Christ, and now this second thing? It’s boring. Seriously? You thought this was good??…. (Clicks to the next campaign.)

(Room sounds fade as we close in on student’s head. Cut to dream sequence where the student jabs the mean person’s neck with the sharp edge of her computer tablet, crushing his windpipe. As his mocha-latte-with-cinnamon-sprinkles tumbles in slow motion to the floor, bring up audience applause track. Fade to black.)

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 I’m not making this up. And I’m not exaggerating. (Well, I threw in the crushed windpipe part.)

You may actually have one of these CDs or recruiters working for your agency. But you’ll never know it because students and juniors looking for jobs? They’re way too scared to report this kind of abuse. And it is indeed abuse.

The very people you hope are attracting talent to your agency are actually chasing them away. They’re anti-recruiters. Students and juniors leave these interviews feeling angry and sad. When they tell friends about this bad experience, it’s not about your agency’s recruiter or CD, but about your agency. (“Man, they hired him so they must suck.”)

My advice to students: You’ll know very quickly if the recruiter or CD you’re meeting with is working out issues from when he was given wedgies in science lab. Stand up, say, “Thank you just the same, but this doesn’t feel right.” Walk out and later on send an email to somebody at the agency. Tell ‘em they have an anti-recruiter poisoning their good name.

And to you CDs and recruiters working out your issues on juniors and students? Remember, there are two kinds of hell. Regular and Extra-Krispy. Guess which one’s reserved for those who prey upon the weak?