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Recruiters who suck mostly suck because that's what their customers want.

When you get a call from some shady recruiter asking you about a 6 month contract in Omaha, you're getting that call because a company or government agency decided to start doing strategic sourcing and procure people the same way they buy any other commodity.

So two things explain the poor quality -- they are literally squeezing every penny out of the process and are hiring idiots

The other thing is that they don't want to find candidates. They want to have low rates of success -- they're just engaging in a recruitment process to justify hiring workers on guest visas who can be more effectively exploited. If you look in an industry "trade rag", you'll usually find a page with some hard to read, small print job postings -- those are "compliance" advertisements purchased for the same purpose.

I was recently talking to two startups through their internal recruiters. The two companies had similar positions available and were of a similar size, but their recruiters were night and day. One of them frequently forgot to get back to me, was unresponsive, gave unclear instructions, and generally slowed down the process. The other was extremely attentive, always moving the process as quickly as possible and accommodating my requests. It was dramatic enough that, even though the company with the slow recruiter had a ~3 week head start, I had to stall with the better recruiter to get an interview with both companies.

Even in situations where the employee profile is similar, recruiter quality can vary widely.

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