What recruiters don’t tell you and what you need to know!


Recruiters and how recruiter’s work, is generally a mystery for most job seekers. So in this article, I’m going to share with you what recruiters don’t tell you and what you need to know.

Some recruiters are just sharks and should not be in the business of recruitment

I’m not here to disparage all recruiters, because there are amazing recruiters out there, that are ethical, work hard and are a credit to the sector (and I know quite a few that fall into this category).

However, there are also recruiters that are sharks and should not be in the business of recruitment. The problem with the recruitment sector is generally other recruiters don’t call out the sharks. Dodgy recruitment practices include:

  • Sending your CV / Resume to multiple clients without your permission. Less reputable recruiters have a bad habit of presenting your resume to multiple clients, which means you are not in control of who views your resume. This can be a major problem if you want to conduct a confidential job search. It can also make you look desperate and that is the last thing you want, if trying to conduct a professional and highly targeted job search.
  • Some recruiters advertise jobs that don’t exist in order to build their database for future roles. This unscrupulous practice can be quite common and it is the reason why a job seems to get filled so quickly, or why you don’t hear back from the recruiter. Posting false job advertisements is not ethical, but it happens.
  • Misrepresenting your experience to clients Some recruiters will misrepresent your experience in order to get you to an interview (and secure a big fat fee). This has personally happened to me, so I know this occurs, because my resume was slightly altered and misrepresented the number of years of experience I had in a particular company. During the interview, it came to light, that I did not have the required post graduate experience that they required. I looked like a fool and the potential employer was not impressed.
  • Using your references as leads Unfortunately many reference requests by recruiters are simply a way to generate more leads for the recruiter. If a recruiter requires your referees, before they have even met you – decline to provide them. The reality is, they don’t need them at this stage in the process and odds are, the recruiter wants nothing from you, but three new names for their database. This is not only unethical, but it could potentially damage your relationship with your referees.
Many work on a contingent basis

Recruiters are either retained or contingency. Retained, is when the agency has a financial relationship with the client company and is paid an up front fee for completing an assignment to match the candidate to the specific job specification. Contingency is when the recruiter gets paid, only if the recruiter presents a candidate that the company likes and hires and more than one recruitment firm might be involved.

Recruiters are not going to tell you they are working on a contingent basis. What this means to you as a job candidate, is if they are working on a contingent basis, they are more than likely not going to be putting a lot of effort into the recruitment process (including your application). Unless they are not very busy, (which generally means they are newbies or not very good), they are going to be more focussed on securing candidates for other projects.

They are generally not comfortable giving you feedback

In the study of Recruiter Practices and Preferences, Kimberly Schneiderman, Risesmart, most recruiters will give feedback, but they are not comfortable giving this feedback.

  • 57% noted that they always gave feedback
  • 33% said they usually gave feedback
  • 8% only occasionally gave feedback

The number one reason provided by recruiters for not providing feedback to candidates  – they are protecting themselves. You see job candidates can get aggressive and will not necessarily agree with the feedback provided. So if you are going to ask for feedback, don’t take offence if they don’t provide it and always be courteous and polite, even if you don’t agree with their reasoning.

They will take you out of the running for an opportunity primarily for the following reasons

In the study of Recruiter Practices and Preferences, Kimberly Schneiderman, Risesmart, Kimberly also provides the key reasons why candidates are taken out of the running for an opportunity.

  • Poor Attitude – 56%
  • Poor Communication – 49%
  • Inflexible on Salary – 39%
  • Misrepresenting their experience – 50%
Many recruiters won’t consider you, if you are not already employed

This one makes no sense to me, but the reality is, many recruiters don’t touch candidates that are not already in a job. The reasoning goes – they are being paid the top dollar to find and potentially poach top talent, not top talent that desperately needs work. The logic is in my opinion flawed, as they are potentially missing out on top-notch talent – but this is the reality of the recruiting game.

In fact in the survey of Recruiter Practices and Preferences, Kimberly Schneiderman, only 15% of recruiters always presented qualified, but unemployed job candidates.

So if on your LinkedIn page, you currently have,’ looking for new opportunities’, remove this information from your profile and replace with wording that simply highlights the benefits and values you offer a potential employer.

The majority of recruiters are using an Applicant Tracking System (robots)

A staggering 67% of recruiters use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This is why you need to know and understand ATS and how they are impacting on your job search.  You can be the perfect job candidate, but if your resume does not match the technology used, you will be eliminated. I share everything that you need to know about ATS Parsing Software, so you can optimise your resume for an applicant tracking system.

Now you understand a little more about recruiters, you will be able to work out some strategies to successfully work with the right recruiter. The right recruiter can be invaluable, but you need to understand how recruiters operate and how they are not all created equal!

Other articles you might find useful

Why recruiters don’t call back  

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