What Your Recruiter Will Never Tell You

Recruiters and headhunters are not your agents. They don’t actually work for you. They work for their clients who need help filling a job position. Like every profession, there are great recruiters and not so great ones.

As you focus on your job search, here are the top ten things recruiters will never tell you

The recruiter’s first motivation is earning commissions.

The recruiter’s loyalty is not to you; it is to the companies that pay their commission. Those employers are interested in the bottom line—and so is he. Don’t expect a recruiter to be personally interested in your career goals; he only wants to talk to you if you match the qualifications of the job openings he has to offer.

It is up to YOU to make him understand what a great asset you would be to his clients—and therefore to him as well.

Your cover letter put the recruiter off.

You might have been thrilled to find just the right cover letter form in a book of cover letters or computer template. What you don’t realize is that a thousand other people have also found that cover letter – and the recruiter has seen them all.

If your cover letter sounds like an exact repeat of your resume, or if it sounds pompous and self-absorbed, your cover letter and resume will be tossed or ignored. A professionally written cover letter can make the best of your accomplishments and give a fresh sound to recruiters, winning their interest.

Recruiters spend maximum ten seconds looking at each resume.

If your resume cannot get his attention in five to ten seconds, it will be passed over.

In an extremely fast-paced environment, high-volume resume reading is required; recruiters are professionally trained to look for certain items. If your resume is not designed to contain what recruiters are looking for, you won’t get a second chance.

Your resume may be full of hidden or unsuspected red flags.

You think you have a great resume, but there may be hidden red flags. Here are a few that cause concern for recruiters:

    • Too many jobs in a short time = Unstable candidate
    • Too many years at the same company/industry = Inflexible to change
    • Overqualified = Too expensive or won’t stay long
    • Underqualified = Long learning curve
    • Too many different types of jobs = Candidate doesn’t know what he wants

A professional resume and cover letter can avoid these misperceptions by guiding the recruiter toward your strongest accomplishments—and away from the red flags.

Your age is obvious from your resume.

You may think you’ve fooled the recruiter by leaving out your college graduation date, but there are many resume cues that can betray your age.

    • Your industry knowledge is out of date
    • You don’t understand current technology
    • You won’t be able to work under younger managers

A well-written resume can prove your experience while downplaying your actual age.

Your resume indicates you are not a good “cultural fit” for his clients.

Your resume reveals more about you than you know. Your personal information or extracurricular activities may actually make a negative impression on recruiters or potential employers. Even the way you phrase your job experience can prove that you don’t belong in his client’s workplace.

The recruiter doesn’t care why the employer didn’t want you for a second interview.

If the employer isn’t interested in you, then neither is the recruiter. Recruiters don’t feel any obligation to tell you why you didn’t make the cut; he has other jobs to fill and other candidates to fill them. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, recruiters have to focus on jobs that pay them, not improving your interview techniques.

The recruiter doesn’t care why the employer didn’t make you the offer.

Recruiters don’t want to admit that they knew you were the second choice all along or that the employer was just interviewing you to go through the motions. Maybe the top candidate was even someone else he sent in.

The recruiter won’t tell you the real reason the position you want is on hold.

Again, a recruiter’s first loyalty is to the companies that pay his commission. So he is not going to tell you that the employer just ordered a budget cut or that they are having a management crisis. And you will be left to wonder if the company put the job on hold to avoid hiring you.

The recruiter won’t tell you the true salary range for the position.

For internal corporate recruiters, it is in their best interest to keep the salary range low. It makes them look good if they can have a positive impact on the bottom line, and what better way to save thousands of dollars than by negotiating low?

For third-party recruiters, their commission is often based on your salary, so they will try to inflate the salary range. This seems like it could work to your benefit – until you find yourself priced out of a job.

You can avoid leaving dollars on the table and avoid pricing yourself out of a job only by learning negotiation skills that can earn you the salary you truly deserve.

I can’t stress this one enough! 

Dealing with recruiters requires a level of understanding and acceptance that recruiters prefer to work with candidates who are employed or very recently unemployed. Recruiters work for a commission, so don’t expect them to like you if you are long term unemployed. Like every profession, there are great recruiters and not so great ones.

Working with recruiters is not for everyone and if you want to get access to jobs that are not posted with recruiters, or learn how to diversify your job hunting strategies contact us here at the JobSearchCoach or subscribe to our blog posts.

Just learn to search smarter and not harder and always remember to hunt wisely!