As much as I HATE to give this post any more link love than it's already probably getting, I just can't help but call out something I read this morning. Here it is, in all its glory - What Recruiters Won’t Tell You and Why courtesy of Recruiter.com. Don't worry about clicking away dear reader – I'll share with you the highlights and won't hold back what I really think. My only hope is that any frustrated job seeker who takes this seriously will read my post as well. If you are still not satisfied, email me directly at alarecruiter@gmail.com. Put the title of this post in the subject line so I don't miss it, and we'll talk it out.

The author leads off with "Recruiters who work for large companies to source new employees are overwhelmed by the sheer number of candidates for each position they seek to fill." Oh, hi. Welcome to EVERY RECRUITING GIG EVER. You must be new here. I work for a very large company. We have nearly 100K employees. I am no more overwhelmed here by the number of applicants I have than I was at my previous company, at just over 1,000 employees. But let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

Author Laura Pierson provides six "truths" to job seekers, in the hopes of (I can only guess) enlightening the great unwashed masses who are overwhelming us with their applications. Or something. Here we go –

  1. You are just another number. Whoa. If that doesn't get someone's attention, I don't know what will. Do you hear that job seeker? You are NOT VALUABLE. Don't get any crazy ideas about being a unique and talented individual with a certain set of skills, education, and experience that has made you the employee you are today. Maybe even the employee that's right for my current opening. Nope - you're just another number, you silly goose. NEXT! Does any decent recruiter really believe this crap? I have NEVER, in over a decade of recruiting, viewed people as inventory. Not every applicant is going to be right (or even qualified) for a position I'm recruiting for. That doesn't diminish their value as a person. To say you're "just another number" is insulting.
  2. If you haven't heard back after an interview within a week or two, it means the manager doesn't want you for the job. Sadly, this is SOMETIMES true. I will give Laura props for her last words on this subject – if you don't hear back from a recruiter for over a week, move on and don't stop looking. Frankly, you shouldn't have stopped looking when you got the interview. It doesn't mean, however, that the manager doesn’t want you for the job. It could mean headcount was eliminated. It could mean someone was out sick or on vacation. It could mean ANY NUMBER OF THINGS. The only blanket generalization that I will accept about this is that the recruiter might suck for not communicating to you there is no update. Even then, you never know what could be going on behind the scenes that has NOTHING to do with job seeker.
  3. Recruiters don't care where you went to school. You know, this one is probably true. Except guess who does care? THE HIRING MANAGER. I once recruited for a role where the manager wanted someone with an MBA from Thunderbird. The role was going to have a major global focus and that was the single non-negotiable. I found him three great candidates. It was for a manufacturing company in Ohio, not a top agency or law firm as the writer claims. Other roles require a Bachelor's degree, no matter what. So yeah, maybe it DOES matter… to the person making the hiring decision.
  4. Recruiters will lowball your salary. What? Why on earth would I want to do this? On what planet does this make sense? The reason given for this nonsensical piece of "information", is that recruiters are in the business of fitting people into employment. How "fitting people into employment" (which by the way, is NOT what I do) equates to screwing someone out of compensation makes ZERO sense to me. I have fought hard against cheap hiring managers and WON. The salary conversation should be a win for both sides – hiring manager hires a great employee for a reasonable and within budget salary + employee gets a decent compensation package that (s)he has earned. Why does there have to be a loser in this game?? Number four is just flat out stupid.
  5. A vague job description spells trouble. Sigh. If I'm being "vague" about a job description, it's probably because it's super technical and way over my head. I will tell you this. I will also encourage you to ask those questions of the hiring manager. Of course I want a candidate to feel completely comfortable with the job specs AND the culture / environment you're potentially getting into. A recruiter being intentionally vague is career suicide, in my opinion.
  6. You can bend the truth and still get hired. This is just a GEM. Lie to me, candidate. That's a great way to start our working relationship. Oh it's just little white lies, mean to protect you from "recruiter backlash" or some such nonsense. Laura actually tells candidates who've started a job on February 1st to list January on the application. The application, which is a legally binding document stating that everything you say is true. THIS PERSON IS TELLING YOU TO LIE. Don't do it. Please, for your own sake, don't.

Sadly, the author goes on to say "small discrepancies in resumes are not taken seriously unless if the job is directly related to high ethical standards". I don't want to recruit in a world where I have to violate my personal ethical standards to get a job. This, America, is why we can't have nice things. I'm curious as to what kind of job is exempt from this advice. You know, the roles that are related to high ethical standards. Perhaps healthcare, working with children, maybe cash handling… Can someone weigh in on this for me? I'm willing to bet "recruiting" wouldn't make the author's list.

Let me also add, in defense of Recruiter.com – Miles Jennings was kind enough to respond to my tweets with links of his own –

Miles has his own views and I respect him for giving Laura Pierson a voice. I don't want Recruiter.com, RBC, or any other social media outlet to start becoming the "article police" - I'd probably never be published again. I would still welcome the chance to debate this article with the author or anyone out there who agrees with her. Come on girlfriend, let's talk it out. I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt as long as you're willing to defend what you have written. I'm sure if we asked nicely we could chat about it live on the Recruiting Animal show. I'm game….

Views: 3052

Comment by Jai Turner on March 22, 2013 at 4:23pm

Wow a threat??!  Poor lady!  She was trying her best to give secretive and fradulent advice, but it's sad that someone threatened her life, if that's the case.  Recruiting is a great career and I love what I do, and 95% of that article was completely contrary to the ethical and successful recruiter.  Recruiter.com is a good website, but I can't believe that they actually allowed this article to transpire.  

Comment by Will Thomson on March 22, 2013 at 4:26pm

This is nuts!!!  Just think Amy- your rebuttal is trending hotter than her original article :)

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 22, 2013 at 4:30pm

lol Will - unfortunately now that the original article has been pulled people are probably wondering what I'm talking about...

@Peter no surprise here - not sure if it was a true "bodily harm" type threat or she just didn't like the heat. I really don't know and of course don't wish any harm on her, but honestly you can't go around posting things like this, encouraging people to falsify applications under a pseudonym and expect the recruiting community to give you a pass.

@Jai - while I get that recruiter.com allows for multiple viewpoints, at some stage they have to realize that posting this stuff is almost endorsing. I don't know how they work, ex. here at RBC just anyone can post anything any time. They guys do keep an eye on it, but nothing is "edited" so to speak. Recruiter.com seems to be set up differentlly but I don't know.

Comment by Murray Clarke on March 22, 2013 at 4:48pm

Wow. I don`t recruit in the States but the impression from this discussion is that these shitty (and dumb) recruiters over there are in the majority. Yes they exist but I would assume (and hope) they are the minority creating noise that is way out of proportion.

Amy is 100% CORRECT. I think these morons that do treat candidates that badly are in some ways good for those of us who are professional: they make us shine when our chance comes. 

At the end of the day it is all about setting expectations. If someone applies and comes in for a specific job we posted somewhere, we let them down if we don`t think they will get it. If it is nigh on impossible, be straight so that they and no-one else waste their time: focus on the "high probabilities". I even tell people to apply directly rather than through me as an agent in some cases where that would help them (i.e. very low probability).

For people who we "headhunt" and are looking for suitable roles to pitch, I actually forewarn candidates that I am most likely not going to place them. I work for a select group of clients and if the roles and timing don`t work out then that is our fate. But if they do, I will do everything within my power to assist them to get that job. Even if it is exclusive I have to tell them I am also helping "the other guy" and may the best man win.

Sad to hear how shitty the market is over in the States. But it does explain why some internal recruiters over there treat agents like shit when their company eventually expands into Asia. Such is life though, we just have to prove we are better than that.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 22, 2013 at 5:50pm

A threat is it?  Oh hog - freaking -wash.  Did somebody threaten to send that crap to her boss. Hysterical women make me tired.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 22, 2013 at 6:21pm

I know, Barbara got a threatening email from somebody named Laura Pierson who is a career advisor and used to be a librarian for ruining her reputation.  Laura must be a bit deranged.  I feel sorry for all the ladies on Linkedin who actually have the name Laura Pierson.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on March 22, 2013 at 7:21pm

From what I've noticed about recruiter.com versus RBC, ERE, TLNT, etc., is that most of the content goes unchallenged. I almost never see comments on the articles I read there.

Maybe I read them before the comments are made, but not sure. I've been tempted to comment on so much crap I read, but usually don't bother if the process to do so is convoluted or you are required to log in to FB to post something. 

Aside from Maren's articles, most of the other writers (recruiter.com) don't seem to make any sense or demonstrate legit industry know-how, but publish away, they do. 

I've seen garbage on RBC too, but usually it either gets ignored (rightly so) and those writers eventually vanish - or - if particularly absurd, it generates a butt-load of activity and entertainment for the rest of us. 

Comment by Debra Nathan on March 27, 2013 at 10:02am

Thank you for speaking out that not all recruiters are the same and great writing. I was a builder and a realtor for 20 years before becoming a recruiter and I used to say "I hate realtors" and people would be shocked but I was always having to dig  friends out of bad real estate deals where a bad realtor would try to sell them anything just to get a commission. Recruiting is not exempt there are good and bad, ethical and unethical. Not worlds apart my two professions in fact very similiar. I am lucky to work for one of the best recruiters in the country and he has taught me well to set up everyone's expectations and show them the reality and I don't just use words to do that. Lately with the overwhelming response of applicants to openings I am told more and more by my candidates that they will not apply to a company without me or a recruiter. They have had bad experiences with companies withdrawing offers or not treating them well through the interview process and they know I will represent them and have them under contract. So for every war story there are many many happy and successful people who are achieving their personal and professional goals because of a recruiter. Any red flags that come up should be addressed with anyone you are involved with don't be afraid to speak up.

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on March 27, 2013 at 10:06am

What I've learned from this is that some recruiters are good and others are crap.

I suspect Laura's recent experiences had been with some of the crap ones.

Comment by Amber on March 27, 2013 at 10:30am

Mitch, I think the writer - "Laura" - IS the crap recruiter...

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