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 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 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 – 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, 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: 3133

Comment by Recruiting Animal on March 21, 2013 at 1:59pm

Recruiters will do whatever it takes to get you hired. If that means lowballing your salary they will.

Comment by Recruiting Animal on March 21, 2013 at 2:00pm

All career counselors do is tell you how to spin the truth. #SellingIsLying

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 21, 2013 at 2:00pm
how does lowballing get someone hired? Come on now... give me an example. A war story, if you will. :)
Comment by Amber on March 21, 2013 at 2:08pm

Thanks again, Amy for writing what I hope most recruiters think about what this person wrote. I hope not many job seekers see it, as they already get enough crap information.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 21, 2013 at 2:09pm

Thank you Amber, that is EXACTLY why I wrote this. There's a big enough divide between "us and them" - crap articles like this only make it worse.

Comment by Derdiver on March 21, 2013 at 2:17pm

Awesome Post Amy!  I cannot begin to agree more.  Placing the blame on a faceless recruiter in LARGE company is both maddening and saddening at the same time.  I have to have been on the side of fighting for notice for a job with a company and I get the pains. However, the article you quoted smacks of the person owns perceived irritations and not an overall view of reality.  The purpose of this seems to say the recruiters are dumb. Lie to them on your resume, make mistakes, BS your way and you will get a job.  You will never be found out.  I wish I had more time to shore up EVERY point you made but I have resumes to ignore.

Comment by Seth Lidren on March 21, 2013 at 2:17pm

Amy, can you tell us how you really feel?  I think you were holding back...

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 21, 2013 at 2:19pm

Thanks Derdiver - you and I have talked about this enough offline... I knew I was speaking for both of us! :)

LOL Seth - didn't you notice I edited out the expletives? My mom reads my stuff once in a while... :)

Comment by Seth Lidren on March 21, 2013 at 2:29pm

Is it truly a lie?  I was there once, I was slinging people like the stock market, I was telling very experienced people, "No one is worth $XXX."  Then I failed...and failed hard.  I had to take a look in the mirror when I was a young  Padawan and actually start to treat people like people.  Amazing concept.  I turned it around and look at me, ma...I'm a success.  Also, I deal with recruiters all day that fit that bill and give us a bad name.  They are out there.  However, it should not be viewed as a should be viewed as the exception to the rule.  But make no mistake, it is out there.

While I agree with you about not being the article police and giving people a voice, I don't agree with putting your brand behind complete crap.  Especially when it bashes the purpose of your website (  I'll do it for you...


Comment by Larry Engel on March 21, 2013 at 2:30pm

Amy... I had a headhunter once turn down a job offer for me because they decided it was lower than they wanted to accept. I found out a couple of months later when I saw the client at a social-biz gathering. Asked him how things were going? (a start up firm), who they had found for the position? He told me they still hadn't filled the position. I said, that's hard to believe because it had so much growth opportunity. He said... "Well, you turned it down." I was floored. The Headhunter firm never presented their offer to me. It was $20k less than I currently make and definitely within consideration. All I could think was that the Headhunter was paid on a percentage of first year salary and was greedy. Found a job on my own, and will never deal with Headhunters or third-party recruiters again. I want to present my own case and close my own deal.


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