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 Kelly Blokdijk on March 21, 2013 at 6:09pm

DITTO, Sandra: "In short, I find this offensive, insulting and a total pile of crap." Thankfully, that seems to be an unanimous opinion. Thanks Amy for putting this out there and thanks Sandra (and others) for joining the "cut the crap cause"

I'm so disgusted that the majority of available career related information happens to be exactly like this nonsense. There's an endless supply of clueless people writing this junk and even more clueless people that have no clue how to validate the credibility of the source or the content. 

Why can't people just write about topics they know something about rather than every flippin' person deciding their claim to fame needs to be publishing how to get a job, how recruiting works, how HR works, how hiring decisions are made, how ATS screening works, how your resume should be formatted, how to get your dream job from facebook, pinterest, instagram, pinterest, twitter, linkedin, googleplus, how to follow your passion to build your brand as an expert, how to grab a hiring manager's attention with your blog about blogging about being a social media guru 

Comment by Seth Lidren on March 21, 2013 at 6:09pm

The only time I have ever seen low-balling is in the per-diem/hourly world, where you have to low-ball to get a decent commission.  I was working a national client for our firm one time in which I had to stop.  They were looking for someone with a Master's Degree to work in a technical position and I was only able to bill out $24/hour (in Alaska). Being that I love a challenge, I tried it.  Even high-balling that salary leaving me minimal cushion ($1-$2/hour) actually had candidates laughing at me before I could start the interview.

After reading this crap article, I'm wondering if Laura was the one in charge for my client.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 21, 2013 at 6:40pm

arrgghhSeth, that is one of those that always makes me want to ask somebody if they are going to sue the city?

When they say, huh?  My response is, "With that low a salary you are so short that you need to sue the city for putting the sidwalk too close to your butt.

Sometimes i get a laugh with that one but i have been called a couple of names or hung up on.  C'est la Vie.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 21, 2013 at 6:45pm

Keep the faith Kelly.  they have been around since these morons got paid to deliver a whole afternoon session on the final solution to the recruiting problem being a headset.  That was pre computers.  But you could double your billings if you just slammed a head set on your head.  That was the last conference i went to.  Somewhere in the early 80's.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 21, 2013 at 7:41pm

THIS - is why my rebuttal matters. One of a handful of responses I've received already.

I am a Computer Science grad student and since i am about to graduate i have started looking for jobs and speaking to recruiters all across United States. I was shocked when i read this article today, . I read your review immediately and I must say that after reading your article i started feeling better again.

Recruit THAT Laura!

Comment by Jai Turner on March 21, 2013 at 8:10pm

I can see lowballing for someone who hasn't worked in a while, but I would lowball a passive candidate. However, I wouldn't lowball, I'm a huge negotiator and pretty candidate-driven, so I want, not only to get the hire, but I want to retain the candidate. I want them to keep their job. 

I don't like the idea that candidates are "just another number".  Yeah, I have seen some pretty out of place resumes for some jobs I've recruited for, for example a fast food worker or lab technician for a sr. benefits administrator position, but I just see them as not being a fit and move on.  I know there are many people out there trying their best to get to the next big opportunity, but we do have a job to do.  But they are still people and deserve to be treated as such.  I let them down easily if they call or email me.  

Comment by Noel Cocca on March 22, 2013 at 12:42am

Please dear bloggers, write, write about what you believe needs to be published.  Write about what needs to be heard and read.  Recruitingblogs was, and is, the space for you to do this.  I ask each of you to tell the story that needs to be told.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 22, 2013 at 8:51am
Thank you Noel. That's why I hang around this place - you guys let me be me :)
It's hard to say what part of this original article bothers me most, but I think it's number six. She is literally saying its ok to LIE, unless the role requires ethics. I just can't wrap my head around that kind of belief system. The author is showing a complete lack of character in my opinion. I hope we hear from her.
Comment by David Wells on March 22, 2013 at 11:49am

I should have read Amy's response or Sandra's but I was so annoyed I finished the article and began typing!  A little late but my response for what its worth.


Yikes Barbara, I guess if you are recruiting for Canon USA it’s no wonder they do not have the best internal reputation.  That being said let's address a couple of these points shall we.
1) Why would I ever “fit someone into a job.”  Not s...ure about you but I don’t like trying to fit square pegs into round holes as it leads to fall offs, unhappy placements, and continuous refills.  From just a purely selfish stand point that makes my job 100x harder.  Why would I do this?  In addition considering I work with people for years on end, why would I jeopardize relationships I spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to build.  Do you even fundamentally understand recruiting is really a relationship driven business?  Most of my conversations revolve around sharing the good, bad, and the ugly about the company/position and letting potential candidates determine what’s right for them.
2) I agree with your advice to the candidate, move on.  However any good recruiter will convey what they don’t know.  Sometimes req’s get put on hold, hiring managers leave etc.  And most of the time I know, sometimes I don’t.  But when I don’t I share that with the candidate.  It’s called transparency, it builds trust and is one of the foundations of a professional relationship.
3) What?  Do you really believe this?  If you are recruiting for almost any professional level position, think Controller, Lawyer, IT Manager…. School matters in fact there is a preference for top tier schools because many hiring managers are from similar alumni.  And graduating?  Are you kidding?  I concur this may not be relevant for ALL positions but to say that you just need a “strong business background” is  tantamount to leading candidates down a wrong path and LIMITING their career options. 
4) Why would I do this?  First go back to number one, why would I jeopardize a relationship?  Second since I am usually paid on what people make why would I want to make less money?  Third in the beginning of the job I always tell candidates the range, why would I want to get to the end of a search process and then take a chance of low balling a candidate and having them walk away, that makes no sense.
5) Maybe?  Most of the time it means it’s a new position and the hiring manager may be trying to figure out exactly what they need.  Remember when I mentioned “transparency” this is when as a good recruiter you admit what you know and admit what you don’t know.  And if a job has turn over, I would be sure to let the candidate know.  When someone puts their career into my hands I don’t take it lightly.
6) NO.  Just NO. NO. NO.  I recruit for professional jobs and oddly enough ALL of my clients have ethics and want candidates with a similar background.  This is just very bad advice. In short this is a terrible article with bad career advice. 
I know part of your job is to do SEO work but this is article is rife with advice that is detrimental to job seekers, frankly it is people like yourself who give professionals a bad reputation.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 22, 2013 at 12:36pm
In the final analysis, if somebody who worked for me in a recruiting capacity or any other for that matter, flopped something like this out there for public consumption. I would have their ears nailed to my office wall and their butt would be out the door so fast the only thing they would be responding to would be an ad for a job for late night pizza delivery.

I think or I hope that we are reaching the demise of all the "politically correct" preaching that has been done for the past few years about not saying anything about the junk the self appointed career advisors are putting out there. Perhaps this article and the response to it means Enough is Enough.


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