When I came across this article “10 Things Employment Recruiters Won’t Say,” I have to say, some points hit a nerve-the wrong nerve. But rather than let these “insights” ring true “as is,” I thought I would set the record straight.

Right off the bat, I find the headline misleading. Of course, there ARE things recruiters won’t tell you-because we can’t! It wouldn’t be ethical. Like any service or department that handles sensitive company or personal information, clients and candidates trust us to keep certain information confidential until it needs to be disclosed. But that’s not what this article is talking about. It suggests that recruiters withhold information or mislead candidates into making misguided career decisions. Although there are bad apples in every bunch, this insinuation should piss off any professional recruiter who really understands their role and responsibility as a recruiter.

Let’s revisit the recruiter “top secrets” this article has unearthed…

1) There are better ways to find a job

Truth be told, there are many ways to find a job. Each way is no “better” or no “worse” because essentially, it’s about finding the job that’s right for you and the job you’re right for. You may find that job on a job board. Maybe you find it through a referral or networking. A professional recruiter’s job is to match the right candidates with the right positions at the right companies-not simply fill a job like it’s a transaction. We recognize the proliferation of career paths. Our job is to provide companies and candidates with additional, well-researched insights they may not get out of a traditional job postings, resumes or referrals. Our goal is to provide a better informed way to find talent and the right job for you.

2) We don’t work for you

Surprise! Yes we do! Companies use recruiters to help them find the best talent for their immediate goals and future growth. Should that company hire you based upon our recommendation, guess what? You’re now literally a part of the company we’re “working for.” Again, we want candidates to find happiness and fulfillment in their careers, because so much of what we do is built on solid partnerships and ongoing relationships. From that perspective, we absolutely work on behalf of companies as well as prospective candidates. We have two sets of customers that must equally be satisfied or in the long run the match will fail.

3) Until a year ago, I was a car salesman

We get that people have transferable skill-sets. It’s part of what we do. But we also insist on setting precise standards for professional qualification-that goes for recruiting itself. Let’s face it, these days people wrongfully claim to be web experts, investment specialists, alternative medicine gurus and the like. I am positive there are inexperienced, phony-boloney recruiters out there that give professional recruiters a bad name. Careful not to fall into that trap. If you feel in any way that a recruiter is not looking out for your best interest, then you’re not working with a professional recruiter.

4) The job we advertised may not exist

Honesty is the best policy, period. Placing a false ad is obviously not an honest practice. It could severely damage our brand as recruiters and a company’s brand as an employer. For that reason, false advertising should not permitted. Being honest is a hard part of our job. We have to tell candidates they may not be right for an immediate position without offending their professional integrity or dashing their hopes. Let’s face it, in the future we may have a position that is exactly right for them. If you can’t deal with being honest, you should not call yourself a professional recruiter.

5) We already know quite a bit about you

Yes and no. We might know a candidate’s work history to an extent-from company profiles and the like-but that’s not really what’s most important in terms of recruiting. The working world already knows where you’ve been; we want to know where you want to go next in your career and how you plan on getting there. That takes an honest, sincere relationship building process.

6) Our jobs aren’t so hot either

The economic downturn affected the workforce across the board. Any news source will tell you that. But recruiting is a “people” business all day, every day. You have to enjoy what you do. No one could fake the interest, enthusiasm and dedication it takes to successfully recruit. If you could, we would probably recommend you for an Academy Award-worthy acting gig.

7) You’re at the mercy of a computer, just like online job board users

Finding the best people means working harder than a job board. The best candidate may not even have a resume on hand, not to mention an up-to-date, keyword-rich resume. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re obviously not a professional recruiter; you’re a resume scanner.

8) The “temp-to-perm” carrot is rotten

Again, we have two customers to satisfy: 1) company and 2) candidate. We can’t over promise opportunities that don’t exist. When a candidate becomes frustrated with their role at a company, that’s when the losses start to pile up: the company loses the employee, the company loses confidence in our ability to recruit, the company loses its reputation as an employer of choice, we lose the company’s business. When you make impossible promises, you end up a loser recruiter.

9) If you have a job, I could get you fired

Please refer back to the very beginning of this blog. Remember my point about absolute confidentially-the real things a professional recruiter won’t tell. Exactly.

10) If I’m in Virginia, I probably won’t help you find a job in Nebraska

Like all professionals, professional recruiters have industries and areas of specialization. A professional recruiter will also have a well-developed network you may not know about. If they can help create a win-win situation for a colleague and a candidate, they will. They will also tell you if they can or can’t meet your professional needs right now.

Hopefully, I have cleared the air about some recruiting misconceptions. Just keep in mind, it is equally important for candidates to be open with recruiters. Tell them your needs, concerns, goals, questions-that’s the only way they will be able to address them. A professional recruiter will be more than willing to have a meaningful conversation with you. In reality, it should be pretty easy to tell the difference between a recruiting pro and a job pusher.


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