Top Recruiter Lies

So, last week, I wrote a little HR blog post called – Top Candidate Lies‘ and it got a rather large reaction.  LinkedIn’s What’s Hot picked it up from TLNT (ERE’s HR website which re-blogs some of my work) – and in a little over 8 hours, over 75,000 people read the post, and over 500 comments (at TLNT’s site)!  Cool for me, right!?  Well, let’s just say there were a ‘few’ folks who didn’t agree with my post – so I took a bit of beating – as did the Recruiting Profession in general.

Basically, from the Top Candidate Lies post, there three camps:

1. Recruiters – where about 99% agreed with the lies, and found it funny

2. Job Seekers – who honestly had one of these things happen to them, now understood that some recruiters might see these as lies, and wanted help in how they should address (I got over 50 person emails like this – which was cool and made for a busy weekend)

3. The Haters – these folks assumed all ‘candidates’ were out of work people, and they weren’t lying or had to lie to get a job.  There’s really no logic in addressing these folks, like: many candidates lie and are actually employed, candidates lie because they just don’t want to tell the recruiter the truth (more on this later) or candidates lie because most candidates lie! The Haters also pointed out that Recruiters Lie!  For which I say – “yes, yes they do!”

I love The Haters passion, though, so I wanted to go down that road of the Top Recruiter Lies – Here you go Haters!

Send Us Your Resume, Even Though We Don’t Have a Job Lie – this was pointed out by a few people – I would say this is a ‘semi-lie’  (how do you like that haters!).  While the recruiter might not have the opening currently, they’re asking for a resume because they frequently have those openings and they never know when one is coming. The recruiter, though, is wrong by not telling you this up front, so you know what to expect.

The Hiring Manager Hasn’t Gotten Back To Me Lie – This is a lie and not a lie – potentially!  For Corporate Recruiters this is a lie or lazy – you pick.  If you’re a corporate recruiter and tell the candidate that the hiring manager hasn’t gotten back to you – get your butt up from your desk and walk over to the hiring managers desk.  If they’re in a different location and won’t get back to you – you have an influence problem you need to work on.  Agency-wise it’s the one frustrating things recruiters have to deal with – Hiring Managers will get to ‘us’ when they feel like it, and usually after they’ve exhausted every other opportunity internally to fill the position.

The Never Call Back the Candidate Lie – this really isn’t a lie – but The Haters pointed this out happens all the time!  For the sake of Recruiters everywhere – if you do this – please quit this profession – we (all Recruiters) Hate you as well.  You give all of us a bad name.  It takes 10 seconds to call back a candidate you spoke to a job about, and tell them “Sorry, you were not chosen – stay in touch, don’t call me again, etc.”  10 seconds!  Haters – bad Recruiters don’t call you back because they have major conflict avoidance and don’t like telling people negative stuff like – “You’re not good enough, we found someone better” or just a simple Lie “we filled it internally”.

The You Didn’t Score High Enough On The Assessment Lie The company you’re trying to get into might actually have cut-off scores they’ve established – the lie comes into play when a hiring manager presents someone they’ve worked with previously and that person scores the same as you – but still gets the job.  If they really like you – the assessment won’t stop them from hiring you.

The We’ve Decided To Go Another Direction Lie – This comes along with the ‘We really liked you, but” Lie.  This is Recruiter training 101 – to not get yourself into trouble when telling a candidate they didn’t get the job – give them a reason that legally can never come back and bite you in the butt.  “We really, really, really liked but have decided to not fill the position.”  Two weeks later a job posting comes out that seems very similar but with a title change and a few description changes.  They didn’t like you.

The biggest reason Recruiters lie?  They have major conflict avoidance and are not willing to tell you the truth, which is usually there is something wrong with you – based on what they are looking for and don’t want to hurt your feelings.  Unfortunately, many candidates would actually be helped by a little Recruiter honesty – but recruiters are afraid of candidates who get told the truth – and then get charges from the EEOC, other state or federal agencies, or just get flat out sued.  Candidates have a hard time with feedback like – “you’re really creepy”, “you’re annoying” or “your personality is grating”.  So, the lies come – because Recruiters have found Lies are easier than the truth.

Ok, Haters – your turn – which Recruiter Lies did I forget?  Hit me, not literally, in the comments…

21 thoughts on “Top Recruiter Lies

  1. I’ve been out for 4 years and am looking diligently fora new job. During this time I’ve registered with, allied through over 550 recruiting firms and recruiters. During this I have heard every lie in the book from them, ‘You’re resume is very impressive, but…’, ‘I have you in mind for several possible openings’, etc. Some have come straight out and say ‘do not call us, we’ll call you’, or ‘we not looking for someone as experienced…’ border line age discrimination here. Some have been so bold as to say ‘we are more interested in a diversity candidate…’ yep race discrimination indicated.

    I had one recruiter blatantly tell me that I was too old knowing all to well that it is his word against mine. Since I did not tape the conversation, which could not be used in court anyway plus how the EEOC is nothing more than a paper tiger, he knows he can get away with it.

    Recruiters and recruiting firms need to be held accountable for their actions. The White house claims that the unemployment is down to 4.8% then it should be no problem with a recruiter filling a position. Yet from where I sit, they have not made effort one in trying to place me.

    Maybe a law should be put into place that recruiting firms must place 99% of their candidates within the first month or face stiff penalties. After all it is by placing people into jobs is how they make their money and such a law would entice them to do a better job instead of leading candidates astray.

  2. I had a recruiter tell me that they offered PTO because the holidays were coming up. What she FAILED to say is that PTO is accrued, and I would NOT get paid for the holidays coming up. That’s kinda slimy. I dunno if I’d stay in a profession that required me to lie all the time. But then, I have personal integrity.

  3. I had a recruiter reach out to me on LinkedIn about a position similar to the one I already had but it paid more. For over a month, she groomed me for the interview process. A couple of times after communicating with the hiring company, a bunch of red flags went up. I had a feeling that I was about to step into a danger zone and I expressed my concerns to the recruiter. She swore up and down that this wasn’t the case. Well, I got the job and it only took a short time to realize that I made a huge mistake. I can’t express enough how miserable I am. I tried to go back to my previous job but there are no current openings. I am truly sad because I loved my old job despite all its flaws; the higher paycheck and promises from the recruiter led me to make a gigantic error. I cry every day. I tried to contact the recruiter but she’s avoiding me. Surprise! If I am eventually able to return to my old job I am never leaving again and certainly never responding to another recruiter again.

  4. Another lie: promising things then denying they did.
    I’m in education. I was interviewing for a job in general ed but was told if I would teach in special ed for 1 year then I could teach in general ed the next year. It was a lie. In fact, the other new teacher at my school was told the same lie. I found out during bidding time that nobody could bid out the first three years. When I called HR about my “agreement” they denied telling me that. It was their way of getting special ed teachers. I went to a different district the next year where I taught in general ed.

  5. I had a case of “We went different direction”, but I’m not sure if that was a honest lie or not: I was posting for a place of IT specialist for local Disney office, and they said they had two options: someone inexperienced and cheap, who will do everything as told by their specialist (aka My Boss) or to find someone experienced and expensive, who can conflict with the local guy. They told me they really liked me, but went the other way.
    And frankly, that sounds WAY better than “you weren’t good enough”. Now I can tell on interviews “And you know, they really liked me at Disney” – anyway, most HR people (as in, I guess, most people in the world) get crazy when you mention that you were in Disney office- it’s kinda like “Yeah, I got letter from Hogwarts but the sorting hat kinda didn’t like me”. You get that aura of a little magic dust on your hair)
    And yeah, their office was one of the loveliest places I’ve seen, I’d love working there day after day 😀

  6. All this shit is bogus. You guys make it for people with NO degree fucking harder to get a job even at burger joint. YOU quit hating and hire the VERY lower class who really need the jobs. Sometime it amazes me how “our” society complains about people being on public assistance but yet make it friggin’ hard for us to get a simple job. Period.

  7. Perhaps the biggest lies that recruiters tell are those they tell themselves. It seems that some of them wrongfully believe they’re human beings, not a complete parasite lower than a used car salesman.

  8. I started a job this year. On January 6th to be exact. The reason I took the job is because the recruitment agency convinced me it was better than the job I was already in. Better pay, better support, small staff turnover…due to it being such a great company. The recruitment agency actually slagged off my previous employer and told me how great this new one would be. THEY LIED!! I am miserable and stressed in this new job. 3 people from my team left in the first month…all telling me it was crap working for the company. Now 4 months in and really angry I listened to those lying recruitment people…I really want to sue them! I feel that bad about their despicable lies. My previous company was a thousand times better than the s….y company I am with now.

  9. I just went to speak with one this past Tuesday and was told “we are doing a big hiring looking for over 50 people. We just sent about 30 people there yesterday.” Really? You just placed an ad up yesterday afternoon at 2pm and sent over 30 people to the location. They had to come in like myself and register with the agency and wait to speak to a recruiter. So how would that be possible so late in the day?
    Anyway, got the usual update your resume to gear it to the employer, email me, I’ll call you….no response gotten. The very next day I sent my resume directly to the employer instead of dealing with this bogus staffing agency.
    Also, I am noticing as of recent many entry to mid-level jobs are being posted by recruiters which can be applied to directly by job-seekers. I say cut out the middle man by all means and keep your dignity instead of being fed bulls#@&!

  10. This is not a lie, but recruiters will try to ask the candidate “What salary are you looking for”. By getting the candidate to provide a $ amount first, the recruiter can lock them into a lower salary and keep the rest of the fee for themselves.

  11. Why do candidates believe that because a recruiter states they have a position that “you will be a great fit for” that this means you will indeed land that job?
    It is not the recruiters decision to hire you.
    I have found being HONEST with your recruiter, as well as presenting your resume to reflect your skills,skill level, and education will aide the jobseeker and recruiter in finding what it is that they are both looking for. Recruiter and jobseeker are a team. If at any time either party feels as though the relationship is not working, END IT. Please everyone..tell the truth! Lies will be revealed eventually, this I have know since the second grade. Lies waste the time of jobseeker recruiter, and client.

  12. Bait & Switch is missing. Several times i have encountered recruiters trying to fill customer service call center roles. They come in and talk about role X. When you get in, they do not have any openings for it but we have role Y available.

    The contigent recruiters that like to spray and pray a candidate’s resume. They were submitting the resume for job “A” and on unilaterally decided to submit it for jobs A through D.

    Then if you’re a hiring manager, you will receive a whole different set of lies/ definitions. e.g Active = At least one activity completed in the past week on the req. Multiple/Many = more than nothing.

  13. Out of all those comments “She’s a social worker…..don’t bother.” made me LOL. How about the lie of “I really fought for you but I was overruled”

    • Greg –

      That’s a good one! Here’s a tip candidates – the recruiter is fighting for the one that got hired because that gets the req off their desk, so they can move and fill something else!


    • Mitch –

      That’s funny! How many times have we heard that one! The best candidates don’t need to lie, but I’ve had some bad ones I wished would have lied! 😉


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