Recruiter Secret

10 Things Recruiters Won’t Tell You (But I Will!)


Recruiters have one job: Find the right person for the position.

Their performance is evaluated on how efficiently and effectively they match top talent to job requirements.

Ironically, in the current economy, recruiters are finding their jobs harder than ever.

I’m serious.

There’s too much talent for them to weed through. What used to be “finding a needle in a haystack” has now become “finding a needle in ten haystacks.”

As a result, recruiters have to determine a candidate’s marketability much quicker.

Translation: Candidates must pay even more attention to the power of the first impression factor.

People skills, attire, etc. all become more important when competition amongst talent is this fierce.

Reality check: Those who are failing to make a good first impression get put in the “no” pile and are never contacted again.

So, if you aren’t getting called back by a recruiter after either an in-person meeting or talking by phone, there’s a good chance that, in addition to the fact you didn’t have the right skills, you also might have displayed one or more traits on the “I can’t market them” list.

Now, most recruiters won’t tell you what you did wrong.


For one reason, they aren’t paid to give you the bad news. Second, they don’t want to burn a bridge. And third, as I mentioned, they just don’t have the time.

And yet, how are you going to fix the problem if you don’t know it exists?

I’ve put together the most common reasons why a recruiter writes a candidate off. You may not like what you read, but the good news is with a little attention and practice, all of them can be improved upon. So, ask yourself, “Am I guilty of the following?”

Top 10 Things Recruiters Won’t Tell You

  1. Your interview attire is outdated/messy/too tight/too revealing/too flashy.
  2. Your physical appearance is disheveled/outdated/sloppy/smelly/overpowering (i.e. too much perfume).
  3. Your eye contact is weak/shifty/intense.
  4. Your handshake is limp/too forceful/clammy.
  5. You say ah/um/like too much.
  6. You talk too much/use poor grammar/say inappropriate things (i.e. swearing) when you answer interview questions.
  7. You appear overconfident/pushy/self-centered/insecure/aloof/ditzy/scatter-brained/desperate.
  8. You talk too fast/too slow/too loud/too soft.
  9. You giggle/fidget/act awkward/have facial tics/lack expression.
  10. You lack sincerity/self-confidence/clarity/conviction.

So, How Do You Fix These?

Well, given 93% of communication is non-verbal, I can tell you that many of the negatives above can be improved by focusing on one thing: attitude.

If you are angry, fearful, or confused, it’s going to show. You must find a way to feel good about yourself and your ability to contribute. This comes from knowing your strengths and embracing them. It also comes from doing your homework on a company so you can articulate clearly and with enthusiasm why you would be a great fit for the job. I realize this is easier said than done, but it can be done.

Your Next Step

School teaches you everything except how to get the job. You must invest time in learning the right way to job search.

I just finished four new training videos for you – they’re all about executing an easier job search in this economy.

My videos are completely free and I’m confident you’re going to find them useful. The link to access the first one is below.


Watch Video Now ►


I hope I’ve convinced you to take a hard look at the 10 reasons above and to commit to finding a way to improve your first impression factor.

It’s your career.

Own your actions and take control of your professional development.

I promise, recruiters will take notice.

Your Turn

Feel free to share any reasons I missed below. Better still, if you’ve got a resource you’ve used that has helped you get over one or more of these first impression-busters, please share it below so fellow readers can use it as well.

Enjoy this article? You’ve got time for another! Check out these related articles:

CAREEREALISM Guidebook J.T. O'DonnellCAREEREALISM’s Founder, J.T. O’Donnell is a nationally syndicated career expert and workplace consultant who helps American workers of all ages find greater professional satisfaction. Her book, CAREEREALISM: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career, outlines her highly successful career-coaching methodology. Purchase her e-book of CAREEREALISM for only $9.95 by clicking here!


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

J.T. O'Donnell

Job Search & Career Expert. Syndicated Speaker & Author. Wife. Mother. CEO of CAREEREALISM Media. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. I had a terrible experience with a recruiter who lied to me, asked me to do so much work on a resume and take a design test. She claimed she was working with some big NYC brands. Her name is Andrea (Delisi) Dominguez and working for ADD Talent Resources. If she tries to contact you on linkedin. Stay away. She is a con artist just phishing for people’s resumes. Do not trust!

  2. Whever wrote this article clearlty suffers from paranoia. You have my sympathy. It must be terrible having all those silly worries going around in your head.

  3. What you said was very reasonable. But, think about this, suppose you composed a catchier title?
    I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how to run your website,
    however suppose you added a title that grabbed a person’s
    attention? I mean 10 Things Recruiters Won’t Tell You | CAREEREALISM is a little boring.
    You ought to glance at Yahoo’s front page and see how they
    create post headlines to grab viewers interested. You might add a
    related video or a related picture or two to get readers interested
    about what you’ve got to say. In my opinion, it might make your posts a little bit more interesting.

  4. I know this is an old article, but I have to say what i found most interesting is that the majority of the people that I work with (those in management positions) already exude these ‘annoyances’ that deem a person ‘unworthy’ for a position in a company. I have even been interviewed by people who demonstrate these traits during the interview process. I find this article not only ironic but hypocritical. I think interview processes are anxiety filled to begin with and a list like this can push a person over the edge when there is no reason for them to go there. People are human and some seem more awkward than others, some do have ticks (that they cannot help – which can teeter on discrimination). I say to hell with anyone that judgmental. You don’t need to work for a company that thinks you’re expendable from the get go just because you don’t perform outwardly like some edited television commercial. When you’re hiring a super model, a robot, mannequin or just picking out a vase, this scrutiny is fine. When it comes to human beings, remember you are too one and you probably don’t always look, act or smell pleasant to others around you either.

  5. I have so many people ask me why they didn’t get a call back from an employment agency or a recruiter, and I feel this article answers that question plain and simple.

  6. certainly like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling
    on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems
    and I to find it very bothersome to inform the reality however I’ll certainly come back again.

  7. I read the article and then I read a good portion of comments.
    I found both fairly depressing and not worth my time but as with any sad story on the news, you keep watching (or in this case, reading). This site seems to be geared toward helping people advance and grow in their chosen path and I found neither the article or the audience to be very helpful or positive about anyone’s chances of doing this.

  8. Great points! While I’ve only been following your blog for a short time, I appreciate the unvarnished quality of the truths you speak – and it validates my own approach. THANKS!

  9. One of the very best ways to determine how you perform in an interview situation. Have a professional friend interview you and video tape the whole thing. Watch it several times as we don’t often “see” our nervous habits until we are open to understanding that everyone has them (pen tapping, hair twirling, saying like, etc.). Use the video as a tool to help you improve how you present yourself in an interview situation. They can be terrifying to do, tough to watch, but absolutely worth the self imposed anguish you put yourself though!

  10. This is the worst and most misleading information, as usual, i have ever seen. Whoever gets this information and takes it to heart needs a head check. There are laws and regulations that govern EVERYTHING to include recruiting. GOOGLE IT. If you haven’t done your research, it’s your own fault. The recruiter, no matter what branch, has one job. That is to find the most qulaified applicants and tell them how the military, in my case ARMY, can enhance their career skills and provide them with options they wouldn’t otherwise have. Telling someone they don’t make good eye contact or they stink ISN’T OUR JOB. That is more along the lines of something you would heaer when getting ready for a soldier of the month or promotion board.

    Regulations can be found anywhere like i said, ie:

    A simple web search will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about the ins’, outs’, and qulifications before you even talk to someone. No one is told to sell enlisted over officer. In fact, It’s rather encouraged to enlist officers/OCS canidates into the Army. Your station is rated more for the OCS canidate enlistment than a regular enlisted soldier contract.

    Any recruiter who “writes off” a canidate is WRONG. As stated above, we do not want to burn dridges. Even if a prospect isn’t currently able to join, they might be with a waiver or some paperwork. On the off chance they are permanantly disqualified, they are still able to provide lead sources. They are not a waste of time. They came in and showed you a desidre to help so you can give them small taskings to do just that.



    • Sir, thank you for your input, but the article is about civilian business recruiting for civilian employers. It’s not a critique of military enlistment recruiting.

  11. There’s a lot of competition these days for a halfway-decent paying job. Employers can afford to be fussy. Comma, at the same time, while there might not be ‘right to work’ in some states, the basic issue remains that if you keep shutting people out of the working world for whatever superficial reason sounded good at the time, well, you then also end up with people who start having serious problems. Employment problems imply money problems, imply poverty, imply apathy, and at some point, if they remain out of work long enough, you’re going to end up supporting them anyway through corporate tax increases to help support a social system that’s only going to grow in size, scale, and scope. People need work. They came to you, looking for a job. And, while it’s true that prospective employers are not required to tell candidates why they weren’t hired, is there any harm in giving someone who’s come to your door in good faith some pointers, or the unvarnished truth? We’re not all perfect people, and most people ‘get’ that, but most of us are open to constructive criticism and the opportunity to try and improve. HR is probably a trying profession, sometimes, but if you see that someone is genuinely trying and they don’t misrepresent themselves, what’s the harm in taking them on in a provisional status for 90 days, as a show of good faith on your part?

    • Why? Because corporations run this country, and they only value one thing: profit. People are just “human resources” to a corporation, a means to an end, nothing more. One day, we’ll all be replaced by robots and AIs.

      By the way, you didn’t mention the likely outcome that is the long-term unemployed eventually turning to crime to get by (and/or to get revenge on society). There is only one way to fix America today, and it requires going to “war” (whether figuratively or literally) with corporations, big banks, and our current plutocratic government.. Why? Because the only fair and workable economic option going forward is distributism, and the 1%ers of our monopolistic crony-capitalism will fight that tooth and nail… and they *own* our government.

    • Here in Singapore I’ve had two food and beverage companies turn me down recently (Chili’s and Domino’s) They see that I haven’t worked in the F&B industry in 5 years and told me it would be too difficult to fit me in. ? Crazy. We’re talking about serving food and delivering good qualify customer services. Not too difficult. Certainly not rocket science. Employers are way too picky.

      I’d love if other employers would tell me why I am not being interviewed or chosen for the position I qualified for, applied for and did not get.

  12. I recall having a very similar discussion with some recruiters last year. They identified that part of the problem of not dressing well in an interview is that it is very difficult to see if the interviewee would be a ‘good fit’ for the culture of an organisation. For example if the employing form were a very traditionally corporate dressed organisation, and a person has arrived in their gym gear (which has happened), the recruiter has no idea if that person would fit with the rest of the team in that particular office, they can’t even envisage the interviewee in that office space because of how underdressed they are. I believe job seekers should always seek help from an Image Professional before heading out and looking for work. They can help work on their image, their communication skills both verbally and non-verbally. Toastmasters is another great avenue for the speaking and answering impromptu question side of interviews.

    • I wonder what Image Professionals cost, and whether there are statistics showing that, for confused/angry/frightened unemployed poor people, they are a good use of money.

    • Might it just help to visit the organisation before interview and look at what relevant personnel are wearing rather than creating a new industry to work out what to wear

  13. I agree that first impressions are important, but If you let your first impressions decide for you, you are going to lose a lot of qualified candidates that might just be nervous. Like Lou Adler teach: Learn to always wait 30 minutes before making any decisions regarding the candidate. If you are a good recruiter you ought to be able to make the candidate relax and be more true to him/her self after some time being interviewed.

  14. Thanks so much for the insightful article! Often to job-seekers recruiters can seem like the Wizard behind the curtain, so this was extremely helpful and reassuring :) I agree with everything you mentioned and have worked hard to develop the best first impression possible! Quick question for further insight on #7 appearing overconfident/desperate etc. I am trying to land a gig at my dream company – a mid-level job in the fashion industry. I know they get hundreds of apps per posting. Words of advice on how to professionally convey how much I want to work for THEM in particular without coming across as “desperate” to join their leagues? And also, advice on how to set myself apart from dozens of other applicants who I’m sure have similar “on-paper” qualifications without appearing pushy/overconfident? Thanks so much!

    • For BW –
      Agree with all in the post. In addition…
      Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge topped off by lots of intelligent thinking and pushing beyond the limits of what others are prepared to do to work at that company:
      What do you know about them, their culture, their market, their competition, their customers?… display that through tailoring your CV / interview content to be relevant and valuable to them. THINK about the key issues they are facing and ways you could address that, what skills can you bring that they need? – if you don’t have them, get them! At interview, WOW them with incredible questions that really show you have thought about not only the company, but the role, so that they can start to see you in that job. Take your ideas, well presented, well thought out with incredible attention to detail and relevance (not too long…) along with you and leave them with the interviewer the end of the meeting. This reinforces their ability to see you in the role, shows you are the type of person to go the extra mile, and is more than other candidates may do.
      In addition, and this really is key, LISTEN! Your ability to listen to, absorb, and ask sensible questions at interview is almost more important that preparing what you want to say. It shows active interest, and will make the interview flow much more as a 2 way conversation, so the interviewer will enjoy it a lot more and find you engaging…
      GO FOR IT!

    • Hi GF. Rather than focusing on how much you want to work there, try focusing on why you would fit so well there – how well you know the company, goals, etc.

  15. Suggestion for new title: 10 things recruiters judge you on instead of your ability to do the job and how they then complain about their jobs being hard

    • For BW and anyone who is beating recruiters up. This post was supposed to be for YOUR good, not mine. I am a recruiter. I place people in rolls that MY CLIENT wants/needs to fill. I take my job very personally and I enjoy what I do. What I want you candidates to understand is that RECRUITERS FIND PEOPLE TO FIT THE CLIENTS NEEDS. It is not what I want, it is what my CLIENT wants. I have submitted hundreds of great candidates who were summarily dismissed by the client and the only feedback I got was that “they were not a fit” How am I, a recruiter, supposed to tell you, the candidate specifics on that? I am not only a recruiter, I am a consultant in fashion, looks, attitude, personality, and skill. what i am not is a mind reader.

      I give deep, honest, candid, sometimes brutally honest feedback about my candidates (and sometimes my clients), the resume, the personality, and the LOOK. both pre and post submittal.

      If you are a developer let’s say, and have had 5 interviews and not gotten a job, then YOU need to do some self evaluation because the “Product”, YOU are presenting, may not be what you think it is. you may not be all that and a bag of chips! Stop blaming everyone else and start marketing yourself to get a job.

      I know, I know, there are many slimy recruiters out there who will tell you they have the perfect job for you and then leave you hanging. Here are some facts you need to know.
      1) If a recruiter tells you they have a great position for you but will not tell you who the client is – HE IS LYING or you do not have hid/her trust.
      2) If a recruiter does not have some sort of description for the position, HE IS FISHING and wants you for his/her pipeline.
      3) if the position seems too good to be true, it is.

      Hope this helps all of you who are looking. and I must say, I have a number of openings in IT and engineering I need to fill!!

      • David Morris,

        I know you are taking the negative comments about recruiters as a reflection on yourself because you are a recruiter. I would guess a lot of the negative comments about recruiters are because people have run into one or more of the many slimy ones; I know I have run into them. You, however, seem to be one of the conscientious ones and I’m glad of that. I see that clicking on your name takes one’s browser to Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting; I’ll be contacting you about those engineering jobs you mentioned.

      • When I made the initial reply, I didn’t know it would turn out like this with others having the same experience as me! So, why shouldn’t people know what recruiters are like? Recruiters build people up (who may have been out of work for a while), to only to never hear from them again, making them more depressed …. and you wonder why people hate recruiters!

        Also, why blame the candidate? Isn’t it YOUR job, which you are getting paid very well for, to go through CV’s and only forward those to the hiring manager who are most suitable? Or do you have a ‘scatter gun’ approach?

        The biggest gripe is the lack of communication. So, do you David (and be honest) reply to each applicant who has been unsuccessful in that particular role to let them know? Even if I got a ‘thank you but no thank you’ email, yes, it’s rather depressing but I would rather know than keep wondering.

        I’ve had yet ANOTHER experience of this last week. Initial phone call, then follow up email saying they are interviewing Wed / Thurs this week so I wrote my CV accordingly (3 hours work) and replied with supporting statements for each ‘skill’ they wanted …. and guess what…. nothing…. no phone call or emails…. nothing, and you wonder why people hate recruiters!

        Don’t take it personal David, it’s not aimed at you, but the industry you are in.

  16. I have been like most all of in IT for over 10 to 15 years and the market was much better this today, I wanted to make a transition into another company to be able to grow but that slapped me in the face like with a brick, my main problem is out of state and off shore recruiters who have no idea were I live and they keep sending emails for jobs from other states and I tell them I live in Colorado not Texas, Arizona, California or any were else and I will up and move to another state for a temp job, I have such a big hatred right now for recruiters and HR departments, HR departments are cowards because they will stand up for there employees and they are always scared to even talk to people they work with because they are afraid of being sued or something for just saying HELLO to them which is so sad that these people are hired to be cowards in a company, and that open door crap can go to hell on that because it will back fire on everyone, I have removed all my job search accounts and will stop looking again in a couple of months or around the first of summer so I can go to a community college and take classes outside of the IT thing and see what I get but being in the IT industry is making my life hell and miserable because of all these stupid changes that are going on and nobody knows why it being done like this, I only suspect to make our lives for something they don’t know anything about, and to all remember “WE DON’T BRING ANY PROFIT INTO A COMPANY”.
    So the best to you all and get those certification for your own satisfaction not the company which will make you feel better that you made at least that accomplishment in this mess.

    • Hmm, I’ve been thinking of moving to Colorado- I’ll have to take what you’ve said into account though… Just out of interest though, I see you mentioned IT- do you think there isn’t much of a demand for that in CO at the moment?

  17. Never sign up to jobsites which take a monthly fee – I almost made that mistake – there’s plenty of free resources out there!

  18. I’ll share how after being unemployed or underemployed for most of 6 years I fixed my situation. I started a consulting company with my oldest daughter, an officially recognized “minority” (she’s considered black in this country thanks to her mom being from Somalia) in addition to being female as official majority owner. It makes no difference the woman knows zero about Engineering, I have all kinds of high paying work coming in now that I’m not trying to land it as a 50+ white male. If you want a job, don’t be an old white guy, it’s that simple. I know dozens who have advanced degrees, a record of success, hold patents, are technically at the top of their field and have not been out of work for the last 25 years but no corporation will have them. Go into business, your gray hairs will help you as a technical consultant, and make sure your consulting company is owned by a minority female you can trust.

  19. If I took on all the advice I read on these so called “how to get a job” sites, all I would end up with is my name on a blank piece of paper, and not going on any interviews in case you do something wrong / listed above!

    The truth of the matter is, 99% of jobs have already gone to someone within the company, and they just “go through the motions” to show, in law, that the selection was “fair”.

    All the recruitment agencies I’ve dealt with have been a pain in the rear end, they call you up, you spend 20 minutes on the phone, only to never hear from them again. For any recruitment agencies reading this, get with the program, and reply to the candidates – this is 2014, not 1980 and if you can’t setup a simple mail-merge email to let people know they haven’t been successful, then maybe you should go on a basic IT course or become a cleaner!!

    • Hi Stan,

      I AM a recruiter and I AM very good at what I do. Here are the challenges from what I see in your response:
      You may have been out of work for a while. You may be frustrated in that search and it seems it is going nowhere. You may have worked with some bad recruiters, (or recruiters who do not have an opportunity for you) and this makes you upset and understandably so.
      First off, realize that most recruiters work on commission, many of them work on straight commission so they are looking to fill the positions they have open quickly. If they do not have an immediate need for your skills, they will put you in a holding pattern.
      In this day and age, the way you get a job is from YOUR contacts. Your assertion that most of the positions are filled internally is absolutely false. If the person working is doing a good job in his or her current position, management will be very hesitant to move them into a new one.
      In this day and age, the person who will get you a job is SOMEONE YOU KNOW. Yes, referrals. Many people I work with do not have nearly enough contacts from social or business websites as they need. I can bet you are sending resume after resume to the morass we call the corporate website and you know what? THEY ARE NOT EVEN SEEN.
      Here is how you get a job:
      1. You find the position that FITS YOUR SKILLS
      2. You find information on the company, size, management, products ect.
      3. You look on a linkedin, Facebook, or some other social site and FINE THE PEOPLE WHO DO THE HIRING
      4. And you get to know THEM. AND you reach out to them.
      5. You ask everyone you do know if they know someone in the company, ever heard of the Three Degree rule? Well it is true.
      6. You NEVER send a resume blindly to a website, setting yourself up for failure

      Good luck and I hope you do get something soon

      • So, two things:
        One, since that’s what it takes to get a job (and yes, I know it is exactly true), then why do recruiters even exist!? (Of course, I’m talking about external recruiters here – internal HR people do some some purpose.)
        And two, we could apply some of your steps to your profession:

        1. Only contact potential employees who match the job description and not call me for positions that I am clearly not qualified for. (If my profile/résumé doesn’t list XYZ software, then don’t contact me for an XYZ programmer job!)

        3.Contact the company and ask to represent them BEFORE they post the job themselves and you just regurgitate it in the hope of poaching all the good candidates before those candidates find the position themselves. (How many times do we see multiple recruiters all claiming to be looking on behalf of “their” client for the exact same job!?)

        4. And you get to know the candidates you represent and reach out to them with the progress and final results, good or bad.

        Just these three things would go a long way to becoming credible and gaining our trust.

        • Recruiters exist because employers don’t feel they have the ability to find the right employee OR employers are just too lazy.
          I’ve never found a position through a recruiter. I’ve interviewed through a recruiter twice. I think the first interview was simply a ploy for the recruiter to fill his trove of resumes. This was simply a screening interview with the recruiter. I walked out of it with the recruiter telling me my chances were great. Several weeks later after a few follow up calls with the recruiter to query on the status of the position, he was still saying the same thing.
          The second interview was, strangely enough, for the same company and was more than a year later. However, when I asked the employer about the first recruiter, he said he’d never used them. Hmm. The employers actions during the interview told me a lot about his management style, he dissesd IEEE, complained about recruiters, and other little tidbits. Coming out of the interview, I could see that he was too lazy to screen applicants himself and was simply pawning off the task on the recruiter. In any case, he certainly wasn’t someone I wanted to work for.

        • WOW! – I am saddened by reading this string.
          I have been a recruiter in a niche market for 20 years now, and I pride myself in trying very hard (and normally succeeding) to add value to my candidates by giving them as much tailored and specific advice as possible, and to my clients by knowing my candidates well enough to recommend them for the right positions; culturally as well as from a skills perspective.
          I know we all need to pay the bills and recruitment is my way of doing this, but the real satisfaction for me comes from running a small specialist consultancy which has a positive and long lasting impact on peoples careers, businesses and personal growth. Isn’t that what being a consultant is all about?

          For this reason I do tend (even in this day and age) to steer away from mail merge contact, automated replies, etc and opt for the personal call, but it’s simply impossible to hold everyone’s hand all of the time so I find a more rewarding way to manage candidate relationships to encourage ownership their own job search, in which I am happy to play a key role.
          The most time consuming part of my role these days is consulting candidates making them more aware, focused and confident in their own value so they can take the knocks and spills of the job search journey. I do have enough time to make a living (not huge) out of the regular clients in my niche who always use our services, and that makes me very happy and proud. Our business grows consistently and organically via referal and reputation but we are NOT one of the big guns, so can dictate our own approach.

          For what it’s worth – we are not all the same!
          Thanks for reading

      • Stan,

        I really appreciate the honest truth you have put up. As a well qualified person, with years of perseverant learning and solid experience, I have found myself out of a job for nearly 2 years. Whilst part of it was due to my uncertainty on wanting to continue with the field of business consulting – the lack of integrity coupled with a highly insecure corporate culture – much of it has been the way recruitment and HR has changed over the last decade. Recruitment has indeed become a job of nos. even though each person in the field will claim otherwise – there are very few exceptions. Of nearly >100 submissions in 2 years for senior executive level work, I have had barely 10 calls, much of which ended up in a whimper.

        I have always wondered if it made any sense to submit resumes on open websites, even those with high monthly charges that claim to be different and unique – and did so only to ensure I am leaving no stone unturned. But in the end, reading your post, I do feel I was right all along and its been nothing but a waste of time and money.


        • Hello Freddy,

          I’m glad my post helped you – maybe I should start one of these sites up! lol – However, I must of touched a nerve along the way because one of my posts has been removed…. hmmmm.

          What gets me, is you get no replies from the numerous applications i make (not sure if it’s just a UK thing). Despite what others say on here, most jobs DO go internally – I’ve had personal experience of it and only interview to stay within the law. But for me, it’s not only hours of wasted time in preparing CVs etc. but also money in fuel getting there and bad – for what? If they were made to pay expenses for mileage, they would think twice!

          Also, my bit of advice. Don’t keep sending off copies of your Drivers Licence etc. because that’s a lot of personal information floating about the internet and HR departments – you don’t know who has access to this information. I now refuse until I’m offered a position, even if it’s only provisionally.

      • POINT 3

        Typo Find not Fine

        Good article

        I am an outsource professional .When I take on assignments I am expected to deal with a wide range of people-many of them are good and some of them need re energising,re training and some re-assigning -whoever they are ,they all need to be treated with respect.
        Cutting people out is easy,engaging those left requires time, effort and application.

        Job seekers need to consider :

        What it is that they do that adds value -then consider how they can make three key points about their personal value proposition.

        What can they do to show they will deliver
        what they can do to show they will be a catalyst for adding value to a team
        Will they sustain their performance ?

        Every single person can produce either their standard work or above standard -Good people make it their mission to do above standard every day and its these people recruiters are looking for-the interested the inspired and focused -these are the people they hire.

        We are coming out of recession and we have organisations who have, through necessity, had to keep a core of personnel-many have worked many extra hours to survive the recession -we now need to see these people supported and one way is to increase and not cut the number of personnel-Done right- using flexible work contracts- more people can be employed in the next three years to ensure organisations personnel are rested .Organisations need to be sustainable and if a job seeker understands the needs of the new market conditions they will be in a stronger position to show why they should be hired.

      • @David Morris: absolutely beautiful post. You hit the nail on the stinking head.

        What candidates fail to realize is that MY CLIENT pays my bills and it’s not my job to FIND YOU A JOB, but rather FIND A CANDIDATE for my client. Many times when we get the “he/she just didn’t wow us” or “they just weren’t a fit”, we as recruiters have no idea where we missed so it’s frustrating for us as well.

        If you have good paper (i.e. good resume) then a good recruiter will try and coach you on your presentation/interview skills. It’s up to you whether you want to heed his/her advice or not.

        • Thanks for pointing that very important difference out Jason. Staffing agencies have so many job seeker-centric ads and tactics that it’s not easy to realize whom their top priority is.

    • Hi Stan, I work with a Staffing firm… currently we’re using social media as a way to connect with job seekers and employers. I post relevant articles on job tips and current business trends. Recently I started posting jobs we have open through networking groups and on our Facebook page. Check it out: We do our best to match candidates with active jobs. Message me with what you are looking for. I’ll be happy to help.

      • And THIS is EXACTLY the sort of BS that we hate recruiting firms for. I checked out your Facebook app, grabbed the first line from the first listing, and did a Google search. Within 60 seconds, I had not only 17 other recruiting firms with the exact same listing… BUT also the ORIGINAL job post from the company actually doing the hiring!

        SERIOUSLY, if I were an employer, who would I hire – a person letting a third-party recruiter do the job search for them, to whom I would have to pay a finder’s fee, and especially knowing that recruiting firms have no clue about my business, or the qualifications or technologies required to do the job that I’ve posted? Or a person who showed initiative and did the research his-or-herself?

        SERIOUSLY, if I were a job seeker, who would I go to – a recruiter who is looking for as many people to send to the employer with the hope of one of them getting the job so that they can get paid, who has no clue about the technologies listed in the job requirements and can only try to match them against what I list in my résumé, and who is certainly not acting like an agent, championing me to the potential employer and looking out for my best interests? Or the company directly with a tailored cover letter and résumé?

        Again, internal recruiters are not the target here. Nor are recruiters who ARE directly hired by an employer to act on their behalf. This is strictly aimed firms such as yours that try to insert themselves into the hiring process for profit and unfortunately, that is the majority of recruiting firms. And they’re all BS.

        • Well said Doug, could not have put it better myself! – I had a call the other day from another recruitment firm, and they asked me to write a portfolio on why I should be selected. When I saw that their email finished with “if anyone else approaches you, tell them that xyz are representing you” – I just gave one line answers, I’m just not wasting my time with recruitment agencies anymore – I’ve had enough!

          If you’re a staffing firm, why are you using Facebook and not LinkedIn, after all, this is where all the business people are supposed to hang out?

          Talking of which, I gave LinkedIn a try, but all you get is ‘connection’ requests from agencies who, again, never reply to you. I started a ‘discussion’ asking for advice, and guess what? Yep, you don’t get any answers to that either. The site is – basically – a contacts harvesting tool, and just think of it as another version of Facebook … nothing more.

          I will keep plodding on, but it gets harder and harder to stay motivated…..

          • @Stan M

            It appears that you’re pretty set in your position against search firms and our process, and I’m going to try to sway you. However I would like to point out a couple things…

            Applying directly to an ad posted by XYZ Company is pretty much the equivalent to tossing your resume into the trash. Here’s why: when a company posts an ad, thousands (yes, THOUSANDS) of people are applying to that same job all over the globe. 99% are not even remotely close to being qualified. All those resumes get dumped into an “ATS” or Applicant Tracking System. XYZ Company then hires a dozen or so recent HR grads to search the ATS using certain buzzwords or keywords, only selecting those that match up perfectly. If your resume doesn’t match, you’re out.

            Why are multiple recruiters all “claiming” to be working the same job? Do you really think enormous companies like The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Verizon, GE, Xerox, etc. only engage ONE VENDOR??? Chances are there’s dozens working that search.

            Why are search firms using Facebook instead of exclusively on LinkedIn? Well, there’s roughly 30 million people on LinkedIn and over 1 billion on Facebook. Which do you think has a chance at better exposure?

            Search consultants, i.e. recruiters, usually have a direct line of sight with the hiring manager — not HR. This is the benefit of working with a recruiter. On the other hand, there are some sketchy recruiters out there and they make the job tough for those that are good.

        • David Morris makes a great point above. I would like to add that not all recruiting firms are the same. Their are many recruiters who take pride in the candidates they represent. I would suggest going on Glassdoor and checking out a company’s profile, then decide if you would like to work with them. The companies we work with do not post the same jobs online, you would need to work with a recruiter to get the job. If you saw a job listing under the company, it was for another position that had a similar job description.

    • My thoughts exactly. Recruiters have not gotten me anywhere. Every job I’ve gotten has come from me applying directly for a company.

  20. I would add – Don’t be overweight and don’t be over 50 or 40 depending on the job. And sure as hell don’t be over 60 and overweight!

    • Proof that age discrimination is alive and well. No wonder there has been such an increase with people taking early social security at the earliest age available.

  21. In addition to the various responses listed above, there is another issue. Some people have physical problems that preclude them from being able to achieve these rather unrealistic expectations. For example, the eye contact. I have two damaged cranial nerves that affect eye function. How am I supposed to meet such a narrow expectation for eye contact when I have no control over how my eyes function They twitch, my left one turns inward and my right eye lacks outward movement. I also have Asperger Syndrome, which also affects my eye contact and ability to pick up on subtle social cues. Does this mean I would never get hired? If so, it does not say much for a recruiter.

    I also have nerve damage in both legs from a different injury altogether. I have to use a walker to get around and I will soon be getting a service dog. Do I need to worry about whether or not my walker or dog is considered outdated or otherwise unattractive? Unfortunately, this article reeks of discrimination against disabled people who are very qualified, highly intelligent and miss less work than many of their healthier counterparts. If this is how recruiters view potential job candidates, it’s no wonder President Obama says that disabled people are more discriminated against than all minorities combined. It’s probably because we just are not PRETTY enough for the workplace. How insulting!

    Thankfully, I WAS given a chance by someone and I have had a good job for over 7 years. My 8th anniversary with my employer is coming up in May. My employer is able to get around my physical flaws. And, my employer actually ACCOMMODATES my disability by allowing me to work at home and work a flexible schedule to accommodate my doctor appointments and my upcoming service dog training. Spend less time worrying about people being the perfect fashion statement and more on whether or not that person will make a difference in what is supposed to be the most important thing – the company’s bottom line. E-Rehab does. I am being challenged in the workplace. I have advanced and have had a great career. Because of this company, I was inspired enough to finally get my bachelor’s degree so I can be even more valuable to them. Personally, I think recruiters and employers should take a page or two from E-Rehab, LLC’s book instead of expecting job candidates to achieve unrealistic expectations of visual and social perfection.

  22. OK,
    I’m not sure what recruiters you have been dealing with and to be honest, if this is your impression then you have been very unlucky. I know of one company that does non of this but it is standard practice elsewhere. I think you should stop spreading lies about an industry or painting an industry with the same brush.

  23. I went for an Interview once at the V&A Waterfront In Cape Town and was mistaken for the editor of Elle magazine!! The Owner of Hugo Boss ” or as the claimed to be was there as was the marketing director who was so late for the interview thought i was her.

    So not only was I stressed out of mind, but there was this gorgeous looking woman and the head of marketing! Plus I didn’t get the job in the end, due to being “overqualified”!

  24. Just wanted to mention…that “93% of communication is nonverbal” comment…
    not true, and yet everyone repeats it with no source or basis. In fact, some of the leading academics who study communications say they’ve been misquoted too many times on this.

  25. I’m not sure who these recruiters are working with but let me tell you this–I’ve worked with gifted photographers who have zero verbal communication skills and I’ve worked with many tech employees with poor social skills. They don’t understand the art of small talk but they are great at what they do. People in different regions talk at different speeds. If you talk slowly in NY, you might be in hot water…in the South, a slower speaking pace is embraced.

    Very few employees offer the total package. People seek out fields that suit their personal character traits and skills. A person who has chosen to work with computers all day is not likely to be a social butterfly.

    Employers who are expecting their employees to have it all, are not realistic. Pick the top five traits you desire and then settle for three out of five,

  26. Perhaps what recruiter also is not telling you that he/she is bored and indifferent to your aspirations. And, in some cases (I was appalled when I got that e-mail)- lousy! This is a leading nonprofit company in the US.
    Check this out- the recruiter didn’t even bother to insert my name, position number and the name of the department- just plainly sent me this :)

    Good morning,

    Thank you very much for your interest in requisition number [insert req#], the [insert position title] in the [insert department name] with the xxx
    We identified a number of individuals with strong qualifications during our recruitment process. Your resume has been reviewed and although your qualifications are impressive, we will not be able to proceed with your candidacy for this position.

    We hope your interest in career opportunities with the xxx will continue. Please visit our website at to learn more about the xxx and other positions available in the future.
    We wish you the best of luck in your career search!


    • Ilona, I can certainly relate to your frustrations, as I received an email identical to the one you included in this post and the recruiter also forgot to fill in the appropriate sections of the template. The paragraph, “We identified a number of individuals with strong qualifications during our recruitment process. Your resume has been reviewed and although your qualifications are impressive, we will not be able to proceed with your candidacy for this position,” was almost verbatim what their template said. A renown university employee sent that email to me, so go figure.

    • “Perhaps what recruiter also is not telling you that he/she is bored and indifferent to your aspirations.”

      I don’t want to come across as being rude, but companies don’t care what your aspirations are, they only care what you will bring to the table to help the organization to succeed.

      You need to let them know how you can them be more profitable.

  27. After reading this article, if I do those things, as someone mentioned, I would go mad. The best approach to getting a job is to show up well dressed, on time, a positive attitude and to be well informed about the company. Most recruiters often ask bizarre questions. They don’t even know what they are looking for. Makes the whole process look so hard when it shouldn’t. If we all follow these steps, someone will close their eyes and will give you a chance. You might not be making big bucks, but a job is a job. Most of us will be unlucky and never get these high paying jobs anyways. We shouldn’t stress about it. Let’s face it, recruiters are told by someone above them what to do and what to say. They are mere puppets. I always avoid recruiters if I have to. The key here is to go after the directors and CEOs. Networking is your best friend when it comes to jobs. Forget about recruiting agencies, I don’t know how they make their dough because they are not very good.

    • Indeed… LAZY professional practices by somebody who’s far too comfortable being indifferent to the needs of a company. How sad and well… short-sighted. Such articles are arrogant and damaging. Let’s discuss economic karma shall we?

      Before we had our economic crisis, they were hunting and competing hard against other recruiters, earning their pay by seeking a good match. It’s true the market is flooded with applicants and it’s very likely we are merely fish in their teeming barrel. Not the first time that’s happened is it?

      Truth is, this is cyclical folks. I represent an impeccable work history, valuable if not rare combined skill set and something that will soon be in demand by any company worthy of success…


  28. I did not find this article helpful. Mostly because, if I tried to work on all those things and were monitoring them in an interview process, I would drive myself completely insane. Here is a strategy that always works for me to find a good job without fail. I dress well, have a good, positive attitude and be myself. Don’t be afraid to put in as many applications and take as many interviews as you can. You will win every single time.

    As far as working with outside recruiters, I try to avoid it if I can and go directly to the company. Most of them are slow acting and lack followup skills. In the time it takes them to go back and forth, talk to the “client” and get back to me I almost always have found another job. I’m not saying they are all bad, I have found a job or two in my time this way just most of them need some serious skills development.

  29. You must be talking about corporate recruiters….not Executive Recruiters. Always, Always be as completely honest as possible. We only get paid when our candidate gets hired and shows up on day 1. If we are are going to invest our time and efforts to develop strong candidates for the current search as well as future searches we must do so with the highest quality. Just to develop 3-5 strong candidates per job takes hundreds of phone calls and hours of exploratory conversations. It is always beneficial to “Lay Eyes” on someone as well, Via Skype or meeting locally if you are working close by. This is highly valuable and extremely beneficial to interview prepping. Whether or not the candidates want to hear my opinion or not, I will deliver it as professionally, honestly and tactfully as possible. It can only benefit them if they choose to have an open mind. Remember. they too have invested the time and they wouldn’t be there unless they didn’t want to advance themselves.
    We are all here to get better.
    The truth hurts ….and the truth shall set you free!

    • As less applications you receive as better is the description of the job listed in the advertisement.. Parkinson’s law
      On this way you recruiters could limit the “hundreds calls etc.” . Advertisement for the job with few general descriptions of the job callbacks hundreds candidates.
      This is the reality.
      Recruiters have to learn how to formulate the advertisement like candidates have to learn how to write their CVs.!

      • Dimitar,
        I appreciate your insights, and you are correct. This theory will work well if you are posting the jobs you are recruiting on. However, I was only giving my perspective of an Executive recruiter. I fill a niche of targeted recruiting. From time to time my clients need me to find someone who is not going to walk through their doors and announce their candidacy for the current opening. Someone who is NOT going to apply to a position. I would never limit the numbers of calls I make. I recruit the “Passive” talent in the market place. I call those people who are not actively looking and have not responded to an ad. The clients that I represent have already posted that ad and are receiving resumes from “Applicants”. I realize that this is a little long winded and getting away from the original subject. I feel I need to clear the air based on some of the comments I have read on this post. I see a side of the story that most people who are making career moves don’t see.
        This next comment may offend a few of you out there but it is something I hear from my clients on a daily basis. It is also something for any job seeker out there to take into consideration. My clients are very busy and they claim that 90% of the responses they receive are not even close to being fits to what they are looking for. They also feel that they are seeing the best of the “Unhappy and Unemployed”. When you send your resume to a job posting it will be scanned using a Key word search program. Then they take the top 10 resumes and start there. Because they receive such a high rate of resumes that don’t fit, it creates an environment of doubt that any of the responses will be close. It can feel like you are sending your application and resume in to the black hole. I hear it everyday. Growing and forward thinking companies want to hire the best. I don’t fill every job I work on. My clients do sometimes find the needle in the haystack and get a good response and make the hire. The majority of the searches that I am engaged on are filled by me with an excited, prepared, motivated and passive candidate that was sourced and cold called by me at their desk or cell phone.

        To those who are bashing recruiters: I agree with most of what your experiences have been. Statistically speaking being a recruiter is one of the shortest term jobs out there. Usually the job comes with little or no salary and the success rate is 5%, meaning that 1 in 20 new recruiters will last beyond the first year. At my first firm it was a revolving door. I saw 13 people come and go in my first year! We knew in the first month if someone was going to make it or not. The main reasons that they failed were call reluctance and poor people skills. Call reluctance to cold call passive candidates forcing them to post their positions and hope to have someone respond. This results in zero placements and weeds them out. The recruiters that can cold call and do find passive talent often do squander those relationships through overselling and poor follow up. It really takes a special person who can do this the right way. A few of you have been describing your personal experiences this way. I agree and I get it.

        My recommendation to anti recruiter thinking: Don’t work with the recruiter unless they have over 1 year in the business (that way you know they are part of the successful 5%). If you are working with a “paper pushing” recruiter who post the majority of the jobs they are working on and that is how you got connected with them, be aware that they are probably talking with dozens of other candidates. They have also forwarded your info on to the client along with the others. This is how they do business. It’s a numbers game (Probably the same numbers game you are playing by sending your credentials to other potential employers). Unfortunately some clients prefer to work with recruiters in this way. They say “Just send me the resumes”. My advice for you is to ask the tough questions. Find out from the recruiter what the process is. Chances are that this recruiter is working on a dozen jobs this way and they are covering their bet by submitting so many candidates that a couple are bound to get hired…..paying them and leaving the others wondering why they haven’t been called back.

        I agree that it is not the way to do business and hurts the reputation of all recruiters.

        If a recruiter does decide to pick up the phone and call you about a potential new opportunity without having your resume or responding to your response… open minded to having an exploratory conversation. The reason I am calling you is because I HAVE done my homework and this is a targeted call. I already know that the chances are high that you ARE a fit. My job is NOT to talk you in to leaving your current company. My job IS to compare what you have now and where your current career path is leading you. Share my clients vision and the current search project. At the end of that conversation both parties will know whether or not it makes sense to take the next step. This is the beginning of a positive experience. There is a better way! Know the recruiter, understand their process. There are good ones out there!

        • Ben,

          In response to your comment on December 9, 2013 at 10:43 AM, how does one find a recruiter like you? For what fields do you recruit?


  30. This is a fairly useless article. It covers just about everything that some likes or dislikes. Too shy? Too forward? Too this? Too that? Let’s be honest here: what one employer perceives as a perfect candidate may not apply to another employer.

  31. The candidates I have interviewed have commented that the recruiters they have encountered are lazy and never follow up. I believe that recruiters are doing their company a disservice and miss great potential candidates for a position. I never understood why a company who wants to hire “only A-list people” leave the task of finding the best candidates to 20 somethings who have no idea or experience regarding the job opening responsibilities. That’s like using recruits to pick your commanding officers – including captains, majors and generals. It is ludicrous at best. The best way to find your “perfect” job is to bypass the useless recruiters and use/leverage the power of your own personal network to get in the door of your target company.

  32. A very very interesting and provoking subject.

    To add to the difficulty from a candidates’ point of view, in todays’ global village, many interviews are on skype/messenger. The fact is there are even more communication noise than in a face to face interview! Perhaps a subject for another article!

  33. Sohail,

    The Senior HR person said, “Please contact me so that we can discuss in further detail. Thanks again and best of luck with your career search.” He did not say, “Please reply to this email with when would be a good time.” He did include is telephone number.

    I would have called him, since calling is a more personal, active connection.

    I think making up an excuse to contact him is a poor idea, particularly in saying that you have a court date. He will wonder why you suddenly have to appear in court and will come up with all kinds of horrible scenarios as to why that might be.

    He did say he was having computer problems and Thanksgiving was on Thursday, the 28th. Perhaps he took Friday off. Relax. Don’t second-guess yourself. Just let it play out and see what happens. If he still hasn’t called you by 9 December, call him back. Your attitude should be that something happened in his life that kept him from calling you and you are concerned about him. Don’t give in to the thought that he’s just trying to make your life miserable. Relax! (I’ve been there.)


  34. Hi J.T.
    I wanted to ask you for an advice for what should I do after an invitation via email that I got on 27th November for an entry level position. The recruiter told me that they have reviewed my resume and would like to invite me for an interview, and told me to contact him to discuss it further. This is the email that the Senior Recruiter of the company sent me on Wednesday: “Good Morning Sohail, Thank you for submitting your resume and interest in our company. We have reviewed your resume and would like to invite you to interview for the R & D Engineer opportunity. Please contact me so that we can discuss in further detail. Thanks again and best of luck with your career search.” Instead of emailing him back, I called him directly at his direct number on email. I think I should not have done that and I do not know was he disturbed because he was probably expecting me to email him back and not call him. He gave me a brief intro about the company and told me that if I have any preferred time next week for an interview and send him an email and I said I am pretty much open all week and he can set up the appointment at any of his convenient timings. He then said he will let me know as his system was down and will tell me as soon as his system starts working. And he never got back to me that day nor even on Friday. Now I am very worried as I am thinking I probably did wrong by calling him because he did not call me, he emailed me. Please could you help me or at least suggest me what should I do. Should I email him something like I have a court date on Tuesday and would it be possible to schedule anytime except Tuesday…just to create some sort of communication branch..? I do not know. I could not sleep from Wednesday. Did I ruin my chance of getting an phone interview? If I get the interview I am confident I will get the job. Please help me. Sorry for the long message. I had to take my words out and thought you could tell me at least something. Do you think I lost the chance, I do not want to be in false hope and stay depressed. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME . Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Sohail, don’t bother to worry about interviews. Don’t spend your time with sleepless nights YOU HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG. YOU WERE, IN FACT, RIGHT IN CALLING THE GENTLEMAN DIRCETLY. You could/ should have followed up by email just as a reminder… but not a great deal. With 20 years of professional experience, I can tell you that when a recruiter doesn’t get back enthusiastically, take the cue from that movie about women waiting for the next date with men, ‘he is just not that into you’. I know it is much easier said than done, but by keeping on wondering what you did wrong, you will only ruin your health and your career options further. Don’t let it get you down. Keep your chin up and keep moving on.

  35. Hi J.T., I work at a recruitment agency and I did chuckle at the ten points that you mentioned. I think honesty is the best policy as afterall the better candidates are the better chance they have of landing placements. I’m not a consultant but I do know that these are relevant from speaking with them.

  36. I tell my candidates the truth… Tactfully though….
    Not much point in sheltering them from the truth if you want them to be successful….

  37. You may be surprised but critique is not always welcome.

    When I was new to Executive Search (candidates dictated the market back then hehehe) I remember one prospective candidate who badly needed this type of advice. He was in his 50’s, good looking, excellent shape, but his mousy grey suit suit was ill-fitting, old-fashioned, and made him look old, dead, embalmed and ready for his own funeral. Definitely not one of his shades of gray.

    When I suggested a bright white shirt and dark blue suit for his presentation, he was shocked. “But none of the other recruiters ever suggested anything like this!” he protested. ” Well did they send you to an interview?” I countered. “Well, no” he admitted. “They ignored me”.

    Well, there you go. But he refused and left in a huff and continued to send unsolicited resumes for about tww years.

    • I had to chuckle a bit at this one. By reaching out the way you did you definitely were the exception rather than the rule. Most of the time the interviewing and recruitment process is very clandestine. In fact they have something in common with baseball pitchers–trying to throw you their best curve ball to see if you can hit. And, just as in baseball, if you can’t hit the curve you don’t make it to first base.

    • Well considering the “10 things” manage to cover every whim of anyone with an opposable thumb and a pulse I can’t help but feel a “negative first impression” of your comment on this article. How about spending time vetting the potential employer instead of trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole? I’m so sick of these articles that constantly attack the job seeker. If you read enough of this drivel you’d start to believe you were a hopeless, uncultured, knuckle dragger suited only for cleaning out horse stables and car wash drains.

  38. In my years as a recruiter I was always honest with my candidates about their interview styles. It’s my job to prepare them and as uncomfortable as it is to tell them that their handshake is weak and that they should make more eye contact, it’s a recruiter’s job to do this. This should honestly be a given.

    There is also no shame in letting a candidate know they didn’t get a job because of their personality. Our personalities are not meant to fit EVERY job. Some jobs require a certain personality type and if my candidate doesn’t have that, it’s less of a burden on them to be someone they simply can’t be. I’m not sure why people get offended if they don’t get a job because of personality, it’s a blessing that they found this out now instead of 2 months down the road.

    • And we’d be ecstatic if all recruiters were like you! But seriously, you must be the needle in the haystack. As everyone has been saying, the “typical” recruiter is looking for numbers and has absolutely no thought or care for the talent that they are representing. A recruiter should be like an agent – looking for opportunities that DO match the talent’s personality. Or a coach, working on the person’s weaker areas (or at least pointing them out) so that the employer does get past the BS and start to look at their strengths. But “most” just insert themselves between you and the job and add absolutely no value to the process.

    • I like what you wrote because it is very close to my heart and this is what I also believe in.

      Countless times both during and after the interview I have not only guided candidates on what is right and wrong as far as the things they are required to say but guided them on how to answer questions.

      There are times, without further ado, as I believe candidates’ not my time is precious, I inform them about the outcome or give them a certain time frame, after which if they don’t receive a call, it would mean they were not shortlisted. They all appreciate it.

      I don’t believe recruiters don’t have time but rather they have all the time to indulge in office gossip; instead they should be concentrating on correcting their mistakes and having a close repo with the prospective candidates.

      Best regards


    • In reality this is just like finding the perfect pair of shoes for which to go to the dance. If they don’t fit your feet you’re not going to have a very good time. But a lot of times today staffing agencies, for example, tend not to look at things this way. If you didn’t fit in at one of their jobs, they are very reluctant to send you on another one even though the culture and everything else may be very different. At least that has been my experience.

  39. A good recruiter will give you honest feedback whether it is good or bad. If it is bad, they might never call you again because you are not marketable but they will deliver the news to you regardless so that you can continue in your job seeking efforts. And Angry Sue, I’m sorry that your experience was so bad but as a candidate you have the choice of who you work with….seems as though you chose wrong.

    • Great comment, Leigh!
      I’ve been a national exec. recruiter for 30 years. With so much mis-information out there I was inspired to write “Secrets Exposed: Land the Job of Your Dreams, now on Amazon, and created a FREE 1-HOUR MP3 on my website.
      1) Sometimes clients are not always upfront in what they say; often they will do everything they can to not pay a fee. Like some recruiters, not everyone is always truthful..
      2) It’s a mixed bag, as are people!! But one doesn’t say “all people are ______.” For the most part, the majority are honest as are most candidates/people.
      3) The book takes candidates, step by step, through how to write a resume through interviewing–from phone interviews through accepting a job including how to resign and negotiate salaries.
      4) It covers specific questions, transferable skills, behavioral questions, NLP and how to stay motivated–a biggie!
      Basically I wanted to reach as many people as possible so candidates “soar above the crowds.” It answers most questions that come up in the process and addresses a lot of mis-information.

    • “Not marketable” Ha! If there’s anything that I’ve learned through all of my leadership courses, it’s that there isn’t anyone who can’t be motivated to become the person they could be and a VALUED member of my team. So don’t tell me that someone isn’t “marketable”. As long as they have the hard skills required for the job, you can certainly invest a little time to improve on the soft skills.

      • In my experience in actually working with ‘leaders’, I don’t necessarily agree that soft skills can be taught. The best of them either have it or they don’t. Training can enhance soft skills but for some people they can take all the courses but still don’t ‘get it’.

  40. I am so glad I never have to deal with an outside recruiter in my life again.

    Who are they to determine what the company really wants?
    I can’t count the times that I drove an hour to go meet with one because THEY had to meet me then by the time I got home I had an email saying “gee sorry the company wants this or that” well you couldn’t have found that out before I wasted my time and gas money?
    Years ago I had been told no by the recruiter so I saw the job posted again on the actual companies website. I applied and got an interview AND I also got a job offer. When I told the in house hiring person what had happened a few months prior they had a fit. Turned out they had never even gotten my resume from the outside head hunter place. Why? Because the outside head hunter didn’t “approve” of the small butterfly tattoo I had on my foot. (I found out later he hated tattoos personally and would never move forward with a candidate EVER in spite of my 3 college degrees and 30 years of experience in my field)

    THEN to top it all off I got an email from the recruiter that said I owed him his commission for the job that HE found me – I told him in no uncertain terms that he didn’t find me that job, I got it on my own off the companies website. I ended up having the solid job offer in writing no less, ripped away from me because the company was being threatened with a lawsuit from the recruiter! Really?

    UGH VULTURES all of them

    When one finds my resume online from when I was looking before I started my own company I tell them where to go and what to do with themselves when they get there and hang up

    I make three times as much money running my own business now so here’s a great big one finger salute to all temp agency HACKS

    • Spot on. I have several stories almost exactly like this. Recruiters are worthless, and they throw as many people as possible at a job opening based on everything but talent and skill, because they themselves dont have any talent or skill.
      Otherwise they wouldn’t be a vulture/recruiter.

      • What an ignorant thing to say, not to mention hugely stereotypical. I recruit in my sector because I worked in it for 10 years and am hugely passionate about it, and I would like to think that after that long I have some talent/skill!! No doubt there are some recruiters out there that take this approach, however I think you could say this of any customer or people facing role!

        • Stereotypes all start with a grain of truth, and there is most definitely more than a grain in this one. Out of the many, many recruiters I have had the displeasure to be contacted by, only one had any sort of integrity to follow up with me first after the job went south. A few would discuss it once I tracked them down. The rest – never heard from again, even the ones who said that they would follow up, even the one I went straight to his office to have him tell me to my face that he would call me.
          So no, it is not ignorance speaking, it is experience! Be offended if you want, but the truth bears out that most recruiters scatter gun any and all industries for the almighty dollar, with no qualifications or experience in those industries to do justice to either the employers or the job seekers they contact, and an equally appalling lack of integrity to warrant anything but disdain to those of us honestly seeking work.

          • @Ben
            Not sure that has anything to do with the problem – layoffs happen. A company hires a bunch of people when they win a contract and lay them off just as quickly when they lose one. Or, and I’ve both seen and experienced this one, there’s a change of management, who then fires all the previous manager’s hires and then hires “their own” team (and upper management doesn’t do anything about it because they want to show that they support their subordinates…) The loss of experience is incredible.
            And there I am on the job search again, with a lovely letter of recommendation of how great I am, or slightly more useful, my previous job performance evaluations, since they tend to be more honest there. I know that I’ve encountered age discrimination – they either want someone young and “hip”, or young and cheap, or they think education replaces experience – right… Or, and it does happen, I am not the right fit, if they really do need someone with specific experience in one of the dozens of skills that they listed in the job description. But I do eventually find a job and I totally throw myself into that job, only to be spit out again, not due to my performance but just because that’s the industry – high turnover is the norm, despite our best efforts to show why we should be a valued employee.
            But over the last 20 years, I’ve had four “permanent” jobs, a lot of temporary contracts and a fairly-long self-employed stretch. Being “unemployed” usually last 2-3 months.
            Is funny you asked this today – I’m celebrating my first anniversary at my current job! I like the place, I like the people, and given that they gave me a major raise to keep me when I told them my current pay wasn’t going to work out, I feel pretty confident that I found the right place for me.
            Oh, and I got it by applying direct to the employer’s post. And can honestly say, that every job I’ve ever gotten was through word of mouth, referral by a friend, or direct application to the employer after seeing their post on their web site, on a job board or their newspaper ad (yes, back in the day!) Recruiters were only useful for honing one’s interview skills and ensuring that your résumé was up-to-date and in whatever format is currently in vogue. But way too many times have I had to sit there while the recruiter listed off the job requirements with no clue what they are actually reading. The equivalent would be me hiring a doctor and asking about his/her “experience with a (pause) mir, um, M-I-R, yeah tell me about an M-I-R and how you overcame it…”

      • Hey Scott, It sounds like you have met some bad recruiters. That is unfortunate. But like in any industry or business, there are the good and bad. It also sounds like you are carrying a big chip on your shoulder as well. How is that working out for you?

    • I love this comment. Totally accurate. These days it’s not a job that brings you security, it’s what you build yourself. Love it. And as to Leigh, good job blaming the victim. Do you feel better?

    • Definitely agree with outside recruiters being a major part of the problem in hiring. Too many times in dealing with them I get the same candidate shopped to me 5 or 6 times, often without the candidate’s knowledge. Or worse, the right candidates are DQ-ed w/o ever seeing them.

      While any number of candidates may not present well, DQ-ing them based on surface items, especially in skilled areas or work, is a major disservice to the candidate and the client. Through tools such as linkedin, it is far easier to rapidly find target candidates and identify them to internal recruiters as opposed to relying upon outside recruiters to send a “you don’t know me but I have a job for you” email.

  41. Recruiters should first look at what the candidate has achieved so far, what has been his value for businesses.
    I would prefer hiring a high performant person who has too much parfume, than hiring a perfectly dressed/perfumed person who has never realized something valuable for a business.
    I think we miss this key point here.

  42. I disagree with the notion that a recruiter ” won’t ” tell a candidate these things. Our team has been trained on how to say things like those items on your list in a respectful way and remind the candidate that they are being told this because it will only help them in obtaining a new job.

  43. I do understand the (sometimes) emotional discussion here. And I’ve to be honest, it’s an intriguing read. But there are a couple of elements that, IMHO, is a bit under-represented in this whole discussion.
    First of all: some things are rather self explanatory right? Do you take your car to a dodgy garage if something is wrong with it? No. So yes, you want a job, yes you’re interviewed, and yes, you will need to sell yourself. Just don’t oversell. And if you can’t wash yourself or have a decent discussion without swearing, or can’t write your own CV without running a spelling check, maybe you’re applying for the wrong job?
    The other is; recruiting too is a business. You think it is about helping you right? You really need a job because the money for you and your family is getting tight? Wrong again. The world certainly not a democracy. Be honest, you yourself would also not go to a physician with your medical problem “because he is having a hard time during his malpractice hearings currently”. You pick one that will give you the best/ your envisioned result.
    The recruiter is doing his/ her job, also trying to make a living. Now, I do agree that there are good and bad ones. I can even tell you that I know about instances where CVs were sent out to companies without the person that the CV was from even knowing it. And yes, if you get the question if you can also please send your CV in Word format, then you’re just fed into a big database. One of the people here had some golden advice I think: remember that recruiting is a money making business too, and treat it as such. So yes, work your network because that is most effective. If you haven’t got one you missed out. Your mistake, I’m sorry. Yes, indeed work with recruiters if needed. But judge them as they are you. Want a Word CV? Why can’t you open the PDF I sent? Ah, want to put it in your database? Sorry, not interested. Actually, you know there is legislation concerning that? So what is this job about? Hmmm, are you sure, because I have been doing this for a living the last 15 years, and what you tell me sounds rather … remarkable. Can you share how you can to that conclusion? As many have said here, jobs are not handed out, so yes, you have to do something for it. Think they will come to you? Good luck. Think they hire an incompetent person? Hmmm, would you? And yes, recruiters want to make money, and as a result also cost money. So as an hiring manager people just love to have direct contact with candidates without recruiter involvement. If you ever needed a good argument to get that job, there is one for you…
    And then for a Total Top Tip: Recognise those dodgy job descriptions you sometimes get? Just 2 pages of text in a Word document or email? Well, that could be an indication that the recruiter has seen a job positing somewhere, copied it, and now if trying to make money by convincing you to let then “introduce” and/or “represent” you.
    Here is what you should do: Take the first part of the profile text (e.g. first or first 2 sentences), enter it in Google and see what comes back. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get the original job positing by the company. Now, guess what is the best way to apply Stinky…

  44. ATTITUDE is the big one for us……… It is sometimes true there are an abundance of candidates around for some roles with similar skills, but Attitude is the A card for our clients.
    And there are not always ten haystacks of candidates around for all jobs at the moment…….. some vacancies are still very difficullt to fill.

  45. 11. My company or client wants to lowball you on salary, so if you mention your salary requirements, or salary history, you’re dead meat, if we don’t like the numbers.
    12. There is no job. We have an H1B visa holder who’s been with us almost 6 years, and either we have to let him go back to India or help him get a green card. So we write the job description to fit his resume, and his is the only resume that fits. We’ll whine to the DOL that we can’t find any Americans for the job, and please let him have his green card.
    13. The reason why the job is open is because our finances are a wreck, and many people jumped ship. Or maybe the boss is horrible, and people quit.

  46. I’m one that doesn’t interview well and I need to get to know people first before I open up and give my true self. That’s what I am and I can’t change that. But my results speak for themselves for the companies that I have worked for and produced good to excellent results.

    It’s difficult when recruiters if a 30 minute interview make a snap judgement and then consider you not right for the role when you know that it is right for you and you will be motivated to perform.

    • I’m the same Tony, it is even worse when I get to an interview , feel like I could make a huge difference and would love to grow with and contribute to the company but unfortunately my presentation / lack of outward confidence comes across. It is extremely frustrating actually.

      • JJ
        I’m a national recruiter of 30-years: Your comments are exactly one of several that inspired me to write my newly published book now on Amazon…Secrets Revealed: Land the Job of Your Dreams..(Create Your Winning Resume & Interview). There is so MUCH mis-information out there regarding the resume/interview topics it is amazing to me. It’s a real step-by-step (not hype) to help you truly shine.
        –It covers specific questions/answers; NLP. Behavioral ?; dress; how to stay motivated.
        –I also have a FREE 1-hr mp3 on my website that gives a lot of insight to this subject. AND this is why I have just started my consulting business.
        — Yes, it takes extra work to make a laser-focused resume and soar above the crowds when interviewing.
        –Most of the comments I’ve read here are incredibly wrong about interviewing and recruiters. Professional recruiters will give you feedback IF a client will give the recruiter feedback (not always the case, by the way)…and IF the candidate is open to hearing, which many are not.
        Good luck!

  47. Thanks J.T., another poignant piece that illuminates some things that can help both recruiters and job seekers. It’s really sad that some people would refer to your article as “rubbish”. I can only attribute such hateful attitude to insecurity and hope that person gets some therapy.

    • Hi Chris,

      I agree with you. In my opinion, the article gives good advice for a candidate to make a better impression during the interview process. I am curious as to why anyone would post that they think an article is rubbish. Just move on to something else. Wonder if these folks are unemployed. Lol

      • LOL Daneil,….NOT

        It’s attitudes like Heckler’s that need to be stamped out.
        His admonitions are outdated and his delivery hostile.

        With rampant unemployment, erosion of worker rights and a widening income gap there’s no room for any opinion that heaps on more self-loathing than we already carry around.

        In fact, I say stop carrying that load people. It’s the incessant needling from people like this moron that have demoralized everyone else who didn’t grow up with a trust fund. Why do we give people like this power over us? A paycheck? a piece of paper that loses its value by the hour?

        It’s the “little” people that make the world go round. Steve Jobs would have been just another broke hippy bum without Wozniak but who gets all the credit, the a-hole not the genius. Who got us to the moon? The astronauts? Try again, it was the engineers, the technicians and even the office clerks.

        Never forget who makes the world go ’round. Without the REAL talent all of these “important” people wouldn’t accomplish anything.

        Remember that, better yet, make THEM remember that. I’m not talking about unions or communism, I’m talking about basic human respect!

        —sorry about the soapbox but 2 moronic responses in one day was just too much…

  48. I am a recruiter. This article seems to be written by someone who has made up what they think are facts. A self indulgent piece, perhaps. A lazy and outdated piece, yes, that’s for certain. I understand the writer is using Recruiters to establish a relative link with the target audience but the whole article, apart from the last 3 sentences, is rubbish.

    1. “Recruiters have one job: Find the right person for the position. Their performance is evaluated on how efficiently and effectively they match top talent to job requirements.”

    Recruiters have multiple jobs to perform within their scope of work. This includes finding requisitions from clients, usually multiple clients, who all have many positions that are “urgent”. Then recruiters have to qualify positions with the client to make sure we understand the position, not only in order to find a quality candidates but to make sure the position is viable for all parties. Then recruiters have to source potential candidates through searching and posting jobs, if we do not already have a pipeline of solid candidates that we have a professional relationship with or have worked with previously. Recruiters then prepare candidates and coach candidates through several stages of on-boarding. (Interview, offer, contracts, relocation etc). Good Recruiters will stay close to contractors and keep an on-going dialogue with contractors they have placed, really know their respective industry, what is going on in the market place and act as an consultant or career adviser.
    A recruiters performance is evaluated on specific metrics (Calls, Submittals, Interviews, Placements), KPIs (Forecast Gross Profit and Leads) and deals (Amount of placements made). It is a sales role and recruiters are usually under the gun to provide top talent for many clients at the sames time.

    2. “Ironically, in the current economy, recruiters are finding their jobs harder than ever. I’m serious. There’s too much talent for them to weed through. What used to be “finding a needle in a haystack” has now become “finding a needle in ten haystacks.””

    This couldn’t be more further than the truth. There is not enough talent out there. Especially, in technology specific industries like Wireless Telecommunications. We are having to look outside of the USA for solid engineers to bring over because the US is not producing enough talented engineers. Furthermore, if there was “too much talent” then it would make a recruiters job a lot easier. These sentences make zero sense at all.

    3. “Now, most recruiters won’t tell you what you did wrong. Why? For one reason, they aren’t paid to give you the bad news.”

    Recruiters are paid to tell you didn’t get the job. Also, if there is only “one reason” why would you go on to state more than one reason below?

    4. “Second, they don’t want to burn a bridge.”
    Why would a recruiter care about “Burning a bridge” with a “Unmarketable candidate”? If you are an unmarketable candidate, why would a recruiter work with you? that would be a waste of time.
    The fact is that if the client is not interested in the candidate because of the 10 reasons stated, the client are more than likely not going to tell us that part.
    A recruiters job is to find a qualified candidate for a qualified job, introduce and prepare the candidate. It is up to the candidate to do the rest. These 10 reasons you have stated are things all human beings should be trying to improve on by themselves. Self evaluation and taking responsibility for ones life is more important then blaming a recruiter for your own downfalls.

    5. “And third, as I mentioned, they just don’t have the time. And yet, how are you going to fix the problem if you don’t know it exists? I’ve put together the most common reasons why a recruiter writes a candidate off. You may not like what you read, but the good news is with a little attention and practice, all of them can be improved upon. So, ask yourself, “Am I guilty of the following?”

    You are right, we do not have much time but a good recruiter will tell you, you didn’t get the job. Recruiters will explain the reason/s.
    We also live in America, where in your life time the average person is sued 17 times. We cannot discriminate and employment law is very strict. There is a fine line between giving a reason you were rejected and being caught up in a law suit.

    Ill be honest and too the point, those 10 reasons are BS. I don’t believe a HM would reject a candidate based on one or two of those “reasons” alone. It would have to be all of them with a factor of needed experience.
    I have never “written off a candidate” for any of the reasons you have stated. A recruiter, more often then not, will only speak to candidates over the phone due to geographical placement. I only meet potential candidates if they are in the same city or can video conference. Interviews for contract jobs are more often then not completed over the phone nowadays, especially in technology specific contractual roles.
    The fact is, recruiters are working with clients that need candidates that can do the job with little to no training. They need people to hit the ground running and add value right off the mark. In wireless telecoms they need people with very specific experience that is difficult to find and the client is not willing to train, let alone wait.

    My suggestion to job seekers who are having problems getting a job, would be to re-evaluate your professional self. (Resume, Interview skills, attitude, experience and training) . Get some help doing it if you are not confident doing it yourself. from good recruiters, job coaches, resume companies, friends but take control of your job hunt.

    YOU are responsible for all of the 10 reasons above and can take control of the opportunities given to you by evaluating your self.

    • Richard, you are an agency recruiter. Not a corporate recruiter. Having been a corporate recruiter for many decades, I can tell you that this article is indeed accurate. Corporate recruiters are held to a “time to fill” metric. The faster they fill the position, the better their performance is measured. When in a big company, you do have hundreds of qualified candidates to get through. In an agency, you have to go out and find the candidate, so you don’t have the same problem. So, if I look in my ATS at a posted job, and I have three hundred candidates (not unusual), and many are qualified, first impressions will make a difference. If your resume gets pulled up (we use search functions to weed through those resumes), but it is poorly written or has a lot of typos, it gets rejected. Why, because we work with managers that will have our heads if we send them resumes that look like that. Let’s say you get to the interview phase. Remember, I might have several dozen candidates, your first impression will detrmine if you go further. All of the things mentioned will be a deal killer for me. Poor grammar, cursing, poorly dressed, etc. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Learn interviewing skills, learn to shake hands, learn to make eye contact. By th way, poor grammar does not apply to those who do not have English as a their native language.

      Corporate recruiting is world apart from agency recruiting. Corporate recruiters do not market to get their reqs. The reqs just show up in the ATS. And then you have to get it filled quickly, cost effectively, and with the best candidate. You have to manage the process and the hiring managers to make that happen. It’s not harder than what an agency recruiter does it’s just different. Way different.

    • Some of these articles are just not adressing the real cause of issues and looking to “Blame”. The facts are that there are far too few jobs for far too many people. It isn’t the recruiters, in many cases it isn’t the applicants, and then you have so many articles telling you how to behave and market yourself.
      Here is how I see it:
      1) For every job there is approximately 300 applicants depending on the location. This is not a proven statistic, this is just what I have heard from many people hiring.
      2) It is a buyers market for employers, therefore they can get what they say they want for the lowest amount of dollars.
      3) It is expensive to hire a person and bring them up to speed in any position. While there are millions of desperate people out here that are willing to take any job, you don’t want to fill a square hole with a round peg.
      4) The job market is so glutted with applicants that potential employers are narrowing their criteria, stated or unstated, to such a small pool – 1) Non smoker, 2) Between 30 and 40, 3) Currently employed, 4) 15 years of experience, 5) Educated but not too educated 6) Passionate but not too passionate, 7) Verbally dexterous, but not too outspoke or too quiet, 8) A good BSr but not transperent about it, 9) A firm hand shake but not too firm and never limp, 10) Good communication skills, but not overt, 11) If you are in looking at government, county, or defense industries minority/female is a plus.
      Recruiter are in the same boat as all of us who are unemployed. They are trying to make a living matching people to such narrow job criteria. The fix for this is a better economy, or know some one that can help you get into a position. I am not a recruiter, but used to hire people. When the economy is good and healthy, jobs are filed with normal everyday people who bring a broad range of diversity, knowledge, skill and personality to a company. When the economy is poor there is such a limitted amount of diversity in people hired that, in and of itself, does not enrich companies but limits them. I used to say, when I was in management, that it is our diversity that makes us strong. From what I can tell is not the norm. There is nothing I want more than to be back in the electronics manufacturing industry, but I will not blame a person for me not being hired, I will not crawl away and give up, I will not loose myself or kill the best part of me in order to be some one I am not or to try and fit a criteria that is unrealistic. I will fight the good fight, perservere and keep my self value in the face of adversity.

    • “We are having to look outside of the USA for solid engineers to bring over because the US is not producing enough talented engineers.”

      There are, but companies don’t want to pay them what they’re worth, so they make excuses and cheap out and get a H1B Visa holder from India who doesn’t speak English very well, and train him or her.

      Of course, actually training the American engineer to do work on your specific product….out of the question! We can’t allow fairness in the job search.

  49. It’s a shame we can’t please everyone.
    Those who are second-best choices often don’t get interviewed even though they could have been ‘best’ choices based on personality and flow. Given time they would reach ‘technical’ competency to become first choices but that is not how the system runs.

    My anecdote is about ‘facial tics’ and I am guessing that only other search firms will find this amusing.
    As a beginner in the executive search business I was meeting with an executive who seemed to be winking at me during his conversation. I thought it odd until I ‘realized’ he was using winks to emphasize points to his conversation.
    “Hmmm, what to do”, I wondered. Then I remembered: according to something I had read in training, we are supposed to make the other person feel we are on the same wave length as that person so I determined I ought to be winking, also.
    So I did. He’d wink and then I’d wink. He’d wink and then I’d wink.
    After a few minutes I felt there was a whole lot of winking going on and I decided to look harder and see if I was on the right track with all this winking.
    And then I saw it- he had a facial tic -as you described above- and he was not winking at all.
    Well, I stopped my winking and that was that; I did not hold it against him and in fact he was and still is a highly regarded professional in his industry.
    But ever since, I’ve been on the look-out for those winkers, LOL, as they say.

    Executive Search since 1980

  50. I would add some more “things” you can be “guilty off”:
    11. You breath too much air.
    12. You walk in zigzags/ or you don’t walk in zigzags / or walk too loud/ or walk too quiet.
    13. You can’t fly/or fly too low/ or fly too high.
    14. You are too slim/ too fat/ too normal/ or too whatever.
    15. You dared to apply for a position.
    16. You exist. :-) :-) :-)

  51. Wow, I thought being a lawyer was one of the most hated professions :). As a recruiter, I agree communication skills will always be one of the mandatory skills. I as a recruiter have had to say no to good candidates based on the fact that their communication skills were not what the client would say yes to (which is unfortunate) because I truly believe when we have international candidates apply or who have just arrived in the country, they usually tend to have better technical skills than those who are local candidates and who just might have better comm skills. Technically I have seen candidates from India, Pakistan, The Gulf more technically qualified. And at my company which is a consultancy and not an agency, we do give the candidate updates if we feel they are not dressed appropriately or their cv needs tweaking.

    I understand why most of you are frustrated, it’s like me going to three different doctors and bashing each one of them for not being able to cure my flu. Just like we don’t know what it takes or what it’s like to be a doctor, it is pretty much same for seasoned recruiters. In my career I have come a long way from SAP Recruitment to being ITC focused to perm resourcing. The basics of recruitment are all the same.

  52. I fail at interviews because I know that accounting firms are going to pay me a flat salary while billing me out hourly. It makes me feel exploited and bitter from the get-go and works to sabotage the interview. If I could find a firm that would pay me hourly, that would be great but in the mean time I’ve started bookkeeping…

    • I agree with your concept but couple things you are not considering.
      1. Would you want to make no salary when there is no client work and on bench for whatever reason?
      2. There is always a cost running a firm, which we, as staff, no considered.

      Please note, I am working in accounting firm and have seen these things closely with my friends working for hourly based job. At the end of the year, we aren’t too far off and I have job security with benefits which they didn’t.

      Hope it helps in someway.

  53. One more tip. Be careful at the end of the interview when your guard tends to fall. You may have got everything right and followed all the great tips and advice that JT offers and then you say something really stupid when the interview has formally finished. Those last few words are very important. No only can you pick up signs from the interviewer but he/she can pick up signs about you too.

  54. I can totally relate to this article. I was able to read this prior my application this week. This article gave me tips and was able to impress my recruiter. Thank you for your tips. One of the things that also helped me is the site that was recommended to me by a friend – . The site gave me the idea on how to create a high impacting CV. By the way, just signed my contract last Friday.

    • Someone should come up with a way to get rid of them so they can go and find real job!!! Ideas.? Maybe a list of all the bad ones?

  55. Sorry but after 17 years in the pharmaceutical industry, even if I agree on the attire, the (has to be positive)attitude, for the rest, I strongly disagree. It does not have to be that way. I know from my extensive experience that there are recruiters and… Recruiters. Truth is: most recruiters are rude, dishonest and totally inconsiderate because almost nobody dares to hold them accountable for their inappropriate behavior! But you will find the very same ones whining on HR/recruiting forum about already working potential matching candidates, not returning their head-hunting calls/emails. So they are not returning your calls/emails BUT they scream bloody murder if you don’t return theirs? So it means that they KNOW that what they are doing is inappropriate. Yes I know, the question that comes to mind is “who the Heck do they think they are? Some kind of royalty?”
    That said, not all of them are like that, so I would strongly advise job seekers to chose who they work with in the recruiting business, wisely. A good recruiter will definitely help your career as much as a lousy one will sure as hell damage it.

    First: The good ones are making sure they push their UNDERSTANDING of the job to perfection. I.e. what tasks and problems the candidate will have to execute and solve hence what experience and personal qualities you need to be a great fit. Therefore, they can figure out easily what to seek in your previous experience (which is not necessarily that you have done for 10 years the exact job they are recruiting for)before tossing your resume or moving forward with you.
    The lousy ones on the contrary barely know what they are talking about. I had one day a mind-boggling conversation with a so called “seasoned recruiter” (who was also posing as a job coach) bragging about 20 years of experience in Clinical Research who was so incompetent that she told me right of the bat that my experience in Europe was an issue since the guidelines were not the same here in the US (O-M-G! Europe, US and Japan have harmonized their guidelines…TWENTY THREE years ago! I mean yeah…just that! Time for an update lady!)
    Second, A good recruiter will interview you, ask what you have done in each position you have held to UNDERSTAND your profile, then, they will work with you on your resume (add this, shrink this, underline that, etc)
    And make no mistake, 99% of the time, these guys will come up to you with the most accurate opportunities, the type of job descriptions that makes you say “that’s ME”
    Third: Weirdly, good recruiters return calls and emails in a timely manner (how odd! They happen to have the time to do so, meaning that the others are just doing that out of rudeness so forget about the excuse “they do not return the communications because they don’t have the time: it is not true)

    So here are the helpful tips nobody tells you:
    1- AVOID wasting to much time with recruiting companies, they only are filters and most of them don’t know anything about the job. So basically 20% of your job search dedicated time is enough: NO MORE.
    2- Contact hiring managers directly 80% of your time(them and them ONLY, have the power to say yes, HR and recruiters are here to say no, filter, weed or other belittling expression)
    3- WEED the weeders(Yes exactly! Hahaha!)Ask questions before you turn your resume in. What is the name of the company? What the main task you will have to accomplish consists in. What is the specific problems you will have to solve (not face: solve)on a daily basis. What are the challenges this company is facing (launching new products hence they HAVE to hire X many people in X many months) They refuse to tell you who their client is or what would constitute 90% of your work on a daily basis? Most likely the ad is fake, they want your resume to “feed” their database in order to advertise “X thousands of profiles in our database” or worse they don’t know what the job is so how would they be able to screen candidates? So do not waste your time energy and positive mood, don’t even bother sending your resume.
    Fourth: Do not apply on line if you see any trace of application screening software (Taleo and co)only 5 out of 10 000 resumes make it to the HR desk with this tools! And just so you know this kind of tool pretends being able to screen waitresses as well as PhD scientists! Anybody with more than 2 brain-cells realizes that this all-around competence is nothing else but a huge scam that for any reason most companies have gobbled. So stay away from these tools unless you have contacted the hiring manager before and they have asked you to do that after they have interviewed you (some corp need to have you in their database before they hire you)
    Now that I have made a bunch of new friends in the staffing industry, I wish you all the best in your job search.

    • Agatha,

      Excellent response! You hit on all the points I was thinking based on my own experiences with “recruiters”. :-)

      I know recruiters want to think they’re doing a good job, and I know they want to think they hold all the cards, and so you should act in ways that make their lives easier, but the fact of the matter is, the whole recruiting process is simply broken.

      For some reason, most HR departments and recruiters alike don’t realize that their ads for jobs probably chase away more people than they attract. And the ones that do apply are usually the ones they don’t want and will complain about because the respondent either didn’t read the job posting or they did read it and are so eager to get a job, any job, they’ll jump through all the flaming hoops to apply.

      It used to be that companies were on a mission to “attract” talent, and with the way job postings are horribly written, combined with the “quiz show” style of interview that has infected most hiring processes these days, recruiting actually repels top talent.

      By “quiz show” style interview, I mean that you go into an interview, either by phone or in person, and the interviewer, who is most likely NOT the decision maker, but simply a screener, asks you questions from a list of questions prepared in advance. And, he or she will go down the list until you get one wrong. Then “BUZZ!”, you’re disqualified!

      And, if you were to answer honestly to a question that you “don’t have much practical experience in that area, but would be willing to learn or even do the research ahead of time to get up to speed on that”, if the follow up questions pertaining to that main question you just answered by saying you don’t know, the quiz show host will still ask all the follow up questions pertaining to the main topic, simply because it’s on the list.

      If recruiters and companies will write ads that aren’t the written equivalent of barbed wire fences, with searchlights and attack dogs,and snipers in towers that are ready to chase away any decent recruiting prospect with half a shred of self respect, then maybe the talent pool will get better for all involved.

      And then, please, for the love of all that his holy, ditch the unimaginative interview process with dull questions that do nothing but let actual talent slip through your fingers.

      Sure, have some base questions prepared, but have those questions be relevant to the position and to the company’s culture and how the candidate fits in. Then, allow some time for some interview questions that cater to the two people in the room and aligned with the needs of the company; but actually talking, and not quizzing.

      In other words, INTERVIEW. Have a dialogue. Make it situational, experiential, and tie it to the problems the company needs to have solved by the position the candidate is interviewing for.

      Until there is an overhaul of this very dysfunctional process, recruiters will whine, top talent will get real interviews via friends and other successful people they know via their network, and all that will be left for HR departments that rely on recruiting firms are the leftover scraps, and lower grade talent.

      IMHO, of course. :-)

    • I agree with your statement about don’t waste too much time on the recruiters. I have been unemployed for nearly a month and have been contacting many recruiters especially with my accounting background in NYC. Few assocaites told me about the politics they pay and they don’t want to pay top pay for the individuals with degrees yet all they care about are commissions. I am writing a tell-all book exposing a lot of them.

    • Agreed with the response.
      In many cases recruiters are working based on some sort of email blast of requirements and have NO clue about the real work – forget about company culture. Especially for little senior position what really matters is culture and way of working of the co-workers and probably much bigger picture. Typical recruiter won’t have it.
      Having said that, I was privileged to work with very effective recruiters who actually take time to visit the company, understand their business and culture and then take time to find the right match. They produce less in terms of candidates – but typically their hit rate is much higher.
      Simply put – agreed with the fact that no point spending time applying online or running behind recruiters. You gotta build network – and you have to build it when you are ON THE JOB not when you are out of work. Let’s face it – typical in person networking is not everybody’s cup of tea because of many reasons. But there are social networking capabilities which enable you to find the right community and network there effectively.
      Bottom line – we need to invest time on ourselves from career perspective … which typically we ignore significantly.

    • Love it, you were right on target! I spent the majority of 2013 job searching and 9/10 recruiters I met, I did not want representing me. I’ve worked too hard to have some 25-year old who has the voice of an Oz Munchkin assisting with my next career move! The minute I hear the word’s AWESOME or PERFECT, I know it’s time to move on.

    • I completely agree with you.I am also a recruiter and face these problems day today.This is what is happening in today’s market.No candidate is bad until he is fit into a right profile.This is what recruiters don’t understand.

      Recruiters must spend time in understanding for what job they are hiring whom.

    • THANK YOU AGATHA! Finally someone with real information for Job Seekers. If I have to remember all the pointers and tips for how NOT to be myself in an interview, how the heck will I maintain all that throughout my employment???
      I don’t know about any of you but, whether I am the Candidate or the Employer, I want to meet the REAL person I am hiring not some packaged robot who will fall apart at the seams over time.

      Recruiters, Head Hunters, Staffing Agents are not all the same but, for the most part, they are not the nicest, most informed or even the slightest bit compassionate toward you as the Candidate. By the time you sort through, pick out the rotten ones and find one or two you can trust, all the Jobs you were looking for to begin with have been filled by people who just went straight to the Employer. I often wonder how some of these folks sleep at night.

    • Thank you for sharing this information about the company’s “Screening Application.” (Taleo )
      I agree, today’s technology has not come to the point-where in some cases a “waitress skills vs. physician’s can be so easily recognized.
      Also, how true you are about the attitudes of some of these recruiters and their databases, when it comes to screening or weeding out potential candidates in the applications process.
      As far as the knowledge about the company before you are hired and come to face- to-face with some of these folks they know very well they too learned more about the organization after they were hired. (so what’s the big deal-you still have to receive some training/famialrizing)

  56. Have to share this post, as found on Monster today:

    The ideal candidate will possess:
    A minimum of two years customer service and sales experience;
    Ability to shift and manage multiple priorities and meet deadlines;
    Tech-Savvy knowledge to quickly learn new systems, and maintain internal databases;
    Ability to be produce results within a dynamic and unstructured environment;
    A flexible attitude, to shift and respond to changing priorities; and
    Possessing excellent written and verbal communication skills.

    All of this, to be a recruiter at Manpower!

    Let’s see:
    2 years – yep, most high school jobs will cover that
    Ability to shift and manage – starts to border on redundant, but okay, fair enough
    Tech-savvy – isn’t that pretty much a given these days?
    Ability to be produce results – of course; your job depends on it! But again, don’t all jobs?
    (Re-read that line and then see the last point about written skills…)
    Flexible attitude, to shift and… – see point two
    Written and verbal – didn’t stop the last recruiter who contacted me!
    (And talk about redundant – the ideal candidate will posses possessing excellent written…)

    So, it’s no wonder that looks count more than skills to a recruiter – they still think that they’re in high school!
    (Maybe a little more structure in their environment would be a good thing…)

  57. In looking at some of the much older comments, I see a lot of discussion about recruiters being nearly the scum of life and that one doesn’t need them.

    I have applied for a position for an engineer through a recruiter. As a result of thinking about these comments, I decided to do web searches with the text of part of the job ad to which I had applied (and for which I am a 100% fit). I found THE EXACT SAME JOB POSTING all over the ‘net! I did not, however, find a posting that was not a recruiter. I’m wondering if the job is a real job, or if lots of places and people are just trying to gather resumes/CVs.

    It’s somewhat disillusioning, particularly for someone who has been looking for work for a long time.


    • Good point, Craig; it’s probably not a real job if it shows up evrywhere. Many times what happens is this:

      1. An employer will have a temporary position to fill or, does not want to hire people because of commitment or money issues.
      2. The employer turns to a recruiting agency pool by producing a poorly written job description that describes lofty qualifications but leaves out what a qualified candidate would want to know, that is, what the candidate will actually be doing.
      3. This job requirement is fed into a Vendor Management System (VMS) which is a filter on top of another filter. The VMS exists for only one reason – to set up competition amongst the pool of staffing agencies. They compete against each other on only one thing – cost.
      4. The staffing agencies (we call them job shops or body shops) will cut and paste that lousy job description and plaster it all over the Internet.
      5. The recruiters who work there are most often the poor slobs who are so regularly maligned by job seekers. These screeners simply do not know enough about the requirement to ask intelligent questions, never mind the training to do so. Many times they are very junior level employees who lack even basic interviewing skills. One of their primary jobs is to get you to sign an exclusivity agreement because this is one way that the major employer controls competition.
      6. Any candidate who is deemed to be good enough for the job by passing the screening questions, including compensation, and who signs the exclusivity agreement is submitted.
      7. Through some unknown process of elimination used by the employer, a candidate is judged to be a good fit or is (most often) disqualified. The employer then notifies the staffing agency that their candidate is selected. Now the price war will start.
      8. The first thing that happens is that the employer will say that the selected candidate is too expensive and instructs the staffing agency to take a 10% haircut.
      9. The staffing company comes back to you with good news/bad news. Yes, you’ve qualified for the job but, you’ve got to do it for 10% less than you had agreed to.
      10. The employer then selects the cheapest candidate from the pool of applicants supplied by the staffing agency pool.

      Please notice that because of the VMS, you cannot talk to or even find out who is hiring. The VMS cuts out the recruiter’s access to the decision maker as well. Look at the ways that you can be disqualified for a position:

      1. Too expensive
      2. Lack of technical qualification
      3. Submitted by more than one agency
      4. Too expensive (again)
      5. Beaten by a cheaper candidate from another agency

      This process was most likely devised by Satan himself with collaboration from people who love money above all else.

      My advice is that if you are sucked into this process, simply decline to proceed and ask the recruiter to only contact you for positions which are not constrained by a VMS. Also, when you are “weeding the weeders,” do not sign an exclusivity agreement and verify that the screener is not going to submit you to a VMS.



      • After reading what you typed, I’m just kicking myself. I was confused after applying for specific job advertisements through recruiters, not get an interview, then they repost the same job advertisements (word for word) but with a later date (even when I have the qualifications for them).

  58. Interesting, in meeting with many recruiters over my career. I could safely say that most if not all of these 10 things can apply to many recruiters as well.
    In the past few years, I have noticed that many of these so called “recruiters” have become very unprofessional, seem very inexperienced not only about the position and industry they are seeking to fill (that they are getting paid typically 20% of the salary of the candidate whom they place) and seem lacking in even the most basic professionalism and courtesy.
    Maybe someone can answer why a recruiter thinks its OK to contact you about a position — debrief you about your background for 15-30 minutes just over the phone, tell you what a perfect fit you are for the role, suppposedly submit your Resume and then you never hear another word from him or her. If you dare to follow up a few weeks later even you are told either the client A) cancelled the job opening B) went with someone else. well my question to the recruiter is Was there a reason you couldn’t communicate that information to me when you found out?? catches them like a deer in headlights

  59. “A needle in ten haystacks”? More like a hundred needles in a handful of hay. There are more qualified people than ever before 4/21/2013

      • No, the haystack represents the qualified candidates. And the needle is the next available job. One job, 500 candidates applying. Employers can be picky.

        “she has red hair” game over.
        “requires a salary that’s reasonable” game over
        “his dress shoe was untied.” game over
        “she sneezed during the interview.” game over.

        Yes, good people get rejected for stupid messed up reasons.

  60. Love your article and agree 110%. I’m 25 and was lucky enough to get a year conract with a great company, straight out of college. I’m learning time and time again that getting hired it really comes down to having a great personality, excellent communication skills and just general giving off a positive vibe to coworkers. Even though I was deathly afraid on my first interview, I was energetic, had a sense of humor and tried to come off as a knowledgable, solid, trustworthy person. Professionalism is certainly underrated these days.
    We interviewed a creative director today, and not only did she show up to a corporate environment totally underdressed, she had the whackiest haircut I’ve ever seen. She also mentioned some really unfortunate personal things during the interview which, in my opinion, had no relevance to the meeting and probably put her at a disadvantage. People don’t like or trust what makes them uncomfortable, and even if you feel like its fake, you should make the effort to be professional and please everyone. You’re putting yourself in a position to be judged, so don’t give people anything to criticize. Especially in corporate environments.

    I’m very interested in getting hired on full-time at my company. Have been working here for almost a year, and my contact isn’t one to hire, necessarily. They’ll either have the option of hiring me on as a full-timer or, well, not. Wondering if anyone has any general advice for how to approach this situation. I’m well aware they need me, but I’m not sure whether they’ll try to replace me or not. Maybe if someone has experienced this or knows what companies like to hear / see from employees in this position.

    • being 25 also helps. you are seen as easy to control, fun to be around, will work for less pay than someone who has quantifiable experience in the industry… I am about 10 years older than you. I am sorry to say but I have found many in your age group that I have worked with who have that great personality, fun the be around, loves to talk about their weekend and how drunk/high they got etc.. also typically need the most handholding, didn’t learn what attention to detail really means, have to be trained on anyone over the most basic excel functions

      • You are exactly right NAL9612! I used to think the day would never come for me, but now in my 40’s I think I’m not marketable because I’ve matured and become wiser, with all of the experience to boot. I’m not easily controlled and may actually have something intelligent to say, and no more weekend drunk stories. So, I guess I’m not office material.

        Additionally, I’ve had zero luck with recruiters. I think everyone, including the interviewer exhibits one or more of those same characteristics mentioned. We are human, we’re not robots.

        • Bingo! Companies are hiring Corporate Psychopaths, young, just out of college, no ‘history’ with the company nor the employees who have been there 20 years creating the success of the company and sometimes, industry. Since these CP’s have no personal relationships with the ‘oldsters’, working or otherwise, they have no problem doing the dirty deed of creating an ‘exit’ for them in one way or another. Imagine their surprise (I use that term in place of what their actual emotion is) when they are hired to be your boss. Their first job out of college, when they realize they’ve proudly accepted a ‘title’ for quite probably 1/2 of what a 15+ year employee has worked up to. This makes it very easy for them to ‘clean house’ under corporate direction. It becomes personal for them as well as one of the reason’s they were hired in the first place. Soon, the company has a bunch of college grads, first position with a degree, 1/2 the wage, most likely no life experiences, certainly no company heritage, experience or knowledge. Profit sharing will be great the first year or two even if business results suffer due to lack of experience and continual ‘re-orgs’ to try and recreate the once successfully working wheel, because wages have been cut
          This is happening in many corporations and across America today. In my organization, the culture is changing so rapidly, it is no longer attracting the sort of talent that made it what it is today (soon to be was) And in fact, many are ‘choosing’ to leave due to the extreme change in culture. They see this trend of Corporate America within their own industry and company. They can see the CP’s missions and feel the ch-ch-ch-changes that will result.
          It’s important to remember, for those who were part of the past 15-20 years with a highly innovative and successful company that you were among the people which brought that company to the place it is today. Innovations that were firsts, successes that were firsts. You helped create the culture (as it was) that inspired the success! Feel good about that. Know that.
          The newbies have a very challenging future ahead of them. Once they’ve completed the corporate cleaning, they will be expected to get out of the ‘business’ box and re-create the successes and innovations, etc only BETTER and MORE. In many industries, that won’t happen. We’ve been through an incredible age of technology in many areas. Some industries definitely have the ability to continue reach the sky, although, most likely that will mean eventually being replaced by machines or off-shore employees. Other currently very successful and innovative industries, not so much…and one day….they too will be an employee of 15-20 years (if they can remain a value to the company for that long).
          And I’m not in denial about progress, I’ve been part of an industry’s incredible progress for 20 years, directly. I’m talking about greed dressed as ‘progress’.
          So, be aware of the writing on the wall. Don’t ignore the changes in your industry that are pointing to a bigger picture. Get ready for the inevitable. Celebrate the successes of your work with others of like situation. But keep your eyes open. It DOES and WILL happen to YOU! I wish I would’ve considered this and planned for it! You can only ride the wave for so long….but what a fantastic wave that was!!!!

  61. Wowwwww the author has never recruited software engineers, (arguably) (one of) the most difficult and elite sector of talent in the world.

    I’m redoing this list from a tech recruiting perspective:

    Top 10 Things a Tech Recruiter Won’t Tell You Because it Doesn’t #%&$%&@ Matter:

    1. Your interview attire is outdated/messy/too tight/too revealing/too flashy.
    *Lol flashy. boobs are fun let’s do some in ASCII. Hoodies and New Balance 4 Life. Even at Google.

    Your physical appearance is disheveled/outdated/sloppy/smelly/overpowering (i.e. too much perfume).
    *You’re going to be coding alone in a corner 98% of the time. We give out a lot of swag because you won’t have time to go home and change. You’re going to be putting in 18 hour days until launch buddy.

    Your eye contact is weak/shifty/intense.
    *If you DON’T have weak, shifty and/or intense eye contact, we will assume you are no far enough along on the autism spectrum to code 14 hours straight.

    Your handshake is limp/too forceful/clammy.
    *If your handshake is too strong and dry, you haven’t been coding enough. Red flag for sure.

    You say ah/um/like too much.
    *See point above about autism spectrum.

    You talk too much/use poor grammar/say inappropriate things (i.e. swearing) when you answer interview questions.
    *Its/It’s has no relevance in C++. Inappropriate/swearing: if you’re too socially adjusted we will assume you have a life and therefore cannot code 18 hours straight. Interns especially pay attention here.

    You appear overconfident/pushy/self-centered/insecure/aloof/ditzy/scatter-brained/desperate.
    *As long as you don’t set the building on fire and keep your petty rivalries on your blog where they belong, we don’t care.

    You talk too fast/too slow/too loud/too soft.
    *See point about aspie programmers above.

    You giggle/fidget/act awkward/have facial tics/lack expression.
    *Jayzuz. See Aspies points above again.

    You lack sincerity/self-confidence/clarity/conviction.
    *We don’t give a rat’s a$$ if you buy into our company’s unique, driving vision to optimize Facebook “like” clicks to craft a revolutionary product perspective built on cloud computing’s big data architectures of paradigm-busting awesome. Can you %$&*#^@* code or not?

    • Woow!!!! I agree!

      It is a miserable attempt to blame the victim, once again. Can you believe how petty are some of those HR/recruiters?
      “I am sorry, but I am against hiring MR. X, he has an accent!!!”
      “I am sorry, I do not want to have to look that candidate everyday, that one has a slightly twisted upper lip.”
      “Oh, certainly we are not going to hire a person so ugly! are we?”
      I believe it should feel embarrassing only the though of becoming that petty.

      You know what?!? Get your “you know the term” perfect society and shovel it up those perfect HR/Recruiters “you know where”!


      • bearded captain

        Recruiters are the expressions of a sick western society. The idealisation of human talent the extrapolation of signs of characters and so on…. pseudo science to reassure an investor, most of the great men and women pivotal to our evolution do not fit their criteria.
        charlatans, sale force that created a need.

  62. Hi,

    I had a phone interview, and I thought it went very well. So I was really surprised when I got an e-mail, saying they won’t go forward with my application. No reason given at all. I’m not too sure in this situation if it is appropriate to call the company why I haven’t been selected, so that I can learn from my mistakes, or is this definitely a no-no. I’m playing the interview again and again in my head and I can’t figure our what went wrong.

    • Don’t bother, this is standard crappy practice these days. What you’re probably dealing with is a clueless, overworked recruiter who has no idea why you were rejected, probably because s/he has poor understanding of the job and has 10 other people screening for it.

      Another possibility is they fear pushback and even lawsuits by giving you feedback on your interviews. Still another possibility is there’s a better candidate.

      It’s just a phone interview, you most likely gain nothing by calling them back.

      For onsites, a rejection should always be followed by a phone call.

    • Corporate recruiters don’t call anyway, unless they want you to come in to see their hiring managers, then they won’t call you back unless they’re ordered to because there is further processing necessary to remake your happy and smiling unambiguity into another sould dead brick-in-the-wall. Headhunters usually keep in touch because even a b- c- candidate is good for something, like a corporate AVP HR job. About the writer of the article, on written communications skills alone I would rate J.T. O’Donnell a c- d+ not because she isn’t right about a few largely insignificant things or because she fails in the empathy department or gets a solid f in imagination. No not those things alone but because she, unlike her possible younger, fresher and more talented sibling, Rosie O’Donnell, who she resembles, J.T. has never actually done a job. She’s never done any job she refers to, nor any job of headhunting but alas, was possibly a corporate HR recruiter. She could make a good nanny for my triplets, all boys now in their thirties who would introduce a dose of reality into her probably unenthusiastically deflowered but not yet disallusioned self.

    • Be thankful you even got an email. Im noticing very few even bother to do rejection emails. Ive had several employers say after an in person interview they will let me know either way (which is usually a kiss of death) and they dont.

  63. “if you aren’t getting called back by a recruiter after either an in-person meeting or talking by phone, there’s a good chance that, in addition to the fact you didn’t have the right skills, you also might have displayed one or more traits on the “I can’t market them” list.”

    If. Believe it or not there are those of us that can find work with or without a recruiter’s help. To us, you article above makes the wrong first impression.

  64. I have a quick question! Should I call the recruiter one business day after having a very promising interview(seemed promising to me)? Or is this to pushy? I also read that if they don’d have anything for you that day, then more then likely they will not be calling you back? Just need a little help.

    • If by recruiter you mean the person who ultimately hires you then yes, 1 day would look a little over eager. Part of a good interview is when they give you a time frame to hear back from them. If they don’t bring it up then it should be your last question before you leave your interview.


      If by recruiter you mean the staffing agency then I would’t put too much faith in anything they tell you. Until they get you a “real” inteview they’re really no more trustworthy than car salesmen. I’ve had great “agency” interviews that went absolutely nowhere.

      By the way, if it was just the agency/staffing firm you’re talking about then wait a few days then follow up. They talk to 100’s of people every day and after a couple of days if they don’t have anything for you and you stil want to take a contract or placement from them then keep in touch every few days.

      Either they’ll get tired of you or find you something. Either way you’ll know pretty soon if they’re doing anything for you or are just a bunch of resume stackers.

    • No, there is nothing wrong with you. When you go to an interview, interviewers sounds so promising and positive at the end. I does not mean you got the job, you still have to search regardless until you sign a contract of either contract or permanency. I learned the hard way myself and had to pick myself up again after I really thought I got a job after a positive interview years ago. We learn the hard way but we have to hope. I mean you have to hope as it’s not easy.

  65. And, the number 1 thing a recruiter won’t tell you…there actually isn’t a job and we’re just interviewing you to fill our quota or database so we can brag about the number of recruiters we have. A close second goes to we’re not actually retained to recruit for this position so you’d so assuming I have a tenuous at best relationship with the ACTUAL hiring manager, you’d be just as likely to get the applying yourself via the company website. I just tell you not to so I get the commish if I decide to send a form email to the hiring manager and they end up liking you, despite the fact that twenty other recruiters, who are also not retained, are sending their guys in the same way. NAILED IT!!!

    • Randy,
      This is not really true in all cases. I received an email for an “urgent job” in my junk mail. I didn’t think I qualified so I ignored it. The recruiter called and encouraged me to apply. I asked if he had a direct relationship with the company and he said he did, so a little reluctantly, I applied. Within a day I got a telephone interview, the next day a face-to-face and I start next week! Turns out this recruiter has a 9-year relationship with this high-profile company. I had to go to the recruiter’s office to show my passport and found them to be very professional. All this experience was an eye-opener that there are indeed legitimate agencies/recruiters out there, the problem is knowing who they are! I was a little nervous about asking if they paid into unemployment insurance, but I had to know…they do, but they were not happy to be asked this….that was the only negative.

  66. I wanted to share something very important that some recruiters don’t share, some agencies don’t contribute to unemployment insurance! Imagine working a year and then filing for unemployment, only to find they didn’t contribute (the claim goes back 18 months)…you are out of a job and out of any income. I always ask if they contribute before I accept a position, surprisingly many don’t!

    • If you were a W2 employee of the agency that’s technically illegal but good luck finding an attorney to work pro-bono to pursue it. If you worked less than 40 hours they can get away with it as well. If you were a 1099 employee your out of luck as well.
      I love that term 1099 “employee” It’s an oxymoron you can’t be both a contractor AND an employee but again, workers are powerless so they just keep doing it.

      • My accountant said working on a 1099 can cause a tax audit, so I only work on W2 with unemployment contribution. I have been very lucky to be able to work and then reopen my claim with EDD during the gaps. It’s been a very restless 4 years, but compared to many others who go through their savings, I feel blessed.

        • If you’re a W2 employee they don’t have any choice but to pay unemployment insurance. 1099 employment is actually more risky for the employer than it is for you since they have to prove you’re NOT an employee but a contractor. The only difference you see is filing your taxes every year and paying self employment tax. There are a lot more tax breaks working 1099 but you have to itemize deductions and can’t get away from paying Social Security/Medicare on the money you made as a 1099 worker. Also, I know it can hurt when you need every dollar but if you can get taxes withheld from your Unemployment check you’ll be better off at tax time. Unemployment compensation is taxable income so might as well get it out of the way. You’ll miss that money a whole lot less than if you had to pay it in taxes later.

  67. I applied to a position at a company I am very interested in. The recruiter had contacted me, but a few days later I see another job posting for a position much more suited for my skill sets and I would prefer to do that job.

    How should I proceed? should i tell the recruiter i am interested in the new position over the one I applied for? (The new position is very similar to the position I have now and I am more confident I will be able to perform better)

    • I didn’t see anything about “job offer” in your question so you’re under no obligation to anyone. The only time you’d have anything close to an issue is if it was the same job and you signed an “exclusive right to represent”

      Now if you actually had an offer on the table and accepted it then the old adage of “bird in the hand” but till an offer is on the table anything goes.

      Bottom line is it’s your job search not the recruiters, you don’t owe them anything till they get you back to work.

      • To clarify, both positions are at the same company. So I would like to ask the recruiter if I can interview with the other position instead or will that be a turn off

        • Chances are it will be a turn off. The key thing to remember about recruiters is that they don’t represent you they represent the company. Anything you do to upset their schedule will get you written off fast. Just go with what you have, remember what they say about a bird in the hand being worth 2 in the bush. If you get the job you’ll be in a better position to get what you really want once you’ve been onboard awhile.

    • Tell the recruiter you’re interested in both. Interview for both. The more people you talk to, the better chance you have. You might even end up with a hybrid role if the positions are closely related.

  68. If you really are serious about wanting to know what’s wrong with your performance, I can point out a few things. I’m wondering, though, if you are just venting. However, I will say this, it may help.

    First, you spelled “know” as “no”, those words are spelled different because they mean different things, even though they sound the same. You spelled it wrong twice in this comment, so I suspect lack of good spelling is one of the reasons they don’t want to hire you. Good grammar & spelling is one of the main things a company requires in jobs that require writing; your writing leaves an impression on everyone you come in contact with, & it represents the company to other people, and you. I would suggest that you study spelling & grammar, perhaps take an English course or two at the local community college. No matter how excellent your spoken word, if you cannot spell, you will be at a decided disadvantage in this society.

    Second, ask yourself if your job is best served by you, or if you are best served by this job. I have found that when I really want a job, sometimes it’s best for me & the company if I do not get it. Perhaps this company doesn’t like your attitude, or your personality. Even though you can do the job & some customers like you, the company employees may not like you. There is a corporate culture in every business out there, and fitting in socially is a prerequisite for holding any job for long. That is something they are not teaching in school & definitely should. No matter how much you qualify for a job in experience or talent, if the company doesn’t like you, it won’t keep you; it will find an excuse to get rid of you.

    I hope this helps.

  69. Question: Is it ok to apply directly to a company if a recruiter has already submitted your resume to Company X?

    Here’s my specific situation:
    A week ago, I had a recruiter contact me via LinkedIn about a job that fit my qualifications.(I didn’t know him, nor his firm.) I Googled the job title he’d used and found it posted on the jobs page of Company X, so it was publicly available. I called the recruiter to discuss the job and mentioned I’d seen it on Company X’s website but had not yet applied for it. I sent the recruiter my resume and he said he submitted it. I am now seeing that job posted by other recruiting firms. Would it hurt my chances to also submit directly to Company X?


    • Yes it will hurt your chances to apply to the same job directly or through multiple recruiters. Often your application can be rejected on that alone. Your best bet is applying at multiple different companies rather than at many different jobs at the same company.

      • Thank you Chad, for the reply. To take this a little further, what if I know someone who works at Company X who can vouch for my qualifications and fit for the position — would it be all right to ask them to forward my info along to HR and put in a good word?

        The reason I want to take matters into my own hands, is that I did not approach the recruiter — he approached me. I hadn’t heard of him or his company before. He just found me on LinkedIn after Company X had posted the opening on their own website. And, based on events that transpired after the first contact, I don’t have faith that he’s acting in my best interest, but rather what will get him the best commission.

        Here’s why: A few days after I sent him my info, an associate of his called and said it had been passed to him and that he thought the Acct Manager would be a better fit for me I got the impression he hadn’t even read my resume, since those duties don’t fit my qualifications at all! I suspect it was all based on the Acct Mgr job being closer to my current salary than the job I applied for, which by the way does fit my qualifications almost perfectly. So what if it’s more than I’m making now — that’s what getting ahead is all about, right? Anyhow, my guess is that “first guy” handles higher salary candidates and based on my current salary, he decided I wouldn’t bring him as good of a commission if I was hired, and turned it over to “new guy” who probably handles mid-salary candidates.

  70. Can someone answer this mystery?

    Why, after a successful phone interview with the recruiter’s client, can’t the recruiter call them for feedback? The interviewer sounded like he was really interested and told me if I don’t hear back by the end of the day to call the recruiter as the interview would be in a day. This seemed to be moving along quickly, but then the recruiter told me they hadn’t heard back anything from their client and to be patient, they should know soon. Well, a half a day passed and if interviews are tomorrow, why can’t they call back the interviewer for feedback so I can either prepare for the interview or move on? Am I supposed to assume they found someone else and drop it after my 2 days of submitting applications, and exhausting pre-interview? Do all recruiters wait around, don’t any call back the client?

    I’m sorry if I sound naive, but it seems like a top-notch agency could try a little harder!

    • Anyone kind enough to read my post, I have an update. The reason I never heard back after my phone interview was that the position was put on hold. This is my 3rd “hold” experience this year, it seems to be a new annoying trend! If you don’t have the budget, don’t post the job!

      • LJ

        I am a recruiter. What you described happens more than you think. As a recruiter, we vet the client the best we can to determine the seriousness of their candidate search. It is frustrating for both of us. We as recruiters will expend time and energy to find quality candidates, we submit them and then we receive no feedback. We can only push the client so hard. A few times we have pushed for any response only to receive a curt email that our services are no linger needed.

        Hang in there and Good Luck

        • Push anyway, if they’re just using your staffing firm as a free screening service then they’re not doing anyone any good. I’ve consulted for years and my rule of thumb is that a client who doesn’t pay you isn’t a client.

          There’s too many people out there wanting to work to waste anyone’s time with dirtbag employers like you described. I hope they pay some kind of retainer before engaging your services.

          Let their lazy HR department put an ad on monster if they don’t want to be serious about filling a position.

          • Is there a “one post” limit on this site? The other things I wanted to share have not been uploaded? Are you limiting people’s posts?

        • FedUpWithTheParasites

          The industry of recruitment is preventative to people finding jobs. If you need a toothbrush, you just to to Safeways and buy one. If you need new shoes, you go out and choose a pair.
          If you want a job though, you almost always now have to engage a middle twat to send YOUR CV detailing YOUR EXPERTISE to someone they have “contact” with. Recruitment is one of the highest employee turnover industries in the 3rd world. Why is that? Because it’s not about filling clients requirements with quality people, it’s in fact about making as much $$ from each contract as possible. Because it’s a business. Fair enough.
          However, othe problem then exists that the person engaged to “asisst” you is tasked with serving the Recruitment company. Not you. Not the client. So if the client pays $1000 a day, the recruiter isn’t going to put the $700 a day guy up, they are going to put the $500 a day person up for the role. So the agency make the same coin as the employee. So for a few phone calls and some schmoozing, the agency now makes the same $$ per day as the employee does for every day that person works.
          Tell me how that is not one of natures perfect parasitical scenarios. The industry invented itself to fill a non-existant gap in a marketplace yet to be filled. Professional recruiters that work for companies almost always are effective, because their loyalty is to the bottom line of the company they are working in, not “for”. The sooner people realise the futile and huge added overhead the recruitment industry brings to the table, the better for job seekers everywhere. Go back to the stones you crawled out from beneath.

  71. I have been unemployed for a year now. I lost my last job due to breach of Contract, the company did not pay my pension for 5 years! Since then I have had 4 interviews. I have dealt with recruiters all over the world, but none are more useless than the UK recruiter. They only send me for entry level and junior jobs as they easy to fill. I have been in management for 8 years after working myself up for 20 years. I am well qualified. UK Racists recruiters are the biggest problem in UK recruitment. They see all immigrants as people who come here to do the jobs no one else will do, so they BLOCK your career progress. They all claim they specialists recruiters, but this is more ego as they mostly under 25 years with no common sense, most recruiters seem to be the people who cannot find jobs themselves and then come and judge you? You are expected to jump hoops for them and build a relationship. I have done this and its not been fruitful, they keep looking for a negative reason to put you down. Recruiters are so lazy they don’t want to maintain a relationship, you will have to hound them everyday for months and then come to a conclusion they will not help you. Just ignore them asking for things. What ever they want will be a waste of time or cost you money. I don’t give a inch anymore. When they ask for test, I refer to my CV resume as my selling point and test I do in the class room, I have enough diplomas and certificates to proof my knowledge. If they really want me they will make the sacrifice, so no real reason to jump hoops for them. Be realistic. I have had to threaten some so called recruiters with legal action as they turned out to be RECRUITMENT RATING AGENCY selling your profile to other clients and recruiters, highly illegal (Blacklists companies). Now when they call, I test them to see if they have read my CV resume, if they have not, I just hang up the phone, no point dealing with scumbags. Write down their name and number so not to be tricked again. The ones who do not read you resume don’t have anything for you, they just wasting your time so they can tell their boss they called x amount of candidates or they ILLEGAL PROFILING!!! Any human rights lawyer will be happy to take the case. When I see private and unknown numbers on my mobile I just ignore. Anyone who have something to hide are scary already! Why hide? They don’t want you to know who they are. Then you give them all your details over the phone thinking you going to get a job to Mr Unknown who you never met before? Steer well clear of these numbers no matter what they say. There is no reason to hide your number.

    • Recruiter1 you are so true. My experience is similar after completing MBA from a premier business school I had the shock of my life with the recruiters in UK. After working 18 odd years in project management they asked me if I knew what project life cycle meant lol. For recruiters there has to be a bench mark and qualifications for handling specific jobs.

      In my experience 2 most globally hated people are recruiters and the university accommodation officers.

  72. Recruiter Keep Away

    In my 16 years of IT exp in one of big ERP S/W i got all good job in best companies not by recruiters. i.e. to find best job you don’t need recruiters.

    One funny exp: I was called by and recruiter for and contract job XXX$ per day. My profile was good agreed, next they come with and NDA for 3 month job, but the validity of NDA is 6 months.-stupid Second they need 2 ref (again funny in same field who worked with projects) I am crazy. They want to find ref from be who can do same job better than me. He/She tried best for me to sing the NDA and ref.. finally told then pls remove my name from your db.

    What crazy is this… I don’t care you may be international recruiter.

    There are good recruiters also in industry

  73. Just a couple of tips for job seekers to help you get to the point that get to speak with the hiring manager.

    #1 – Never post a resume in Text format. It looks awful and gives the impression that you don’t want to take the time to impress.

    #2 – Always have someone else read your resume before you post it. I cannot tell you how quickly typos turn people off. I assume that when you send me a resume you have taken the time to send me your best possible impression. If their are typos in the first paragraph, I can only assume it is going to go down hill from here.

    #3 – Never put your name and/or contact information on your resume as a header/footer. Many companies utilize databases for their resumes these days. That database extracts your info and populates important fields, such as your contact info. If you have put your name and/or contact info on your resume as a header or footer, a lot of times, the system does not understand. So, I may be able to see your resume and it looks great, but I don’t know who you are, or how to get in touch with you, so I have no choice but to move on to the next person.

    #4 – If I don’t answer when you call, leave a message or send an email. Do not call me five times in ten minutes. Most people have caller ID these days, I do see that you are calling and I have to wonder about you as a candidate as a result. I cannot tell you how many times I have been on a conference call, or away from my desk and come back to see that the same number called me repeatedly and never left a message.

    #5 – If you really want the job, take a few minutes and make some adjustments to your resume based on the job description. If the job description says you need XYZ software experience and your resume doesn’t say that you have XYZ experience, I won’t be calling you. I will call the other 20 candidates who do.

    Good luck on your search.

    • You mean like writing “their are” instead of “there are”? ;-)

      All valid points, especially getting a friend to look it over. What reads well to you may be confusing to someone not intimate with your experience.

      But please clarify – by “never put your name/contact in a header/footer”, do you mean ONLY in the header/footer? My résumé is three pages, and I have my contact info on page one as part of the content. However, pages two and three use a footer to add my name, phone number and email address, in case they get separated from the main page. Can I assume that that is fine?


    • If, as you suggest, a candidate must never include his/her name and contact information in the header or footer, then where should this information be included? Also, in what format should it be presented?

      • A Recruiter (not recruiter)

        I think what the poster was trying to explain is that many companies, large and small, use candidate tracking (or some sort of) software that employs OCR in order to cut down on data entry. If your name and contact information are ONLY in the header or footer, that software might not pick it up.

        And a note to those who are wary of/fed up with dealing with recruiters: If you speak with a recruiter (agency, in-house, executive search, whatever) and are not comfortable with them, then by all means, MOVE ON. It won’t get any better. If you feel you must deal with them for whatever reason, just know that you’re not going to get filet mignon at McDonalds. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years, and I tend to have very good relationships with candidates – not just because I try to be considerate of their time, work closely with them, make myself as available as possible and keep them as informed as possible, but also because there are so many BAD recruiters out there, so I end up looking good by default.

        To the recruiter who said that they are measured by the amount of submittals and interviews they get: You are working in a craphole, and you should get out. Throwing a lot of resumes at the wall so that your “numbers” look good is not helping you in the long run. Take some time to learn about your clients and candidates and you will make more placements with less effort. Then you might actually have time to return calls to the people who make your business possible in the first place – the candidates.

  74. No, the NUMBER ONE TOP THING that recruiters won’t tell you is that they found the job that they are advertising on some other web site! And that you too can find it with a little detective work.

    My biggest mistake was in thinking that they had some exclusive connection to the companies that they claim to represent, and that the company hired them to do their head hunting for them. They don’t!

    My advice: check out their ads, then Google search for the wording they used to find the original ad. Chances are that they copy/pasted from the original ad as seen on Monster, Workopolis or even the Careers page on the company’s own web site. Then apply directly to the company.

    • George,

      Please keep in mind a “recruiter” also may mean in house recruiter. That said, being in house, the above rules still apply. And Erica – excellent additions.

      Jennifer | Talent Acquisition

      • To be sure, the points themselves are very welcome. As much as some people try to remain objective and focus on your skills and experience, first impressions will still weigh in on the decision, because they are the same first impressions that the employer’s customers will have of you too. So if I as a customer would get a bad feeling when meeting a lawyer with an exposed midriff (or going in the opposite direction – a tattoo artist with no ink of his own!), then the recruiter is well within his/her right to consider the impact that that first impression would have on their business.

    • George,

      No offense but your number one comment is reversed. Yes these jobs are on other websites however many companies post the job themselves and when they don’t get qualified candidates, these firms then use recruiters.

      • None taken! Just telling it from my view, that pretty much every offer I’ve ever seen or been contacted for from a non-inhouse recruiting firm, was already out in the open. Even last week, I had two different firms come at me for the same position within half an hour of each other. So unless the employer was engaging multiple recruiters, instead of working closely with just one, it seems like they both found the job the same way I could have.

      • Actually I’ve seen more of the reverse of your statement. Most companies don’t actively recruit anyone, they farm it out to a handful of “staffing” firms which is why you see the same job ad 6 times from 6 different agencies all of them waving exclusive “right to represent” forms. Only AFTER that route fails does the job either get put on hold or thrown back into the lap of the company HR department. May be different for executive level jobs but I’m not an executive.

    • George, I disagree with you, I am an in-house recruiter and if anything, all roles we adervtise are direct from the clients we work with. If you see the same/similar role as what the recruiter you’re dealing with has posted, it’s because the client has a panel of vendors they work with. A good recruiter will always check with you and see if you have been submitted for a similar/same role and a good candidate will always check with the recruiter if the client is the same, once job specs are discussed.

      • Too funny, because the same day as you posted the above, I got a Workopolis Career Alert email. In it were two job listings: one from a recruiter “hiring on behalf of our client”, and the other; the exact same ad direct from the client themselves! Word for word, line for line, the exact same job description. Just proves my point – that most jobs are already out there.

  75. Dear Recruiters,

    This poem is for you.


    Hello I found your resume
    Please update it
    So I know where you’re coming from.

    Send me your profile
    And LinkedIn Page too
    I have a great job
    That is perfect for you!

    Do it right away
    Time is running out
    For this excellent opportunity
    I’m so excited I can shout.

    A day goes by,
    No, two, three, no five!
    I wonder if this recruiter
    Is even alive!

    I did what they asked
    In such a hurried task
    But they leave me here
    Like a half drunk flask.

    I never heard back
    From the recruiter again
    I thought they were my friend.

    But recruiters are scoundrels
    Each and every one!
    They love to lie
    They do it for fun!

  76. Out of my 20 years in my industry, and being contacted by hundreds of recruiters, only two (2) of those contacts with recruiters turned into a job that was worthy anything!!! Recruiters are worthless. Don’t use them.











  78. There’s something headhunters know, but will NEVER. tell you: You don’t need them.

    The smartest businesses save a lot of money not hiring headhunters to find staff for them. And the smartest candidates don’t need headhunters to find them work: they do it on their own, and smart employers love those go getter leader types the most.

    People who go to headhunters are lazy, and headhunters are useless crooks.

    • Briana, I don’t consider myself to be LAZY. I got my job through a “headhunter.” Is it safe to assume you can’t get a job, no how… no way? Who are you to make such an ignorant blanket statement?

    • I know this comment was 6 months old but so what…

      The smartest businesses, that’s an oxymoron. Business isn’t smart, it’s either profitable or bankrupt, no in between. Aside from a handful of companies like Microsoft and Google most corportate HR departments are nothing more than Payroll/benefits clerks.

      Now if you happen to be related or friendly with someone in a company that has some pull then yeah, you got a leg up on the rest of us but then that’s where networking (and sometimes nepotism) comes in.

      The worst first interview you can have is with the company HR department. They can be in the room but you want someone who you’d actually be working with to be there. Otherwise you can get shot down for wearing the wrong color suit or a personality conflict with someone you’ll likely never see again if you did get hired.

  79. I couldn’t imagine trying to find work when your out of work. I have a very unsatisfying job and looking for a change. I have not had any luck whatsoever. I want another job, I don’t need one. I would greatly appreciate an email, at least, saying by the way you suck please don’t apply here again. Nothing. Just send an automatic response and say go away. Don’t keep people hanging.

    It would be greatly dishearting to look for work and not get any sort of response.

    If I was an employer I would want to train someone how to do things that my company is doing. I don’t want them to bring in baggage. I want them to be eager to learn new things. But, it’s the same old thing in the corporate world. It’s about who you know and not what you know. I wished they taught me that in school. I was and too busy learning and working hard. I have been an idiot for not networking and doing a little more #$& kissing.

  80. I have to agree with Peter the last poster regarding recruiters. Many are extremely unprofessional and lack even common courtesy. When you have someone go one an interview with a your client with less than three hours notice on the same day, the least you can do is give prompt feedback — not say you will ‘definitely know something’ then not call, then when I call to follow up days later act ‘put upon’ that I dared follow up. Or the one at MP (initials ) who contacted me about a possible position, spent 30 minutes on the phone debriefing me on my Resume (including salary and reasons for leaving) and never sent me the job details or contact details like he said (then hide behind the receptionist or voicemail when dared to contact him). These are just 2 examples. For some reason rudeness, condescending behavior on the part of recruiters toward applicants is somehow accepted

    • All of you are right to feel the way you do. Sounds like some pretty bad experiences. There are lots of bad Recruiters out there, but there are also very good ones too! These are the ones that will keep in touch, will give you feedback, respect your time, and are up front from the start so there are no surprises. A lot depends upon their areas of specialty too. If anyone out there is actually interested in getting connected with these types of Recruiters, the “Professionals”, please let me know. I’m not talking about mass resume emailing. I’m talking about dealing with one, maybe two Recruiters that specialize in what you do. Maybe I can help?

      – Drew

      • Really? I disagree. I have dealt with people who I thought were “good recruiters” and who I thought I had a professional relationship with HANG UP ON ME after I CAUGHT THEM IN A LIE!! I am sorry, but there are NO GOOD RECRUITERS.

    • When employers maintain recruiters who leave such impressions – those employers do not deserve to hire better talent. They deserve what they ultimately get, thanks to incompetent recruiters.

  81. My experience with recruiters has been nothing but negative. If company pays a recruiter a dime them it’s too much. A recruiter wouldn’t know an exceptional candidate if that person bit the recruiter on the ***. They look at resumes not to find an employee, but to find a reason to reject that person. Even for temporary work, the recruiter tells the candidate to keep in touch. They are lazy and not worth second of anyones time. This article sucks.

  82. There are a lot of great comments on this article. I don’t have much to add except for the fact your site is in fact fascinating. There is so much useful career advice here and I’m happy to have found it. Keep it up, CAREEREALISM!

  83. Also, The recruiters are somewhat in the same position because they have to have a certain percentage of getting enough clients for hire. If they don’t met the quota, they will be terminated.

    • I have been a Technical Recruiter for 13 years. The problem, in my opinion, is timidity. Recruiters, Sales, etc, have become so timid in dealing with their own clients, it’s killing our perception in the industry. Rather than being Consultants and Experts and taking control of the relationship as a Consultant ought to do and the Client expects, too many Recruiters are satisfied with getting anything to work on, don’t qualify, don’t ask the right questions, and are afraid to close! If the Hiring Manager does not say “yes” right away, action stops! Sometimes you have to tell your client things they might not want to hear, but they will respect the fact that you are actually doing it! Isn’t that what a Consultant is supposed to do? It’s no wonder that most HR or Hiring Managers treat many Recruiters and Staffing Firms as just another resume bank. In the competitve Technical market, the Recruiters that actually consult and advise will be financially rewarded for it!

  84. I have been working at a company for almost two years I know everything there is to know about this store, my DM let me run the store for three weeks with no help because we didn’t have a manager. I asked her if I could get the job as being store manager she told me she didn’t think it was a good idea because I didn’t no how to do paperwork and I didn’t have people skills, but I have customers that come and tell me I do have people skills and the only reason why they come to the store is for me. She ended up hiring a new girl and she wanted me to help train this girl. I didn’t fell like it was right because she told me I didn’t no paperwork so why would I train her? Now this girl has left and she only been there a month the spot is open again I ask her for it she tells me the same thing and said she has a new manager coming in to take over the store everything she says about the reason for her not hiring me are all wrong and are lies!!! So what could be the reason why she wont give me the store?

    • This sounds very similiar to my own experience in this situation. I performed a job function that NORMALLY required a degree… ANY degree. The degree didn’t have to be related to the job or field. Anyway, I was in this position for over a year when I saw an ad for MY job. I was toold by. Human Resources that I wasn’t qualified because I lacked a degree! My argument was I was actually performing the duties for over a year, so where was I lacking? Anyway, the job was given to someone with an unrelated degree who lasted until her probationary period and was let go… the job remains vacant and I’ve moved on. Once again, mind-boggling stupidity on corporates part. Don’t get discouraged!

      • Do you fell like I would have a case on personal discrimination or race because her best friend also who also works for the company told the old manager be for she left the real reason why i didn’t get hired was because I was lazy and didn’t have management skills, but I know that she is racist because she got mad that her assistant hired a black girl and her words were, “Why did you hire her they are known to be lazy.”

        • You can try… what do you have to lose, Amber? Do you have anyone who would be willing to come forward as a witness? You’ll need that, because its hard to prove based on your word against their word. I once was let go by a manager who didn’t care for me and said all kinds of disparaging things about me. Against all odds, I convinced the CEO that this guy was bad news, and I was reinstated while he was FIRED. Of course that’s a rare thing but the truth always wins out. Sometimes, its all about regaining your dignity. I’ll keep you in my prayers…

          • Good luck! I wish the best outcome for you. Like I said before, sometimes it’s about your dignity! Like, how DARE they disrespect me that way!! Losing a job is one thing but dealisg with ignorant racism takes the issue to a whole new level. Keep in touch and remember, you’re in my prayers.

      • Correct!!! I dont’ trust recruiters… RECRUITERS ARE SALES PEOPLE… GOING THRU RESUMES TO MEET QUOTA… they dont care about the candidate, the company, the client… they all care about the sales… period… the key is to hit the right recruiter and the right timing… don’t get discouraged… it’s all about timing only… not your personality… not your qualifications… all there is the timing.

  85. During a recent job search, I met with several recruiters. I only got one call for an actual interview with a company. Unfortunately, I got this call six months after I met with the recruiter. I never heard from the other recruiters despite promises to the contrary. I’m sure recruiters work for some but, I haven’t had any luck with them.

    • Same here. I signed up with SEVEN recruiting firms. Only one has been effective. I had a recruiter call me with great enthusiasm regarding a potential interviw for a position that was PERFECT for me!!!! Needless to say, I haven’t heard from her since, and only found the job was filled when I called to inquire. I suppose once they get their commission, they have memory, and character, lapse. Good luck!

  86. Many moons ago – I “temped” at a recruitment agency – to put their “paper” information into the computer system. I was horrified!!! The people who scored the highest points were those who presented themselves best. Skills took a back seat to “attractiveness” – not entirely, but I came across my own file – and I acheived 100% in Office, typing skills were 80WPM, audio typing skills – but I didn’t score highly, as I didn’t turn up in a suit and closed in shoes. Girls who were “very good looking” were given a higher score than me – but had failed their Office test and typed 30WPM and didn’t have my qualifications, skills or experience.

  87. What a shallow article. How about the 10 things that a recruiter does wrong. Technical recruiters are ruining the field. How can one tech recruiter after another be a tech recruiter without any real hands on tech experience? And don’t even get me started on tech managers who have no tech experience. Perhaps this article applies to lawyers or doctors where all those shallow traits still matter.

    • True. The incompetence of recruiters, corporate and agency, is glaring and greatly impacts the general public. The discrimination that goes on, on so many levels, is criminal.

      The primary problem happens to be employers who maintain such recruiters. When they’re sued they dump that recruiter and commence again.

  88. According to your “10 things,” 98% of the population would be immediately placed in the “no pile.” This is nonsense. I’ve been working with recruiters for years (freelance mostly) and sometimes I will land the gig after an initial interview and sometimes I won’t. I still end up being placed by many of the same recruiters for other opportunities.

  89. This is a fairly lame article. In real life, sad to say, many if not most recruiters are incompetent and hardly know anything about the actual position(s) they are trying to fill. They’re monkies in the middle, and the best thing to do is take hold of your career, give a recruiter the info they need to relay to the client (a.k.a. hiring manager). Getting over that hump (ahem, recruiter) is easier the more you talk to them.

    • Clearly you have had a bad experience in the past and feel it necessary to lump all “Recruiters” into the incompentent category. In all reality, we do know the position and do know that there are very few candidates perfect for what the Hiring Manager is looking for. That’s why they hire us. Please remember the candidate doesn’t pay the Recruiter – the Company does. Lets hope you don’t find yourself unemployed one day and have to get through a Recruiter for your next position.

      • And may I hope, Nycolle, that YOU don’t find yourself on the other side of the fence as well. Recruiters such as yourself need to have a great big mouthful of your own incompetence to fully understand JUST how inept you surely are. I wonder how most of them manage to keep thier positions while displaying such incompetence while interviewing. I once “interviewed” with a recruiter who was absolutely unable to conduct an interview. Period. I had to take control and wound up interviewing that moron. Get a grip girl.

      • No, sorry but I’ve dealt with just about every major agency and staffing firm in the country and it’s obvious that someone calling you for a Java Developer when your resume clearly says Windows System admin doesn’t have a clue.

        That’s alright, the industry is getting its comeuppance now. Most of the emails I get are from staffing firms outsourced to India. That’s even worse than the bad domestic recruiters. They have zero information, bad english comprehension and are completely incomprehensible on the phone. If I can’t understand them how is the employer going to?
        I wish I had good advice but networking, headhunters, etc just aren’t working mostly because they have nothing to work with. I just wish they’d be honest about it. I can take a turndown but stringing me along just makes me want to go postal.
        Think outside of the box and find something other than what you find in useless articles like the one above or sad comments that come after them.
        Sorry but that’s just how it is. The old ways aren’t working and neither am I.

      • A Recruiter (not recruiter)

        Hey Nycolle, I’m pretty sure I found you on LinkedIn…and you’ve been in recruiting since January 2012, right? You certainly are an “expert”.

        Please remember that without candidates you wouldn’t have a job – yes, it is the company that pays you…for the CANDIDATES. If you had an electronics store with no inventory (that’s what you call the thingies on the shelves), you’d be screwed.

        Once you’ve been in this business for a while you’ll see that there’s a good reason people hate recruiters – because there are so many of them that suck at their jobs and don’t know how to treat people.

  90. Bull sh*t.

    All those 10 things are absolutely bullycrap because if the person is capable doind the jon then all above 10 things are bull poop. Some recruiters so anal that they get screwed big time by looking at those 10 things and miss out very good candidates. When will American change? Even after we got screwed this much?

  91. As a HR specialist myself I can only totally agree with this article. When I have an interview with a person and he or she is too upbeat or on the contrary to that too sad and blue I would probably reject this particular person, because according to my experience such people don’t really fit to all sorts of working companies and so on. Thank you for sharing this, this might be very helpful to those people who are looking for abetter working position at the moment.

    • In other words, you are looking for a boring lame mediocre person that you can try to fit into 20 different positions, that won’t create a conflict. Great. And no wonder I don’t use recruiters.

    • Ummmm… you consider yourself a “specialist”? Holy Cow! You made my day honey!!! Go back to sleep. Let me know when you’re job hunting for yourself. I’m an HR manager… and I EXPECT you to be upbeat as your present yourself to my clients. I wouldn’t bounce you for having that great quality and confidence in yourself; however, I would bounce you out the door for being as arrogant as you just presented yourself to be. Are you just starting your career in recruiting, or are you simply stupid?

  92. Question, what if you were contacted by a recruiter on the phone after they found your resume online? I spoke with him and he said I would be a good fit and would get me set up with an interview. After not hearing back in a week I tried contacting him again but could not get through until 2 weeks after the initial “i’ll set up an interview”. He apologized and said he would set the interview up and let me know of the next steps. It has now been another week. Should I try contacting him again? Am I being a pest or should I be aggressive in obtaining this interview? Do recruiters take a while to set up the interview or will they forget about you if you do not contact them because they are busy with other things?

    • If the recruiter was hired by a client to search for candidates then it would take 1-3 days to setup the interview. In reality, clients who hire recruiters need to fill the position within 2-4 weeks that includes the on-boarding (paperworks, drug test, background check).

      Other recruiters don’t have a solid deal with a client yet. So they collect resumes and submit them to several clients. If a client ‘bites’ your resume then the recruiter will call you again.

      In either case, it would help to ask an email copy of the job description from the recruiter then send your updated resume (that fits the job desc) with a note to the recruiter that you are highly interested. Good luck!

    • The recruiter said you would be a good fit. He’s just trying to get your permission to send your resume to the client (and probably does think you’re a good fit). That doesn’t necessarily mean the client will agree. So it is entirely possible the recruiter sent your resume to the client and the latter turned thumbs down. Happens all the time.

    • Absolutely get back a hold of your recruiter. Stay in touch as much as it takes. Your recruiter deals with many candidates a day, and sometimes it takes you calling them, and making that connection to stop all else and find out about you and the position(s) you have applied for, qualified for, and interested in. Never just sit back and wait. That’s what I tell my candidates anyways. “Please do, put me on the spot.” I want to know you’re serious about finding a position and will show up for interview and the first day on the job with no issues. If I get the feeling that you would rather stay at home and collect your unemployment benefits because you still would like time off work, then of course, I’m not going to assist you as hard as I would my other qualified candidates that are serious about finding a position. Sometimes the energy you put off, is what it takes. As long as you are serious, then your recruiter will see that, and work hard for you too. I will take the time with them when they call, and check out other positions even if I haven’t heard whether there’s an offer yet to discuss or not. I’m sure there’s no good news for you on that position, but don’t allow your recruiter time to forget about you. They deal with a lot during a days time with all the contract positions that are out there. Stay in touch:) We are here to find the “perfect” candidate for the client, with the skills they are seeking, and we strive to do so. But if we fail to do so, then we not only failed our client, but our potential candidates too. There are many qualified out there now, in this economy, but there’s that one who will prepare their resume and skill set exactly what the client is looking for, land the interview, and impress the client (hiring manager) with the outstanding, up-beat personality. That’s all that it takes. Difficult? Yes and no, but just some effort, and believe me, there’s a lot of people out there, from my experience, that don’t really want to work.

      I do agree with Leia – as she stated, you want to get the full job description from your recruiter. I always try to e-mail that out to my candidates that are even close with experience that my client is seeking, or at least talk with them via phone and pull out more experience in the field that they’ve had, but have failed to list it on their resume. Another thing that I always tell my candidates, is that I want everything listed on your resume, and I mean everything, and I will take it from there. I will fit the resume to the position, but I have to have it all in front of me first. Enhance, and beautify the resume for the client. Put what’s important where it needs to be. Professional Summarys should always highlight the required skills that you have experience in that’s required for the position, and then the preferred. In my book, there’s not a such thing as a too long of resume. Not to me. Let’s get the important stuff and move forward on creating what the client wants to see.

    • Stick with it. Contact the recruiter every few days via phone and email call whatever you have to do to let them know you are still around and very much interested. If not they will forget to send that email or make that call to the hiring manager in reference to the job.

    • Don’t put All your Eggs in One basket.

      No one is better “selling” ones self – Then’ One’s Self

      Make your self Linked-In profile apply to jobs on it ..And..

      Go on and apply – make sure to send a cover letter’ always with ones resume.

      I have 2 cover letters, one is business professional, simple straight to the point and the other is creative and shows my unique or charming side.

      Be that said- use your best judgment on which to send, whom.

      Phone Interviews are not my strong suit- but when having on be ready, prepared with answers to questions, have resume in front, smile when talking , stand up with little movement , look int he mirror helps facial expression- have short answers to questions and be honest- if you like the job ask for the 2 interview, if it doesn’t fit your fancy decline.

      You will know after your off the phone how it went- by your GUT’ feeling..

      In person interviews- Have a Sales Pitch’ elevator Speech.. It’s a 1 min intro “speech” with 3 things- feature, benefit, outcome-example

      Your selling your self’ think like you -r- the product

      Take interviewing in person as more of an interacting, conversational arena. Not a drill back an answer to their questions, and when you answer try to bring in a point back to your “Sales Pitch” how you can offer what they asked to there organization..

      You want to leave – with them not forgetting that you were even there-\

      So, right -and I mean asap – you get to computer email a Thank You” for the interview” and personalize it- If you are on top of your game send a personal letter to them in Mail-

      Be persistent ask also whats the processing in hiring, how many other candidates are up for the position.

      Ask them what you can do to put yourself above them” as leveraging your self in front..

      Don’t be afraid to soft – or hard close for the Job..Depending upon the type of job..

  93. Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.

  94. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  95. I want to make a list of “Top 10 Ways Recruiters Ruin Lives” … or maybe “Top 10 Ways Recruiters Should Commit Suicide” … no, no, wait. How about “Top 10 Ways Recruiters are Completely Useless People Who Want to Feel Like They Have a Purpose in Life”?

    I’m starting it now. I’ll update you soon.

  96. What do they mean by “outdated” physical appearance. It sounds like recruiters don’t like you if you’re too old. I find this offensive.

  97. There is one more thing that influences lots on decision making while in an interview. It is unintentional behavior which is strong. Many inexperienced recruiters tend to use intuition and personal preference methods which is non-professional as well. Just need to know this before coming to an interview and bet ready for that.

  98. The problem my husband has realized is that the recruiter knows nothing about the actual vocation. He’s had 20 something yr old recruiters ask him questions that make no sense whatsoever about his line of work- my husband has actually told them the questions didn’t make sense. It’s crap that these people hold the ultimate upper hand in whether you’re put through nor not when they don’t know their own hand from their ass!

    • Exactly, this is more like top ten ways for recruiters to be even more lazy and useless roadblocks to getting a job then they already are. Exactly what is left for the recruiter to do if all those things are taken care of? So now they not only know nothing, but do nothing also. This just further cements me never using a recruiter… thanks for that.

      I will celebrate the day when recruiters and HR people no longer exist.

    • Not is all cases, you should be looking for qualified recruiters. Our recruiters for accountants hold CPA’s. We have a young hedge fund recruiter who did accounting and operations for hedge funds for over 5 years. Today’s market is tough, you can’t blame the recruiter, you are in competition with allot of people. It’s not easy finding a candidate that the employer wants, especially if they are picky.

  99. Great article and it makes perfect sense. I for one have not had much luck with agencies. I have many job interviewers through employment agencies but have never gotten a decent job using them. All the ‘good’ jobs that I have been hired for were all on my own.

    The reality is, if an employer is looking for a candidate through an external agency and posting the position on their site, the agencies candidates are at a disadvantage. Why would the employer want to pay a fee when they can hire on their own?

    I prefer to sell direct as the middleman (the ageny) just adds an unecessary layer. If the middleman made things easier, which they don’t, I’d be inclined to agree with the agency approach to job searching. I am not a lazy job seeker so they are pretty useless in my opinion. There’s a reason job sites normally have the option to unlist agency ‘spam’ positings. I agree with Ema on this one.

  100. OK, here’s my question:

    When you’ve been rejected for a job, why won’t a recruiter/hiring manager come out and tell you so? I’ve interviewed recently for two jobs, and in both cases when I followed up 10 days later asking “where do you stand in the hiring process?,” the responses were always vague, such as “We are still in the process of interviewing candidates and will be in touch soon.” Why don’t they just come out and say “Unfortunately, you were not selected among the final group of candidates.” As a job-seeker, I would MUCH rather know the truth so I can get closure and move on.

    • Couple of reasons for this seemingly rude behavior. One is time. No one has enough of it and once you’ve decided not to hire someone they’re yesterday’s news so it’s time to move on. Remember, the HR folks have jobs already and really can’t relate.

      More importantly everyone in HR is afraid of getting sued, and companies can be sued for anything these days. So no one is going to say anything about why you didn’t get the job that could result in some kind of discrimination suit. At one company I worked at (now defunct) we had a $30K tolerance level for nuisance laws suits. If we could buy you off for less than $30K it wasn’t worth it to us to go to court.

      When it comes to the actual hiring managers they’ve been coached by HR not to say anything, and who really wants to give people bad news anyway? That’s what HR people are for, so it will be very hard to get any feedback out of the actually hiring managers themselves.

      • > Couple of reasons for this seemingly rude behavior.

        Umm, it’s not only “seemingly” rude. It is, in fact, rude. There might be legitimate reasons for this behavior, but that just means that there legitimate reasons for this rude behavior. It doesn’t become less rude just because it is motivated by necessity rather than by capriciousness. Nor does it become less rude because it is your job to do it. It just means that it is your job to be rude on occasion.

        > One is time.

        That is actually not a factor in this case. Since the HR was responding to someone who already contacted them, it would take just as much time to inform them of rejection as it would to stonewall them.

        > No one has enough of it and once you’ve decided not to hire someone
        > they’re yesterday’s news so it’s time to move on. Remember, the HR folks have jobs
        > already and really can’t relate.

        There is something else to remember though. You interview at least 10 people for each person your hire. Which means there is 10 times as many people who will be rejected as there are people working for the company. That’s a lot of folks to form an opinion of your company and to spread that opinion around.

        This goes doubly so for recruiters. A bad experience with 1 recruiter will most likely be communicated to 5-10 different friends and family members. It will reflect on the agency as well as the individual recruiter. And given that most agencies specialize in some field, that means that in a short period’s time most people in the field will share that opinion.

        • You’re right. More than that, any rejected person, who did not get the proper feedback from the a recruiter, could be sooner or later the would-be client of this recruiter.

    • Because most hiring managers don’t want to admit they base their decisions on personal opinions of how they like you and they don’t want to seem unprofessional.

  101. I’ve heard a lot of comments about interview attire playing a big role in how the interview gets judged. After all, a first impression is made in seconds, and a large part of that is your attire.

    However, one thing they never touched upon in College was an, “outdated attire” causing an issue. Is this relevant in all industry interviews, or just the fashion industry?

  102. I was interviewed for a long term temp position – met with three people was at the company for over two hours and told the next day that I had “poor communication skills” — recruiters feedback was only “applicant did not ‘communicate’ their background sufficiently.” I cannot think of what I did wrong. They didn’t ask me anything I couldn’t answer and I did give examples of my past experience and how it would relate well to this project

    • I’ll tell you what poor communication is. Long term temp. What does that even mean? I have never found a recruiter I could work with.

  103. As a Professional Recruiter with over 10 years experience, I’d like to add an important one that wasn’t mentioned. Do NOT arrive way too early to an interview. I know you think it is well intentioned and shows your eagerness to find a job, but 1) You look desperate, and 2) You are basically saying you don’t respect the Recruiter’s schedule, since they have to interrupt whatever they were doing to see you early. It is actually a big turnoff and shows that you also do not follow directions. ARRIVE ON TIME, or not more than 10 minutes to your scheduled interview.

  104. I have an honest question. I don’t want to let employers know (including temporary agencies) that I just earned my MBA in 2011. It makes me look overqualified and I know that I am not. So, I don’t tell them this. I graduated with a undergrad in 2009, but I haven’t worked (for pay) since 2007. I’ve been volunteering and I was told from two temp agenices already that I need to have “recent work experience”. What is “recent” mean? 1 year ago? 2 years ago?  I’ve been told that 1. working on a degree counts as work, since it is WORK. and 2. doing volunteer work is still WORK even though it is not paid, it is a great way to get experience. So, is what I heard WRONG? So, how do I find a job when it has been 4.5 years since I worked for pay? I was told to go back to the temp agencies so I can find paid work, but two of them have already turned me away. Why do they say that my education is not “Work” when we all know you have to be able to work on a team and you have to have time management skills to get your reports done and to earn a busienss degree. Please help

    • I usually do not separate pro bono from paid work. As long as the volunteer jobs have applicable skills to what you are pursuing in your career, it should not matter. But I have definitely seen a bias against people who are not currently employed. You can also create a skills resume (usually used when switching careers) that highlights projects completed and professional accomplishments. Good luck.

      • My solution to the “we don’t like unemployed people” is I just work for myself. It’s easier than putting up with incompetent managers who don’t deserve to be in tech. I have never meet a recruiter I could trust in NYC.

        • Drew – by the sounds of it, you never had good relationships with recruiters or your managers, did you think that maybe the problem was you?
          Maybe you were not able to secure a job through a recruiter because you were actually no good.

      • Inept as Recruiters are they are the gatekeepers to employers in 2012.

        Having met quite a few recently I find them intellectually challenged yes not challenging.

        I quote a real example from a recruitment company in the UK (MP).This was in relation to a position with the Arcadia group – what the recruiter who could have been no more than 23 said really does beggar belief. – “My client does not look for people who show an entrepreneurial fleur it is not what the company is about.” I am so glad Mr. Green was not present for the sake of this recruiter.

        As for attire when is someone going to tell male recruiters that they are neither rock stars nor are they footballers with gelled up hair, and extremely large knotted ties and please, please someone tell the females to lay off the permanent tans and overpowering use of perfume. If these beings are to be the gatekeepers to clients then heaven help us mere mortals the candidates.

    • You need to start putting your MBA down to account for the time gap. How long did it take you to complete? My MBA program was two years. You do not want employers/recruiters to think you were doing nothing while you were actually earning an MBA! If you get an interview, you will be asked about that time period, and they will find it very odd that your MBA was not on your resume when you explain.

  105. Recruiters are nothing more than corporate HOBO’s that play “match maker” with employers wish lists;  The challenge with them from the employer perspective is they spend too little time actually talking to a candidate, and are in love with everybody they send.  

    Our company used them in the past, and will never use one again.  The fees they want are laughable, and believe me, when you negotiate with them, they will fold like a cheap shirt.  From a candidate perspective, they for the most part are monumentally clueless in working with anyone who does not exactly meet the criteria, which is a “wish list”…  What they refuse to understand is there is a difference in what companies desire and what they will actually hire.A recruiter who knows this, (and believe me, “very few” if any do) will actually “recruit” to fit the actual performance needed for the position.  10,000 recruiters in a lake is a great start……

    • Depends, companies need to link up with the right recruiters. Ones that will send you good candidates and they may not be folding. They negotiate to keep good relationships, if the candidate is not willing to bend then they will not be able to negotiate. Some agencies have 3 recruiters trying to fill the same position, they have gone through 100 people for you to find that one person. I used to work for a company that did everything in house, I spent weeks trying to find a good candidate to fill a spot on the team, the quality of people were horrible. On paper they looked great but some were unable to communicate at all.

  106. My personal strategy that seems to work during job interviews:

    Get a fresh haircut

    Wear a new dress shirt

    Give myself ‘the talk’ before (“Okay, you’re going to be yourself, yet also be on your best behavior”.. etc)

    Plan to arrive 1 hour early, then just sit and relax somewhere close by the interview spot (coffee shop)

    Remember peoples names – especially the name of the person interviewing you. Thank them by name for
    their time when the interview is over.

    Remember that if they can’t see that I’m the best candidate for the job, then it’s their loss.

    Pat myself on the back for giving it my best attempt.

  107. Thank you, J.T. O’Donnell. I have a good insight of what role is played by a recruiter. I would like to add the top 10 reasons for rejection may become an addition for some companies. I see people who dress like they are going to a middle school to study and have name tags that identify them as part of the company. 

  108. I think the gist of this post is that people in general don’t like to be brutally honest and tell people what they really think and what really happened. We like to let people down easy. In a career context, people often find it hard to learn about what they’re doing wrong because no one ever tells them.


    • I am brutally honest with any hiring manager I talk to about a position. I tell them, if you do this, this and that, I will quit. Because from experience, I know what things a manager needs to succeed. And if the manager breaks their promises, I know it wasn’t my fault. Otherwise, I just work for myself if I am not taking a chance on another manager/team. My latest new rule. Don’t work for a manager without tech experience. The same can applied to any profession. That’s like working for a manager of a hospital who was never a doctor.

  109. Most job seekers have a huge misconception about recruiters. They don’t understand that they in fact are not the client. Often job seekers are under the impression that a recruiter is here to help them find a job. That’s simply not the case. A recruiters primary role is to help employers recruit for a specific position. If you as a job seeker fit those requirements, great, a recruiter just helped you get a job in the process. Otherwise, your placed on a shelf until the next time a suitable position becomes available.

    Now understanding the reality of the situation a job seeker can do many things to make themselves more attractive. I would advise following the suggestions J.T. O’Donnel made in the post. Also read the lively discussion between Emma Hammer and RecruitingANIMAL in the comments above to gain some more insight into the Recruiter/Job Seeker relationship.

    David Inzlicht

    • Recently I had been for a job interview which went very well. The interviewer nearly offered me the Role but was only waiting for some kind of approval from
      his higher Manager. The Agency verbally confirmed me that the hiring Manager was keen to get me on board and waiting for the above approval. I was kept hanging for a week and after that Agency confirmed that the Role was filled internally.

      I got back to him asking what was the Reason for Rejection but all he mentioned was it was not case of

      Rejection at all, but they just had found someone to fill it internally.

      I was actually interviewed directly by the higher Manager 4 years ago and I wasn’t offered the Role then. I kept wandering if that was the reason for Rejection but was re-framed as mentioned above?
      Because the Recruitment agency advertised similar Role again after a month and when I applied/emailed him he seems to ignore me!!

  110. any candidate that exhibits these behaviors is not an “A”layer and beyond the help of a recruiter. They ought to try a life coach!!!

  111. any candidate that exhibits these behaviors is not an “A”layer and beyond the help of a recruiter. They ought to try a life coach!!!

  112. How ironic. An HR manager grumbled, complained, and whined about an interviewee who grumbled, complained, and whined, so therefore “doesn't fit the company culture”.
    I think I popped a fuse.

  113. One things recruiters will tell you: if they have a job that you fit. They will be over you like a rash!

    Recruiters only put you forward for positions they have advertised if:
    1. they have a job that you fit
    2. You will represent their agency in front of their client well enough to ensure their future business.

      • That’s deep and insightful, Charles, and amazingly apparent, now that you mention it. I’m really going to let that soak in and guide me in my course to find meaningful work in a thoughtful manner, that is simpatico with both my future employer’s beliefs, talents and values and my sincere own. I feel ya Brother. Thanks!

  114. Outsourced recruiters working for multiple clients in a third-party broker relationship, and are variously called headhunters, search firms, agency recruiters, recruitment consultants or agents.

  115. With a great attitude about your skills, how do you avoid falling in the trap of #7, feeling overconfident, arrogant, self-centered?

    • Good question… to hell with all of these self-deprecating rules as to how to successfully paint yourself over and lose your dignity.

  116. You could post this article every single day. It's that useful. Job seekers should take those 10 things and re-play recent interviews in their mind and try and see if any of them apply.

    • Thanks, Elias!

      It is hard to hear, but if people are honest and think through past situations, as you so smartly suggest, I do think they will see what went wrong.

      Glad you stopped by to comment – thanks for sharing!

  117. I would add one thing that I think sends a bold message..Being prepared about the company, it's principal's and the vision and mission. These are all usually on their website, or googled somewhere. A little preparation goes a long way, for making the case on why they should get another interview. If you really want the job, your ten are essential, plus the preparation. Thanks for your post.

  118. Phil,

    How can it be against the law to say you're boring. Or uptight. Or too lively for a staid bunch of people like those we have here.

    You would have to say they think I'm boring (or lively) because of my religion, race, age, ethnicity. Mind you some people might try that.

  119. Great post! So many clients I have worked with have stumbled repeatedly because of these seemingly innocuous types of things. One thing I would add to this advice is that people need to realize that a recruiter’s first impression literally starts with the first awareness of a person’s existence! If that first awareness comes from a referral by a trusted professional who is a mutual acquaintance then it immediately colors the lens through which the recruiter views the candidate. Likewise, if the first awareness the recruiter has of the applicant is a sloppy, unfocused resume that was uploaded to a database, it immediately directs the recruiter toward a thought process that will probably not be beneficial. Professional recruiters will always attempt to keep objectivity intact but it is human nature to judge the content by the source through which it was received. This is more often than not what separates two otherwise equal candidates! It is also the reason why people need to start by examining their message before they send it. J.T. posted above that “if you are angry, fearful, or confused, it’s going to show. You must find a way to feel good about yourself and your ability to contribute.” If your friends and acquaintances know you as “giving, reliable, trustworthy, etc.” then how willing do you think they may be to make a recommendation to someone else about you, and when they do, what is it that you think they will say? Your attitude (and who you are) when you are alone is quite literally the beginning of what other people are going to understand about you. Recruiters are really quite adept at reading people very quickly and weeding out those who are sincere from those who are not. True, sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. However, any good actor knows that to convince the audience, he must first convince himself that he is the character he is playing. When he is successful, he brings enough of his own characteristics into the role that, when meshed with the character’s, becomes a new creation that is real, organic, and believably alive. Therefore, every time he finishes a production, he has learned, grown, and been changed by the experience and a little bit of that character will stay with him forever.

  120. Having been a technical recruiter; you hit it right on the dot. Now as a student Employment Advisor, I do try and develop my students to be aware of their social skills and how they might show an employer that they not only understand the business, but are enthusiastic about the company in particular.

    After all, there are hundreds of people out there who might have the technical skills necessary to complete the job. Either way though, each company does things differently and you'll still have to train and adapt to their particular methodology. As an employer, I can always teach someone how to do the job. But how do I teach them to get along with everyone else and really meld with the rest of the team? At a certain point, the interview is about personality match and culture fit.

    Thank you for putting such ideas into a succinct and clear presentation.

  121. Great article JT! This is the key piece for me: As a result, recruiters have to determine a candidate’s marketability much quicker. Translation: candidates must pay even more attention to the power of the first impression factor. People skills, attire, etc. all become more important when competition amongst talent is this fierce.

    The truth is, I pick a candidate as a recruiter who will wholly represent my brand, and not let me down. If you fail me, I might not get another brief = reduced fee income. If I think you might not fully represent my brand, then am I going to put you in front of my client: no, never in a month of Sundays! Clients don't pay my fee's because I bring them average – I have to deliver consistent high quality

    One of the key issues I always tell job seekers to ask recruiters, is how are they renumerated? If it as a percentage of salary/total package, and its a one-office recruiter business, then if you get rejected once you are very unlikely to be immediately put forward for another job: reasons of my brand. If its a multi-branch recruiter, then its possible to get multiple opportunities; but beware, part of their remuneration may be based just on the volume of applicants they find, and that's just a numbers business.

    Job Seekers need to build up relationships with recruiters before they become job seekers – I'll work for you then, and guide you forward, helping you remove the large rejection lumps and improve in areas where I know you will gain me large fee's again and again. Come to me as a career switcher who needs a job tomorrow, in a polyester suit, and I'll eject you through the door quicker than Paris Hilton's bodyguard!

  122. Quite a good and mostly practical article, thanks!

    I think most of those things are too prevalent, but can be fixed pretty easily. Candidates need all the help they can get to stand out in this current economy. Beyond not just doing the wrong things, in your opinion what are some simple things that will help a candidate stand out positively on a first impression?

  123. If you haven't been hired a while, I'd recommend Googling yourself. As an artist, I have run into a situation where the words used to tag me on a video project were not the most flattering. Great to promote my video, bad for my professional life. Since I didn't make the tags or try to promote the video, I didn't know they were there. So sign up for those Google Alerts and look at them so you know what's going on. No surprises.

  124. thanks for the insight. I feel like as a recruiter they should tell you all those things so you can get prepared for the interview. But i guesss they are not obliged to do so.

  125. Great points, JT. While I've only been following your blog for a short time, I appreciate the *unvarnished* quality of the truths you speak – and it validates my own approach. Here's a link to a post I wrote just yesterday (proving my “great minds think alike” theory) about why recruiters are not necessarily the job-seekers friend: Recruiters: Useful? Or Not?

    • I visited read Emma Hamer's site article but her site only takes comments from members. So here's my reply that posting.

      Dear Emma,

      You seem to be a Canadian. Well, I'm a recruiter in Canada.

      It's possible, as you say, that if a recruiter sees that a company has been looking for a long time she might send over an unsolicited resume to see what happens.

      It sounds like a good idea. And someone might get a job as a result. But I don't know anyone who does that.

      We will market a candidate to companies that might need someone like her. It's not social work; we do it so we can make money but what a fantastic free service if you get it.

      Here's something you're right about.

      If you don't have any strong skills a recruiter can't do much for you.

      So, if you want to make a career change, I can't help you.

      I mean if you have five years experience in inventory management and you want to move into pharmaceutical sales, an area in which you have no experience, you're not really a good candidate.

      But if you have good experience as a bookeeper, payroll clerk, Supply Chain Manager, Controller, Sales Rep, programmer, etc etc etc, and you want to continue in that career path, you might as well send your resume to a recruiter.

      Why not have it in her database so that she can give you a call if a good opportunity for you comes her way.

      However, most of the people I place do not come to me. I'm paid to find people who are hard to find and I go looking for them.

      So, if a recruiter calls you on the job, you would be wise to be nice and establish a relationship. Because she might call you out of the blue with a good next step in your career – for no fee at all. The employer pays the shot.

      All in all, Emma, when it comes to recruiters you've got a bad attitude. You only see the negatives. The people you work with might not be suitable candidates for recruiters — that's the impression I get — but that doesn't make us the enemy.


      Recruiting Animal

      • Hello Recruiting Animal,

        Unfortunately, you didn’t register with Disqus, either, or we could have had this discussion where everyone else can see it, and make up their own mind. Instead, I pasted your comment into my site’s comment box; I hope you don’t mind.

        When I wrote about ‘recruiters’ in general, I meant all ‘providers of temporary, contract or permanent staff’. While you may not push candidates ‘on spec’, and I respect that, many recruiters do. My attitude is not negative; it is based on the experiences of my clients – most of whom are in fact career shifters or career changers. I stand by the gist of my post: that recruiters tend to place people that are easily pigeon-holed, and will not go out on a limb to promote an excellent candidate from a not-so-obvious background, and in that sense, recruiters are NOT the job-seekers best friend. The recruiter’s / headhunter’s / placement agent’s first and primary concern is accommodating their client: the company that has posted a vacancy. And, again from my experience, when there is a vacancy, companies generally are even more risk-averse than normal, and terrified of making a hiring mistake; hence the insistence that only candidates that have extensive experience in the exact same job and industry will be considered.

        I agree, that if you’re a bookkeeper, and wish to remain in the bookkeeping field, it can’t hurt to send your resume in to a recruiter – but you can do just as well without one, if you are savvy about using your contacts, both professional and personal, to uncover opportunities.

        And on another, but related note: recruiters that place you have to make money, as well – which comes out of the hiring company’s budget = less for you. Placement agencies, for instance, have an hourly mark-up of 15 – 20%; that’s their price for doing your marketing for you. If the candidate found the job themselves, they could negotiate 15 – 20% more per hour, and still stay within the hiring company’s budget.

        Ditto for recruiters/headhunters; they commonly charge between 10 and 20% of the first year’s salary as their placement fee – also money that, if the candidate found the job themselves, could be added to their package.

        What I tell my clients is that recruiters and placement agencies are for LAZY job-seekers, or for job-seekers who are still employed, therefore have no time to network, and just want to change companies.

        For everyone else: developing and leveraging your network is the way to go. But thanks for your feedback!

        • Emma,

          You sure sound negative to me.

          Your problem is that recruiters can't place career changers.

          Well, companies come to us because they need people with special skills. Your clients don't want to market the skills they have; they want to be juniors again. Common sense says that this is going to make them less marketable. It's not my fault.

          And you think that if a recruiter was not involved in an employment transaction her fee would go to the candidate. Maybe but I doubt it.

          In my experience, when people like your clients call people like me we often take the time to tell them how to job hunt on their own. But they don't want to.

          Having a network is good. Seth Godin agrees with you that it's the way to go.

          But good networking takes time and effort and, to some extent, a personality and skills that most people don't have.

          And you have to build and maintain your network on a regular basis. Most people won't do that. They want to start networking when they lose their job.

          Also, networking, like most marketing, is going to work best when you have a distinct professional identity. What JT calls a brand. Did someone say pidgeonhole?

          • Hey, RecruitingANIMAL (do you have a given name? I find it a mildly awkward to call you Animal…)

            Anyway: enough already with the “You have a negative attitude” – I don't. I just have a different perspective. Let's try and discuss the issue, without getting personal, shall we? I'm happy for you that your recruiting business is flourishing. Well, so is my Career Strategies business – and I do work with my clients to a) help them redefine themselves and learn how to articulate their value (you might call that “branding), and b) coach them through the minefields of professional networking.

            As with all generalizations, there are always exceptions to the rule, and you're obviously proof of that. But a less strident tone wouldn't hurt. Disagree with me, by all means, but don't disrespect me. Or anyone else whose opinion you don't share.

            Thanks (and apologies to JT for taking up space on an discussion only tangentially related to your original post).

          • Emma, who said I don't respect you? I don't think you're right, that's all, and I read you as having a chip on your shoulder about recruiters.

            I myself hardly qualify as the exception when it comes to decent recruiters. I know a lot of nice recruiters. And smart ones too. I'm sure there's low-lifes but I'll bet there's a

            few career coaches who aren't the cat's meow either.

            My problem with your remarks is that you think that we are generally unnecessary and you don't provide good reasons to back up your argument.

            If the average person was so good at networking, neither of us would be in business. Networks would replace me and no one would need to learn about networking from you.

            But they aren't. They might be with the advance of online technology. But probably not.

            I will agree with you that recruiters are, often, not that useful to job hunters. But I have a business friend who wanted to move from one of the big four accounting firms into

            industry. So he was a job hunter even though he had a good job. And who sent him out to about six interviews? Recruiters. And did he get hired by a good company? Yes.

            In fact, he was hired twice. Didn't like the first firm so he left when a recruiter called me after a couple of months. (JT I'd like to talk with you about that last point).

            Emma, here's a funny article you might enjoy – – I thought it was pretty funny. (Familiar title, JT?)

            Emma, speaking of JT, I'm sure she won't mind us livening up the comment section. What's worse than a blog without comments? And a lively conversation is not always couched in neutral terms. But I won't turn it into a flame war. You don't have to worry about that.

            As for my name. hey, we live in a multi-cultural society. Have some respect for my diversity. Please.

            Best Wishes from me.

          • Well, “me”, we're done here. I think we agree to disagree. I did enjoy the article you linked to – actually, it partly supports my position that recruiters are not necessarily in it to help job-seekers … Even if the article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, and probably exaggerated, it brought a smile to my lips. Thanks for that!

          • Thanks.

            The role of recruiters in the lives of job hunters is an interesting topic to investigate.

            The recruiters I know are primarily involved in finding hard to find people for companies. And the passive candidate who isn't looking for a job is the key.

            So I think that most would agree that walk-in candidates are not that useful.

            However, there are a lot of ads in the newspaper from recruiters so in some sectors this probably isn't the case at all.

            Me / Recruiting Animal /

          • Hi Emma & Recruiting Animal,

            I've truly enjoyed the dialog between you two on this post. I've read every comment as you've posted them and felt like it was better to sit back and listen to your perspectives as opposed to jump in the mix. I feel this is the perfect place for this discussion and I'm grateful you were both willing to share your candid thoughts.

            That being said, the posting of this article has reminded me of several things:

            1) The term 'recruiter' is very broad in nature.
            2) There's a disconnect between some types of recruiters and the people who seek their services.
            3) The use of recruiters is evolving (or some may argue, swinging back in to vogue).

            I am really looking forward to exploring this more and providing much-needed perspective to readers of our site. In fact, I'm also hoping (fingers crossed) to talk more about it when I'm a guest on Recruiting Animal's radio show this Wednesday, April 29th.


            Thanks again for sharing. More importantly, thank you for helping our readers get better educated on the subject. Honestly, what transpired here is what I love most about blogging.

  126. Yes you did point out that the recruiter won't tell you why SHE is rejecting you if it is for more than purely technical reasons like lack of specific experience or professional designation.

    I meant on the other end. If she likes you and puts you forward but the the hiring managers don't like you, she will probably not say.

    Many recruiters long to think of themselves as being transparent. So they claim that that they are fully transparent when they say something like “It's just not a fit”. Of course, that's quite opaque, not specific at all — but there's no reason for them to be embarrassed. Only a child (or a believer in radical honesty) thinks that you have to be completely honest all the time.

    I, personally, have a terrible time telling someone I'm not putting him forward when the reason is one of personality. You never know how the person would take it. And I'm not always sure that I'm right in rejecting the person. Not everyone has the same taste in personalities as I do. (Tho I'm usually right).

    But people have a hard time taking grooming advice — and that's about something they can change. So how will they take advice about something that is unchangeable or difficult to modify. (eg an introvert is not going to become talkative in time for a meeting with a client).

    I'm almost always recruiting people who already have jobs but when dealing with someone who is out of work and having a hard time finding employment, honest feedback might be the last thing the person needs because it will be taken out of perspective as the voice of doom.

    • “voice of doom” Well, I want honest feedback, if it’s done in a loving manner. One can tell the truth like hitting someone over the head with a hammer, or they can tell the truth in a loving way. If you are positive & genuinely trying to help, it will usually go over much better. You have to care about the person. The best people I’ve ever worked for were loving people who truly care about other human beings, not just doing a job.

  127. This is great advice.. I recently had the experience of working with a head hunter who was hired to fill a sales leadership role at a company in the greater Boston area. Since she understands the challenging job climate- She put me through a rigorous interview preparation process which was both annoying and helpful. When you’re 40+ you like to think you know everything and don’t need any help.. But, it didn’t kill me to take the time to write down my answers to common interview questions and practice my “tell me about yourself” answer. Ultimately her diligence helped me on the interview for her assignment- and several others since then.

  128. I think you guys should distinguish between internal recruiters and agencies. An agency recruiter, such as myself, only gets paid if I place someone at one of clients. So it’s in my best interest to share as much information with my candidates as possible. I know damn well that if they were passed on by one of my clients because of a wardrobe malfunction or they had a negative attitude I am going to certainly tell them, so at the next interview I get them they perform well. Any recruiter would be wasting their time not sharing information with candidates, since our motivation is to get that candidate the job. On the other hand, if it’s an internal recruiter with a salary and no motivation to push for a candidate, than of course he has no duty to share feedback with candidates.

    Twitter me @gamingrecruiter

  129. You are so right when you say “they [Recruiters] aren’t paid to give you the bad news”, unfortunately this is the attitude of NON Professional Recruiters, who are only interested in the mighty $ [or what ever currency they get paid in]. People are the product for Recruiters, and it is the People who make them their money…There is potential in every person a Recruiter talks too, the better prepared and presentable the person is makes them into a candidate for clients…

    I don't believe this applies only to recruiters. I am aware of many 'Hiring Managers / HR Managers' who after meeting the interviewee, grumble, complain and generally 'whing' about the non verbal failings of each interviewee…it is the nature of the beast.

    For a Recruitment Professional to do their role and selves favours, they must groom, prepare and help develop the non-verbal skills and performance of their candidates as well as the candidates verbal presence…I know that in these politically corrected times people do not want to be seen as offending people, guess what folks, that is part of the nature of our business…identifying the shot-comings and turning them into positives…by taking the view 'from people to candidates' recruiters will make money. And not 'make money – from people' – this is how to make the profession in the same category as pimps – don'y care about the product just give me all the money…

  130. Recruiters WILL tell you you did not get the job becuase of your personality if they understand what thy are looking for…Example, we place VERY High Level Sales Executives you w2 more than 200k per year. We know our clients and know the type of agressive, outgoing, hunter mentality our cleints are looking for……

    If our candidates don't do well on the interivew with a particular client, but they are qualified for our network of cleints, then we express to them their personlaity flaws anc coch them to preform better.


  131. #1 is a problem for me because currently I cannot pay for my own food or other living expenses; therefore, I have no money for dress clothes or any clothes, including second hand, which usually is outdated anyway.
    #10 is a problem because I find it hard to be excited about a job interview with a company I have little or no interest in. I'm there for a survival check. People have told me to pretend I'm interested, to tell them what they want to hear. I'd feel like a hypocrite, like I'm misrepresenting myself and being dishonest. I'm just not good at acting and it does show. The chance of finding an opening in a company that matches my interests are very small. I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place.

    • Attitiude my freind is number one in LIFE…Job sarch, love search, self search…..Attitude..

      So based on this letter you will not find your dream job…But when you start belieiving you will find a great job..And tell yourself everyday, 10 times a day, that you are great and a great job you will find…

      Then and only then wil you find you dream “job”

      • Agreed Greg-Attitude is number one.There is no such thing as a job interview.You are making a sales call and your resume is marketing collateral.You are selling the most important thing in your life “yourself”;Being yourself is key.You have to act like you do not need the job/sale -yet convey you really want it! I preach” Reserved Confidence”. Knowing what you want and what is being asked of you.Not too egocentric, yet not too bland.Selling is all about filling a need,passing on knowledge and adding value . More importantly conveying a message in the shortest time possible to leave a lasting impression.There is no guaranteed method of making a sale or landing a job.The only thing you control is yourself and the fact that you KNOW you put your best foot forward;Everything else will come in time.

    • CS, depending on where you live, there are not for profit organizations like “Dress for Success” that have Career Closets. These are typically relatively current and gently worn clothing donated to the organization. I am not certain what your current situation is, but something like this relative to your location could be tracked down through google.

    • I find this very strange. On the one hand, you say you're struggling to survive, and on the other you don't care. I would have thought if you were that desperate and that much in need of a job, you would be able to muster up the enthusiasm to actually desire whatever job it is you're going for. And let's see… fake smile or eat at night… your choice. Misrepresent yourself or pay your bills… tough decision. Put aside your moral indignation and allow your survival instincts to kick in. Hands up everybody who works for a company they actually respect and have enthusiasm for, and mushy happy feelings about. They're in the minority – life doesn't work like that, and a job, particularly at the entry level, is not for personal fulfilment – you work to live, you don't live to work – you get money to pay the bills, you walk out of the building at the end of the workday and you get your personal fulfilment from your friends and family and other shit like that.

      Cos what I'm reading here is “I'm too poor and I can't be bothered”.

      • He/She is mad at the world. They have a chip on their shoulder. It’s like the alcoholic who hasn’t hit bottom yet, they won’t get a change in attitude until they do, and until they get humble, they won’t stop drinking.

        This guy isn’t ready for any job, he may never be. Not everyone appreciates what they have, I know I didn’t & sometimes still don’t. I have to remind myself that I’m not perfect but it doesn’t matter because nobody else is either. We just have to be ready when the right fit comes along. In the meantime, I’m working on myself so I will be better when it does come.

    • Agreed! Was hoping the post pointed that out.

      Thanks for stopping by Recruiting Animal. I'm a fan of your show!


    • I concur, but wonder, If the recruiter presents you as a candidate to a client, then he/she [recruiter] must know if you have the right 'personality' – Yes?

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