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Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Talent Strategies

The 5 Biggest Lies Recruiters Tell Candidates

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A little while back, Monster took a look at the top lies candidates tell recruiters, warning employers of common tactics used by job seekers to embellish their resumes.

With the hiring market showing signs of life and the war for talent heating up, it was time to turn the tables for an honest look at the top lies recruiters tell candidates.

Obviously, these statements are often true and crucially important when communicating with candidates.  Most recruiters are honest and upfront with job seekers. Largely caring and committed, recruiters really care about every candidate.

The bad news is that many of the most common put offs, while usually well-intentioned and largely innocuous, are as integrated with the recruiting process as applicant tracking systems.

The good news?  Avoiding these “worst practices” instantly translates into observing best practices, an improved candidate experience and an easy win for your employment brand.

5 Biggest Job Search Lies Recruiters Tell Candidates

1. When a recruiter says:  “I’ll keep you in mind for future opportunities.”

It might really mean: “Your resume will sit in our database untouched until you apply for something else. If you’re not right for any of my open reqs, any memory of you ends the moment I hang up this phone.”

Best Practice: Tell candidates up front whether you feel there will be other possibilities for them down the line. Offer them an explanation into your rationale. Provide suggestions for relevant training or experience to increase their chance of landing a future role.

2. When a recruiter says: “Salary depends on experience; there’s no real set amount.”

It might really mean: “I already have a figure with almost no margin for negotiation. So your expectations are really the sole determinant as to whether this conversation continues or if I’ll keep you in mind for future opportunities.” (see above.)

Best practice: An important element of every basic phone screen involves learning about a candidate’s motivations in seeking a new opportunity; often, salary issues top this list.

While it’s not appropriate to require a candidate to disclose their current compensation or targeted salary during an exploratory screen, it’s crucial to address this directly if the candidate discloses an increase in pay as a primary driver or as non-negotiable.

If you’re screening for a specific position and know the range, tell the candidate if the numbers match. Disclose an even slight variance; the candidate, not the recruiter, should determine whether or not there’s a willingness to negotiate for this job.

Having this conversation up front can avoid complications later.

3. When a recruiter says: “You’ll hear from us either way.”

It might really mean: “We’ll send you a templated rejection letter from a blind e-mail adddress, if you’re lucky,” leaving the candidate to wonder if they’re still in contention.

Best Practice: Most applicant tracking systems send an automatic confirmation via e-mail to applicants; many of these same systems will also send an email to let candidates know when a requisition closes and they are no longer in contention.

Adding your name or a personalized message can help make a little effort go a long way.  It’s as easy as pressing “send.”

For candidates contacted for a phone screen, it’s a best practice to let them know directly if they’re not selected. If they took the time to follow up and answer questions, common courtesy suggests you should do the same.

It’s OK to turn a job seeker down professionally; not informing a candidate about it is not.

4. When a recruiter says: We’re interested, but we’re still looking at other candidates.

It might really mean: “An offer’s been extended to someone else, and we’re really hoping they’ll accept so we don’t have to go to Plan B: you.”

Best practice: Be upfront about where the search stands. If there are some outstanding questions or concerns surrounding a candidate, let them know; there’s a good chance they’ll be able to provide information to inform a pending decision.

If the hiring manager’s delaying making an offer for reasons that have nothing to do with the candidate, make sure they know exactly what those are and the timeframe.

If you don’t know this information, let the candidate know the next time you’ll speak with the hiring manager and follow up with both.  Status quo is almost always better than no status at all.

5. When a recruiter says: “I was passed your name by a mutual contact who asked to remain confidential…”

It might really mean: “I found your information online.”

Best practice: This line remains incredibly common when engaging candidates for the first time.

While candidates show increased willingness to speak with someone based off a referral, it’s important to let a candidate know how you developed the information to contact them.

This ensures active job seekers know what’s effective while passive candidates stay informed about the visibility of information.  It also leads to better sourcing in hiring reports which is often self-reported by candidates.

This information helps recruiters and employers know which resources are most effective to make more informed decisions when establishing and executing search strategies.

About the Author: Matt Charney (Twitter: @MattCharney) is Social Media Engagement Manager at Monster.com and has served as the Managing Editor of MonsterThinking for its first 380 posts since its launch in April 2009.  Recently recognized as the #2 influencer in online recruiting by HRExaminer, Matt is a frequent speaker and writer on Gen Y, social media and talent technologies.

This article was originally posted on the Monster Employer Resource Center

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  • http://CareerXroads.com Gerry Crispin

    Nice blog

    “It was a tough decision between you and the person we selected. It came down to their experience with our specific [product/service].”

    What it means: This is what we tell everyone whether they came in second of twenty second. In your case there was chemistry but who can explain that?

    Best practice: I can think of only two companies that actually tell the truth. I can think of 10 recruiters who do it w/o telling their firms. Best practice is to train yourself to give quality feedback and then have the backbone to walk the talk and manage the fallout…and there will be fallout.

  • Pingback: The 5 Biggest Lies Recruiters Tell Candidates » US Hospital Careers – Hospital Career News & Information

  • Kelli

    Good information. The take-away is that timely, honest, and professional communication between recruiters and candidates is key. A recruiter’s time is just as valuable as a candidate’s time. Mutual puffery and lack of communication needlessly wastes time.

  • http://www.peregrinegroupllc.com Ward Feste

    The title of the article should be “Lies CORPORATE Recruiters Tell Candidates”. Although I have said #2 above (to give my client’s the leverage in $ discussions), as an executive search recruiter for 25+ years most of the other “lies” are either not applicable or not said by me or my staff. Having a specific target audience, commercial real estate nationwide, we are extremely upfront with the candidate pool we develop for our client base as they may be our future clients themselves one day and appreciate being treated confidentially and with integrity.

  • http://growingforward.net Scott Asai

    So basically all these 5 responses mean “no.”

  • http://www.radicalevents.ca Daniel J. Smith

    Interesting read. What I found most amusing (only because I’ve seen it first-hand) is that these “fibs” used by recruiters are also used by alot of managers and HR people who don’t know really what they are looking for, and if they do, are not upfront enough with the candidate to tell them why they are not suitable “at the present time”. Very rarely have I seen a candidate eliminated from selection, only to be called back and miraculously hired….Too many people in the hiring position go by timing and how they feel on a particular day- rather than what is in the best interest of the client, or even better, finding someone just polished enough that the client can “clean up” the candidate and form them into the type of employee that they can use….Thanks for the reveal, Matt

  • Carol Gill

    I wish there was more professionalism and ethical behavior amongst recruiters, interviewers and even the HR departments. Yes – they are all busy – but part of thier job is notifying the interviewed people their services were not needed. But – no, probably 75% or more of people interviewed NEVER hear back at all…. that is soooo rude. So rude. Then just a marginal few that get the thank you but no thank you letters get anything personalized or a call. The rest are templated emails or letters. I worked for a city that actually had it thier policy and procedure manual…how many days the job was to be “open”, how many days to reply to prospects, and once interviewed how many days to let the prospects know the answer. That was GOOD POLICY. Too bad others don’t have rules and regs like that.

  • Megan

    Great posting! Job seekers need to know these details, especially college grads who have not played this game with recruiters yet.

    When a recruiter says: “You will be hired on at xx per hour or xx per year but upon permanent hire you will be offered something in the high xx dollar amount”

    It might really mean: “We have no control over this variable but we want you to accept a job with us in order for the firm and myself to snatch a big bonus, whether you get xx salary in 90 days or not”

    Best Practice: A staffing firm should be honest and tell you that they have no control over this and all they can do is assume that they will pick you up at a similar rate of pay.
    Staffing firms have 0 control over this variable. It is not a number that they would even have access to, as your salary will be re-negotiated with the permanent company after your 90 days with the temp agency or sub-contractor. I have taken a $20k salary cut by believing a recruiter about a raise I would be awarded upon going into the permanent position. Not only that but my resume is now scarred with a short-term position which I have to explain at every interview, if I’m lucky and they don’t trash my resume at first glance.

    This is the game that we refer to as government contracting. This and more are the reasons why I’m getting out of this mess. It’s fun for the first several years and it’s GREAT to build your resume and grab a free Security clearance but the chase is a headache after a while and ultimately there is NO job security as a government contractor or sub-contractor.

  • Will Chriss

    Two other extremely dishonest tactics by recruiters I’ve seen repeatedly over the years:

    1. Fake job postings for the purpose of gathering contacts and expanding one’s rolodex. How do I know these jobs don’t exist? Because I’ve seen postings repeated verbatim a number of times over the years by the same recruiting firms.

    2. “There seems to be a good fit, but first tell me more about yourself. Who have you interviewed with? Who do you talk to?” Obviously a ploy for recruiters to drum up leads they themselves can then target.