RockIt Careers

The Recruiter is Not Your Friend

Have you ever walked out of an interview with a Recruiter and left with a really good feeling, thinking, “This could be the one?”

“It sure seemed like the Recruiter liked me. I mean, she said that she was definitely interested in me and would call me when she was scheduling second interviews with the hiring manager.”

Then a week goes by and . . . nothing. “Should I call her?” you ask. You decide not to. You don’t want to be a pest. You’ll give it another week.

Week number two comes and goes and still no word from the Recruiter. Now you’re getting worried. Maybe something happened. So, you decide to call and when you get her on the phone, she says, “Hey there! Sorry I haven’t been in touch. You’re definitely still in consideration.” Phew! I guess I had nothing to worry about. 

But she goes on to inform you that, “We are still interviewing other candidates and will reach out to you when we’re ready to move forward with interviews with the hiring manager.” Wait, what!? Other Candidates!? I thought I was for sure getting an interview with the hiring manager and now I might not be? WTF!

Unfortunately, this happens a lot. Recruiters play a little bit of a seduction game in that they want to find several good candidates and keep them on the line with assurances that they are positively in the running, even if they aren’t sure that you’ll be one of them that they will push forward in the end. It can feel a sort of like this:

The big mistake most candidates make when this happens is that they put their job search on hold, waiting to get the next interview or job offer. Today we’re going to talk about why this happens and what you should do about it.

Why Do Recruiters Lead Me On?

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Ultimately, recruiting is all about numbers. Internal Recruiters for a company are driven by “time-to-fill” goals. In order to shorten the number of days it takes them to fill positions, they need to identify several candidates for the hiring manager to interview. This requires them to develop what is called a “candidate pool” (they call it the nicer sounding name of “talent pipeline” today, but it’s exactly the same concept). This mean that the Recruiter has to get you interested enough to stick around waiting for the opportunity.

Recruiters at staffing agencies are a little different. They are driven by commissions. Just like internal Recruiters, their objective is to get a job filled as quickly as possible. So they go out in search of talented people and encourage them to apply for a job through their agency.

Both are more interested in filling a job order than they are in you. Though there are exceptions to this rule, most of them don’t truly look at you as a “person,” you are a “candidate with a resume attached.” This is becoming more true as the reliance on applicant tracking systems further sanitizes the hiring process.

So why all the double-talk when you’re speaking with a Recruiter and asking for updates? Because they are either (a) keeping you around just in case a better candidate with more skills and experience doesn’t present themselves and/or (b) the candidate the hiring manager really wants doesn’t accept the job or gets hired by someone else in the meantime.

Here’s the good part, though. You now know something most people don’t. You can take some actions so you don’t feel like you have to rely on the Recruiter for your career success.

What Can I Do About This?

The first thing is to not take anything personally. Any action or decision made by a Recruiter is a business action or decision. It’s not directed at you personally (even if it does affect you personally).

Secondly, you have to be aware that the Recruiters role is not to be your concierge into the company. They are a hurdle. You either have to hop over them or go around them. How, you ask?

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One avenue I hope you all take is to start networking more and meet business owners and managers. You know, the people who make the final decisions. Making personal connections with them personalizes you to them. It’s much harder to turn someone down when they know your name, face, and story. If you help them understand how you can benefit them in some way, you’ll have a greater chance of getting that offer you’re hoping for.

Sometimes you have to apply to a job where you don’t know the hiring manager personally. However, you still want to get around the Recruiter. So, you’ll need to do some research and investigation. Go on LinkedIn and run a search by city, company, and job title to find the possible hiring manager. Also, see if you are connected to someone who works for the company. If so, see if they might help you find out who the hiring manager is. Once you discover the person, be old fashioned and send your cover letter and resume by mail to that person. First of all, this will make you stand out because you’re doing something that virtually no one else does anymore. Secondly, you’re getting it in the hands of the decision-maker directly. No more hoping and praying that your resume doesn’t fall into the black hole of the applicant tracking system. No more relying solely on the good graces of the Recruiter.

Another option is to ask people that know you well and who you know are highly esteemed (have been promoted, given more responsibilities, etc.) by the company you’re applying to, to advocate on your behalf with the hiring manager. It helps if that contact and the hiring manager know one another. Even if they are mere acquaintances, the fact that someone is actively trying to help get you into their company says a lot about you.

As a Recruiter, there were many times my hiring managers came to me with names of people I should look for in my system to interview or physical resumes. I can assure you, every time I got a request like that I did it. Every Recruiter does. Doing this, puts you on the short list of candidates where you might be ruled out otherwise.

Finally, when you are working with a Recruiter, do as much as you can to befriend them. Personalize yourself through the stories you share in your cover letter and during your interview. Make sure that you’re addressing how you can help fill what the company needs. While you’re trying to be hired, it should never be about you. Like any good salesman knows, the more the buyer likes you and understands that you’re there to serve them, the more likely they are going to buy. If you do a good job at this, the Recruiter can be turned into your advocate instead of your hurdle.

So go around the Recruiter when you can, but always ingratiate the Recruiter with your charm while you’re working with them. Use this two pronged strategy, and more often than not, you’re going to get the call, “You’re hired!”

About RockIt Career Consultation Services

At RockIt Career Consultation Services, our mission is to help you discover your true strengths and use these strengths to set your course to something more rewarding and exciting in your career.

We will guide you on what job or career best suits you and then help you market yourself through your resume, your networking strategies, your interview skills, and your negotiation to ensure that you are doing something you love and are maximizing your earning potential. Throughout, we will be there to keep you motivated and determined.

We’d love to help you launch your career and encourage you to learn more about the services we can provide you on your path to a more prosperous future. With our help, you will become the applicant every company wants to hire!