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Candidate Help & Advice

Seven Reasons Recruiters Are Hurting Your Career

Recruiter photo from ShutterstockMy first two posts in this series were Seven Reasons Your Resume Is Hurting Your Career and Seven Reasons Your Employer Is Hurting Your Career. This time, let’s examine ways recruiters may be hurting your career and things you can do to avoid such situations.

Often I meet job seekers who say they are “looking for a good recruiter.” When I ask them why, many say it is because they are looking for help in finding a job. These job seekers are laboring under the misunderstanding that they can find a recruiter that will help them. But, of course, recruiters work for employers and not for individual job seekers. Why? Follow the money.

Most recruiters I know are good people. They want to help others find jobs. But their focus is on filling positions with the best job seekers, a process that rewards them with a paycheck if they are an internal corporate recruiter or with a one-time fee if they are an external third party recruiter. In the process of doing their jobs, some of their actions can hurt unsuspecting job seekers.

Here are seven problems recruiters can pose in your career and future job searches:

1. They post “jobs” that do not exist, which results in lost time applying for such postings, revising resumes, writing cover letters, etc. You can avoid much of this by minimizing the number of job postings you pursue.

2. They make the job application process laborious with questionnaires, testing, etc. As with #1, you can avoid much of this wasted time by minimizing the number of job postings you pursue.

3. They post jobs whose requirements cannot be met by most mere mortals, which results in missed opportunities for those who don’t even try (and might have had sufficient qualifications to land the job). You can avoid missing these opportunities by ignoring the impossibilities and pressing onward with your pursuit when such jobs are with employers you desire.

4. They ignore your resume, even though you would be a good match, because they are inexperienced and don’t see how you would fit. You can avoid being ignored by networking your way into the company and having someone recommend you direct to the hiring manager…  thus short-circuiting such recruiters.

5. They perform screening interviews based upon rigid, check-the-boxes criteria and miss the fact you could be a superstar in the job. You can avoid being passed over by making sure you interject your brilliant information (such as why you are a great fit for the job) in your interviews and communications.

6. They aren’t very good, but pose as career coaches, resume writers, etc. as a way of supplementing their income. Some such recruiters provide good services, but you need to avoid the bad ones by checking how long they have been providing such services, their recommendations on LinkedIn, and their references.

7. They submit your resume to a desirable employer before you do, which can create major complications as mentioned in Chapter 8 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),

 The employer may be interested but, because they have received the resume from a recruiter, they may decide to pass on the job seeker…

You can avoid some of these conflicts, which only occur with external third-party recruiters, by requesting they notify you before submitting your resume to employers.

Positive relationships with recruiters can be very helpful. Now that you know situations that may not be helpful, you can better avoid them and improve your odds of success! Good luck and best wishes.


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