Category Archives: Recruiters

Is that recruiter lying to you? How to tell.

Have you ever talked to a recruiter and had the hair on the back of your neck stand up?  …the feeling that you are being lied to?  …the nagging doubt about his sincerity?  …the dread that you are making a big mistake?

You were right!  Listen to your feelings.

Why recruiters lie

Not because their lips are moving.

Recruiters want to be liked.  They wish they could help everyone.  They can’t.  They lie.

What you should do

Whenever you talk to a recruiter you should ask tough questions about what he will do for you.  If he won’t commit to submitting you for a specific job, he won’t.  He may get lucky and a job will come in the next day, but you should not bet on it.  Find another recruiter, and another.

If a recruiter asks you to allow her to market your resume without your looking for a job, ask for weekly progress reports. Don’t let a recruiter stop your job search unless she is getting you interviews.  If she is not making progress, tell her you are going to take back the job search and do it yourself, but she is welcome to continue co-marketing you..

You are in charge of your job search. You have to know your resume is being submitted or do it yourself.  A recruiter asking for time to exclusively market you should report back and get results.  Take charge.


Something To Do Today

List all the recruiters you are working with.  Rate them.  Who do you trust?  Who is getting you interviews.

Tomorrow:  3 types of recruiters

What if there are 6 ads and you really want the job?

You see 6 ads for one job you really want.  It is so good you would quit you’re your current job just to apply.  What do you do?

High Priority Jobs

Getting your resume into the hiring manager’s hands is your quest.

First gather information. 

Is there anything that makes you think the writer of one of the ads knows the hiring manager personally?

Check the date on all those ads.  When were they posted?  What day did they appear?  List when the company and each agency first advertised.  Did an agency advertise before the company itself?  They may have a close tie to the hiring manager.  Have the ads been going on for months?  The company is either getting a little desperate, has decided not to fill the job, or the job is full but recruiters haven’t bothered to pull the ads yet because they are still getting lots of calls.

How are the ads different?   Does one include a lot more in-depth information?  Is another extremely short?  Look closely.  Do any of them make you feel like the writer talked to the manager?  You want to talk to someone who has the hiring manager’s ear.

Second work your network.

Call the people you know at the company, or invite them out to lunch.  Call up recent employees. Connect on LinkedIn to everyone at the company you can.

What can you find out about the job?  Is there someone who can personally take your resume to the hiring manager?  How about to the hiring manager’s boss?  This is still the research phase.  Don’t give anyone your resume yet.  You only get to submit it once.

Is there a recruiter you trust?  Find out what information they have.  If they can bypass HR (Human Resources) or have other great connections then work with them.  For instance, there is one company I work with that requires all recruiters to submit resumes through their online system.  But I call the HR manager and tell her when my candidates go in so she can immediately extract them.  She is afraid of missing a truly hot candidate.  Other people who submit themselves are first sorted through by the receptionist.

You really do have to quiz recruiters about their connections.  If you answer a particular ad when there are 6 ads out there, you have a right to ask why you should send a resume in through them.

Third decide how to apply.

If the job is not exciting, it doesn’t matter how you submit your resume.  Just do some quick cosmetic changes and submit it through an agency or the HR department.

For the job that really turns you on, figure out who should submit your resume.  For any company it could be you, a friend, a recruiter or an acquaintance.  Choose in this order:

  1. Someone who can hand your resume to the hiring manager and personally recommend you.  It doesn’t get any better.
  2. Whoever can get your resume past HR and talk to the manager.
  3. The person that can talk to the HR manager or screener and get you past the first cut.
  4. At this point all submissions really are equal. Do it yourself, have an employee there submit you to HR or let a recruiter you trust and who gets back with you do it.

Fourth get your resume perfect

Put the bullets on your resume in order of importance.  Put a few key words in bold to make sure the screener and manager sees them.  Get rid of bullets, lines and sentences that do not apply to the job!!  A two page resume is fine for most jobs, but the second page may never get read.

Do the 10 second test with several people.  Hand your resume to a few friends and ask them to read it for 10 seconds.  Time them.  Take it away in 10 seconds.  Ask what they remember.  Do they mention your most important qualifications and accomplishments? If they do, it’s a winner.  If not, change it.

The 10 second test is critical because most screeners and managers give all the resumes a 10 second review to try to find the best ones first.  They will probably throw out your resume without further reading if they can’t see what they want in that first 10 seconds.

Fifth submit and follow up

Submit your resume.  Call up and find out what happened two days later.  Did your resume arrive there?  Did the manager see it yet?  When will he decide?

You really want that job? After your two day follow up call send a thank you note. Give them a nudge, short and friendly.  It is amazing how a thank you note can get someone to personally try one more time for you.

Keep calling back at least weekly.  Sometimes it does take a couple of months to fill a job.  Keep your candidacy alive until it is pronounced dead by someone who knows.

Take Your Best Shot

If you really want a job.  Go all out.  There may be 100 applicants.  In some cases there may be 1000.  Use personal contacts to set yourself apart from the herd.  Make sure your resume instantly says, “I’m qualified.”  And follow up in case you somehow get missed.


Something To Do Today

Start prioritizing all the jobs you can apply for.  On your written list make sure the jobs you crave stand out.  Treat them differently.  It is worth the extra effort.

Next week:  Recruiters and the hair on the back of your neck.

What to do if there are Six Ads For One Job – part one

You see 3 job board ads with almost identical wording for a job in the same suburb.  You go online and find 3 social network ads that are almost identical from 3 more different companies.  It has to be one job, not 6 different ones. What do you do?

First decide how much you want the job, then give it the time it deserves.

You have to set your priorities first.   Would you quit your job just to apply for it?   Then it will be worth a few phone calls and some research.   Is it so marginal you would NOT quit your job if it paid 5% or 10% more than you are earning today?  Treat it differently.

Low Priority Jobs

Look at all the ads.  Are any by a recruiter you know and want to work with?  Give them a quick call.  Often you can get more information from a recruiter than from the company itself.  Ask them if you have a chance at the job.  Do you want the job?  Commit the recruiter to submitting you for the job.  Then call up in two days and ask what they have heard back.

If you can figure out who the primary employer is and don’t want to work with any recruiting agencies, just apply directly.  For low priority jobs it isn’t worth stressing out about whether an agency or a direct submission will work best.  Call the company in two days to see what happened.

High Priority Jobs

This is more involved.  We’ll talk about it tomorrow.


Something To Do Today

Look online and find a job with more than one ad. Figure out which ones are from agencies and which is from the actual hiring company.  Make this a habit.

Tomorrow:  Job Boards:  What if there are 6 ads for the same job? – part two

Are You Applying For A Job That Isn’t?

To get a job through internet job boards you have to overcome some huge obstacles.  One problem is that you apply for a job that isn’t.  The job doesn’t exist for you.  The job was posted because Human Resources (HR) said they had to post it.  They have an internal candidate.  You haven’t got a prayer, but you don’t know it.

The job isn’t?  You’ll never know.  Your only chance is to get someone to personally submit you to the hiring manager.  Then he may actually consider you for a job he has decided to fill internally.  You’ll have a chance.

Before you apply for any job ask yourself, “Do I know anyone who works there?” Then ask, “Do I know anyone who knows someone who works there?”  The best way to past all the screeners is to have someone personally drop your resume on the manager’s desk.

If you are really a fit for the job your friend, acquaintance or contact will be very happy to hand in your resume.  They get brownie points and sometimes bonuses for it.

How about recruiters that didn’t place the ad?  If they really know the hiring manager and can get you past HR, use them.  But be careful.  Ask them who they will be submitting you to.  Follow up with them.  Make sure they really submit you.  A well connected recruiter can make all the difference in the world.  A recruiter who knows nothing about the company can actually hurt you.  I’m a recruiter.  I’ve seen it work both ways.  Ask your recruiter what they will do in addition to submitting you to HR.

So the first thing to do is to figure out who can help you bypass HR and all the screeners.  Then ask them for their help.

Tomorrow:  how to get past the screeners.


Something To Do Today

When you decide to apply for a job, make a list of the people you know who already work there and a list of people who know someone who works there.  Ask for their help.

Tomorrow:  Job Boards:  how to get past the screeners.

How NOT to treat a recruiter

How NOT to treat a recruiter is as important as knowing what they can do for you.

Are recruiters getting in you way, and keeping you from even being considered for a job?  Are they annoying you and taking too much of your time?  Do they want you to fill out another form like the last one you filled out?  Are they demanding references before you get the first interview?

All those things can be annoying.  Sometimes you just need to tell a recruiter, “No.”

Here are 5 things NOT to do to a recruiter.

9 ways a recruiter can help you

I was talking to a job hunter who said, “Recruiters have never done much for me.” I understand the sentiment. It depends on what you expect.

As a recruiter I help people get jobs, but only a few people. I also prepare a bunch of people to get jobs on their own.

Some things I can do for you are:

  1. I help you get your resume to look good enough to get you interviews.
  2. I find jobs you didn’t know about and submit you for them.
  3. I talk to hiring managers and try to give you an unfair advantage.
  4. I give you guidance on better interviewing.
  5. I remind you to send a thank you note after the interview.
  6. I follow up and follow up and follow up with hiring managers.
  7. I negotiate a higher salary.
  8. I help you resign successfully.
  9. I smooth the way into your new job.

Now, you’ll notice that a bunch of those I do whether you get the job or not. As a recruiter I may not directly get you a job. I may just help you learn some job hunting skills even if I am not paid for it.

One more thing. If I find a better candidate anytime during the process, I will present him to the company. My driving loyalty is getting the best person for the job. I am absolutely committed to avoiding second best. I’ll help you, but you need to be the best candidate for a job. Live with it.

I help people get jobs. I help a few people get the job I submit their resume for. However, I have a huge impact on a lot of job seekers as I help them to become more employable.

Something To Do Today

Make a list of suggestions you have received from recruiters that have helped in your job search.  Make sure you remember them for the interviews where the recruiters are not involved.

Free career intelligence 5 ways

Here are 5 ways to get free career intelligence.  This can help you find and land a job.

1. Every day I give away useful business intelligence.  I am an expert in a few job markets. I’m a recruiter. Every time you talk to a recruiter, grill them.  If a recruiter calls you out of the blue, you have a right to be very nosey.

2. HR (human resources) people give away business intelligence.  They are experts in their company and will tell you how you fit in.  If you ask they will often tell you where you stand in the job competition. Hiring projection for 3 to 6 months into the future are often on the tip of their tongues if you just ask them.

3. Salespeople are incredible sources of information.  They also like to talk a lot.  Take a salesman from your own company, a supplier, or a place you want to work, out to lunch. Or just talk to them. You’ll find out more than you would think possible.  Often they can tell you about all the competing companies in your area.

4. The web. Indeed.   Monster.  CareerBuilder.  Look for “trolling” job ads.  What ads are there for months?  Often they are renewed weekly, but they are the same ad forever.  Those are jobs that constantly need people.  Sort by company and look for ad clusters.  Is a company creating a new project team?  Often they advertise for 3 different jobs while they have other unadvertised openings for the team that will be created. The manager job may be unfilled.  Or another team has an opening because the manager for this team came out of that team.  Keep all the possibilities in mind.

5. Every industry has a trade magazine or ten.  Subscribe.  Many are free.  There are even more industry trade publications appearing as email magazines.  There are specific trade publications for cement, computer banking systems, turkey processing, pizza shops, jewelry making, dog kennels, dairy farmers and more.  Even if you just read the cover you will be better off than if you didn’t get the magazines.

Open your eyes.  Look around.  Where do the experts go to become experts or to show off their expertise?  That’s where you need to go to get career intelligence.

Something to do today

Subscribe to 3 trade publications.

When recruiters become slaveowners

Your resume may have been thrown away because the wrong person submitted it.  You may have become a victim of recruiter ownership. (No, it is not slavery, it just feels like it.)

Paul recounted to me that he was presented by a recruiter to a company for a job.  The recruiter said, “I have great contacts there!”  Nothing happened. So Paul networked his way in and set up his own interview without the recruiter.  When the hiring manager found out that a recruiter had previously presented Paul, Paul was told that it would be impossible to hire him.  The manager would have to pay a fee to the recruiter even though the recruiter did not cause the interview to happen.  The manager didn’t want to pay the fee.

Did the recruiter lie?  I don’t know.  There may have been 4 other managers that would pay a fee that turned down Paul’s resume when the recruiter presented him. The problem is that the recruiter didn’t get Paul an interview.

Did the manager lie?  I don’t know that either. If the manager has no recruiting budget, Paul is out of luck.  If the manager has a recruiting budget and someone else who is free is almost as good, Paul is out of luck.  The manager may be hiring someone who is better and paying a fee, but is still using the recruiting fee as an easy excuse to get rid of Paul.

In the end, Paul doesn’t get the job.

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. (Abraham Lincoln)

Recruiters have to get paid by the company when they find someone a job. They can prove they submitted your resume and a company accepted it.  In many cases that is all they can prove. So the contracts often say that is all they have to prove to get paid.  A company always has an incentive to hire someone NOT submitted by a recruiter–the recruiter’s fee.     But they will hire the best person despite the fee for critical positions.

Just as it can be a mistake to have a recruiter submit you, you can make a big mistake by submitting your resume yourself. If you submit yourself first, the recruiter can’t get paid.  Even if he can get you an interview because he knows the hiring manager, he won’t even try. You submitted through the website and got turned down by an HR receptionist, so the recruiter will not resubmit you. Your unpaid resume could knock one of his paying resumes out of submission.  He won’t submit you because he doesn’t “own” you.

So why use a recruiter?  Because the recruiter may know about a job opening you don’t know exists. Because in many cases he really can get you past the HR department.  He may be able to get you an interview that you can’t get without him.

So, what do you do? Hand your resume to the hiring manager personally if you can.  Use a recruiter if the recruiter will be more effective.  Submit yourself if you found the job yourself and a recruiter will be no more effective than you will.

Then wait patiently.  It may feel like you are being sold into slavery if you are told you are not being hired because the recruiter “owns” you.  But that is a risk you and the company take because in many cases the recruiter can get you a job you can’t get on your own.

Something To Do Today

If a recruiter tells you about a job you didn’t know exists, you need to be fair and let him submit you.

If you know about a job you have to decide whether you can network your way to the hiring manager (best), if a recruiter can get you an edge in hiring (next best), or if you should submit yourself to the HR department (still okay).


Later:              Non-competes

Coyote traps – when to gnaw off your arm

Glass ceilings

The hours game

Resume spreading services and warnings

There are two types of resume spreading services. One sends your resume to many job search websites like Monster and The other sends your resume to hundreds of recruiters and companies like ResumeRabbit,, and

The dangers

If you are employed, your resume may be sent to your current boss, or to a website he will access while searching for employees.  He may be upset to see you are looking for a job.

Your resume may also start a life on the internet that you can never stop.  As companies and sites sell and exchange masses of resumes, yours may be preserved for years and repeatedly displayed as “newly submitted.”

The reality

Getting your resume out to 1000 potential employers and recruiters is called a resume blast. It could get you hired. However, in most cases the people receiving your resume do not read it.  They are bombarded with resumes from similar services.  If you use the services that send your resume to recruiters and companies, your resume must have an impact at first glance.  If it requires a thorough reading, you are doomed. The only one of these services I check daily is ResumeSpider . I am sure there are some other useful ones somewhere.

The pay services like ResumeRabbit that send your resume out to 75 job boards get you a lot of quick exposure and save you time.  You also completely lose control of your resume. Once you send it, there is no way to indicate you have been hired.  It will be out on the internet forever. and also will get your resume to a lot of employers, but function more like Monster or CareerBuilder.

Resume spreading services may be just what you need as long as you are not trying to keep your job search a secret.

Something to do today

Many job boards like Monster have resume spreading services that advertise on their sites.  You can also Google the phrase “resume blast”.


Coming up

Your pay reflects your interview

You, the movie

How to find out if you really want to join a company

Much of the history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. (Thomas Sowell)

We have a local Fortune 1000 company that has a reputation that makes top local people avoid the company.  That company spends a lot of money on relocating people from out of town.  However, some people love working there.  So how do you decide? Is it a good company for YOU to go to work for?

How to research a company

First off, Google the company and find out all you can about it.  Check out the company website too.  Find the easily accessible information first.

Now start asking people you know.  You can occasionally ask coworkers, but don’t interrogate them weekly about a new company.  Find other people who work there as well as those who used to work there.  If you only ask people who left, you may get a very skewed picture of the company.  The people who left the company, left for a reason.  The people who stayed there, stayed for a reason.  Find out the reasons for both.

If you start hearing a lot of people say they stay for the job security then believe them.  Don’t assume the place reeks for job advancement unless the people you respect who left say the same thing. In other words, believe why people say the stay.  Believe what people say about why they left if you really respect their work and teamwork.

Whether you are using a recruiter for this particular job or not, ask a few recruiters what they think.  You would be surprised what recruiters find out about companies.  We talk to a lot of people who want to quit from, or move to, any given company.  We naturally sift through gossip and sour grapes to find the truth.

Find out what you need to know about a company before the second interview starts.  Be prepared to give a quick “yes”.  If you have your doubts about the company, be prepared with tough questions.  Find out whether you really want to go there or not.  Be ready to “just say no.”

Something to do today

Start talking with people about companies long before you even start to look for a job.  Asking questions is called business intelligence.  Be intelligent.


Coming up

The jobs on my resume