In many situations, a candidate’s first direct contact with an organization will be with a company recruiter. This person’s job is to accumulate interested job candidates for the open position(s) of the company. A recruiter can do this by placing posting ads in places like or networking with others to uncover candidates on their own.

A recruiter generally will be a friendly, out-going person whose job is to make you feel comfortable enough to freely interact with them while they are evaluating both your resume and their experience with you. In some cases, a recruiter will just hand over resumes to a hiring manager and allow them to do all the evaluation work, but usually some review and screening will occur prior to the hand-off.

Job Seekers do themselves a disservice in the job search process by falling into the trap of believing a few widely held myths towards recruiters. These myths serve to cloud your judgement and can negatively impact your actions and decision making when interacting with the recruiter.

So, what are some of the myths that job seekers seem to have with company recruiters. Let’s now look at a few of the most common.

• Recruiters Take Their Time and Fully Evaluate Each Candidate – Job seekers meticulously prepare their cover letter and resume for each position being applied for. The thought is that these documents have to be wonderful because the recruiter will pore over them. The reality is that most recruiters carry a very large open requisition workload and are spending seconds on a new resume, looking to see if they have some key words that will cause them to either read further or discard. It is up to you to write concise documents that allow the recruiter to quickly identify your qualifications.

• They Work in Your Best Interest – Like in many situations the answer to where a company recruiter’s interest lies is to follow the money. Company recruiters do not work on your behalf, just like an outside “headhunter” does not. They are both paid by the employer to perform a task which, in this situation, is to assist in filling an open position. So, anything you say to a recruiter is likely to get back to the hiring manager regarding how you feel about the position, the interviewer, etc. This especially comes into play during the salary offer when a recruiter may be acting “on your behalf”, but the reality is they are aligned with their employer in trying to secure your talents at the lowest price point possible.
To be honest, there are many situations where company recruiters do not even appear to be working on behalf of the organization that pays them. This occurs when achieving hiring metrics, such as “time to fill”, get in the way and clouds their judgment regarding hiring the best person for the job. In this scenario, they are just pushing a candidate without any regard for whether they are a good fit or will be successful in the role. This is why it is up to you to determine if a position is right for you.

• Recruiters Expertly Know the Position – Recruiters generally only know what they have learned from a job description and a brief conversation with the hiring manager. It is up to you to communicate with them in a way that they will understand your qualifications. This is especially true when seeking a more technical or skilled labor type of position.

• Recruiters Make Hiring Decisions – While a recruiter can influence the hiring decision by who and how they present to a hiring manager, they do not make the selection. While it is nice if you have a good relationship with the employer recruiter, the reality is you may never interact with this person again. It is imperative that you connect with the hiring manager both in terms of the hiring decision and that this person will be your future manager. 

The role of a recruiter is often misunderstood by a job seeker. Their job is to find qualified candidates and present them to the hiring manager for formal evaluation. All this is done on behalf of the employer who is paying for their services. It is important to know that, as a job seeker, you are responsible for yourself and your career during your search and should not rely on the company recruiter for guidance or assistance.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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