We get it – people hate recruiters. So many people have had terrible recruiting experiences that there’s an entire (hilarious) subreddit dedicated to it. /r/recruitinghell, for the uninitiated.
We’ll accept a lot of the blame for it. Recruiters have led candidates on, been unresponsive, straight up ghosted, lied on job postings, and created entirely fake jobs to résumé-farm. There is a lot of unethical behavior that goes on in recruiting – but we’re not all bad, I promise! And we’re not all to blame.
Plus, in our defense, we get candidates that lie to us about things they really shouldn’t be lying about.
The funny (sad funny, not haha funny) part is that we’re the one party in the application process that this shouldn’t be an issue with. Our goal is to get a good, clear picture of where you’re at, and present it (should it match what our client is looking for, of course) in an appealing package to our client.
That being said, that’s where lying gets confusing for us recruiters. We need an honest picture of where you’re at and where you’ve been. So, without further ado, here’s a list of things you really shouldn’t lie to your recruiter about.
Why you left your prior company
Unfortunately, we often get people telling us they left the company when, in reality, they were fired.
Lying about your reasons for leaving a company is the cardinal sin in recruiting. These things have a way of coming out, and we’ve seen it bite candidates right in the butt on many occasions.
If you’re honest with us, we can usually help you out. Our clients trust us and trust our judgement, and if we tell them to take a good look at you regardless of what happened, they usually will. This is one of those cases where being honest is truly the better option.
How proficient you are with a certain technical skill
Many clients request that candidates take coding assessments. This is true for companies that use recruiters and those that don’t. Typically, in these situations, the process will be a phone interview, then an assessment, and finally, an (or multiple) in-person interview(s). “Embellishing” skills is sadly still prevalent, and it makes the entire hiring process much less efficient.
If you’re not technically where the company needs you to be, be upfront about it. Let’s say a company needs 5 years of Ruby and you only have 2, don’t lie about your experience and say you have 5. Be honest about your experience, but stress that it’s what you’re really passionate about and that you’re taking courses to expand your knowledge and build your experience quickly. While that may not land you an interview, it’s better than wasting your (and the recruiter’s and the company’s) time on an opportunity that will, in all likelihood, fail once the coding assessment is administered.
What salary you’ll accept
When it comes to lying to your recruiter, another cardinal sin is what you’ll accept when it comes to salary. If you tell us “I’d make the move to this company for $60,000” and our client sends you an offer for $60,000, it’s definitely not ok to change your mind and say “well actually I want $70,000.” It makes you look horrible to our client. It makes us look horrible to our client – like we all misrepresented ourselves and wasted their time with a bait-and-switch.
Tell us what salary you really want to make. The company will tell us if it’s something they can accommodate or not, and we’ll go from there and work something out that, while maybe not 100% where you want to be, will be closer than the bait-and-switch salary.
Whether you’ve applied for the job or not
Picture this: you’re recruiting for a job. You search your CV database and find the perfect unicorn candidate. Literally perfect. You call them up, have an awesome 30-40 minute conversation with them about their experience, skillset, salary expectations, and you talk about the company itself. Company name, what they do, what the role entails, etc. You end the call, and submit the candidate to the company.
But then the company emails you back and says “oh yeah they applied already.”
Why didn’t the candidate say “I applied with them a few days ago” when you were speaking on the phone? Probably because they wrongfully thought that being submitted by a recruiter would increase their chances.
It unfortunately doesn’t work that way. Once you apply for a position, that’s it. You have chosen to represent yourself, and therefore, no recruiter can represent you for that particular job. If we try to submit you after you’ve applied, we’ll get an email back from our contact at the company stating that you’ve already applied and therefore won’t be considered ‘our’ candidate.
So, if you’ve already applied for a job to which we’re trying to submit you, please be forthcoming about that. It will save us all time.
We’re here to help you!
The TL;DR of all this is, don’t lie to us! We’re here to help you and to make sure our client gets the best possible fit for their position, and none of us can get any of that if the relationship if built on lies.