If you think you've heard it all, you're either a therapist or a recruiter. (Of course, sometimes people treat their recruiters and HR people in general like therapists, but that's another post.) The thing is, when much of your job is spent evaluating people and talking with them, you learn to spot lies pretty darn quick.
Some of these lies are little things, and don't matter. "How are you today?" "Great!" Let's face it--very few of us are actually great when we interview, as we're nervous that we have spinach in our teeth or something worse.
Elizabeth Webster, senior staffing manager in WinterWyman Contract Staffing's accounting, finance, and administrative division, was so kind as to let us into the types of lies recruiters hear every day of their lives.
1. The reason you left your previous role
This one comes up often. Being fired does not make you a bad candidate! It's a difficult conversation to have, but it's important to be truthful about the real reason you left your last role. Some of the brightest and most successful people in the world have been fired at some point in their careers. It is only debilitating to your job search if you lie about it. A proficient recruiter can help you figure out how to relay this information appropriately in an interview and present yourself in the best light. When you bend the truth, it creates anxiety and can negatively affect your performance. If you are open, you'll be prepared for the reference checks and employment verifications, and the possibility the companies you are interviewing with may have someone in their network from your old company. I realize it can be scary to share this information with your recruiter, but the more we know, the better we can help you.
2. Your interest in a role we are presenting you
The advantage of working with a recruiter is having another set of eyes looking for positions that are in line with your background. While we always strive to make the best possible matches, there are times when we present a job that might not be appealing to our candidates.
Saying no will not hurt our feelings or make us angry, and we will certainly not stop calling you on new positions. It will save time--yours, the company's, and your recruiter's. There is no sense in setting up an interview if you know you won't accept because the commute is too long, the pay is too low, or any other reason. If we call you on a job that isn't right for you, just tell us so, and tell us why, so we can fine-tune our searches.
3. Your job search and interview activity
If you are busy interviewing and using multiple resources for your job search in addition to your recruiter, that's a good thing. Not only do you have more opportunities to land a job, your interview activity can, at times, serve as leverage. If your recruiter is aware of exactly where you are in the interview process for other companies, it can help with negotiating or getting a hiring manager to move faster with their decision about you! I will not stop trying to get you a role if you are in the interview process for other jobs. When your recruiter is aware of your activity, it will only help you and your search.
4. Your skill sets and information on your résumé
Not everyone is an Excel wizard or has used every software on the market. There is a job out there for everyone, at every level. Be honest with yourself and your recruiter about what you can and cannot do or what you have and have not done. Eventually, you will be asked to showcase your skills, and if you have misrepresented your abilities to land a job, you will end up at square one. Don't waste your time trying to convince your recruiter you have used a software or done a job function if you have not. Misrepresenting your past experiences to try to become a more "desirable" candidate is just prolonging the process of finding a job that is the right fit for you. Avoid attempting to mold yourself into the candidate that is right for the job. Instead, find the job that is already perfect for you!
5. Your salary history and requirements
It is a common misconception that recruiters are trying to lowball candidates to make more money. The truth is, most of the time, the more money you make, the more money we make. My goal is to get you the highest rate possible. The fact is, what you were last earning does not always dictate what you will make in your next role. If you feel you are currently underpaid, there is a chance you are, so be honest about it and give your recruiter the opportunity to help you get paid your fair wage. Avoid trying to be strategic when divulging your previous pay and target pay, and instead, be honest. I want to get you the highest rate possible, but I also don't want to overlook you for your dream job because it is paying $5,000 lower than your "minimum." You don't need to start high with your recruiter as a negotiation tactic; we are on your side.