12 Lies Told To Job Seekers

Clark Finnical
Aug 12, 2017 · 9 min read
Adam Carter — https://www.flickr.com/ — Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off

~ Gloria Steinem

As job seekers, we start our job hunt with no restrictions on what we can or cannot do. However, practically everyone we meet tells us, “What we have to do.”

The sad thing is, because most job seekers don’t know any better, they fall for what they hear. I know I did. That’s why I wrote this chapter. I am not saying everyone who speaks to you during your job hunt is lying.

I am saying, you need to be careful. Much of what is passed off as common knowledge or wise advice doesn’t actually help you.

Much of what job seekers are told……helps the person who is telling you.

OK, you’re probably asking, “So what do I do?”

Don’t be quick to accept everything you hear.

When faced with decisions where you are uncertain…

…seek out people who are outside of the process…

…people, who won’t benefit from your decisions.

People who will genuinely care, for example, a parent, a relative, a professor or teacher, a former boss; someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in the decisions you make.

If you have to make a decision without the benefit of one of these people don’t rush that decision, consider the pros and cons and then decide.

In the meanwhile, read the rest of this article. You’ll quickly understand why I say these things.

One more thing, I’m not trying to bring you down by sharing these facts. I am trying to help you understand the people you’ll be working with; so you won’t be manipulated and so you’ll make decisions that are best for you, not someone who could care less about you and your future.

Job Postings say, “Do Not Contact The Hiring Manager”

This seems logical, at first. However, because the Application Tracking System rejects anywhere from 75 to 90% of applicants; and, the system is notorious for misreading resumes; If you receive an automated rejection letter, you have nothing to lose and potentially, a lot to gain by contacting the hiring manager.

Kelly Kinnebrew, Ph.D, an Organizational and Leadership expert stated,

“If you are targeted, [brief] and make a strong case for why a contact would want to speak with you, I have found outreaches directly to hiring managers, VPs of talent and the like give back a reply probably 8 out of 10 times.”

In other words, don’t ever think the automated rejection has sealed your fate.

There is a widely held belief that the right hand of an organization knows what the left hand is doing. Don’t believe it for a second.

Once, I received an automated rejection the day of an interview. The hiring manager never mentioned it and I was in the running for the position for months. I’ve read LinkedIn posts where others have experienced the same thing.

External Recruiters say, “Your Salary Expectations Are Way Too High”

As Liz Ryan, wisely points out,

“If personnel agency people and recruiters tell every job-seeker to lower their expectations, they’ll have an easier time finding those job-seekers work — and collecting their finder’s fees from employers.

It’s much easier to put people into low-paying jobs than high-paying jobs! Agencies have more low-paying jobs to fill than higher-paying ones.”

Liz recommends vetting recruiters so you can find one who appreciates what you have to offer instead of making you think you’re worth less than you really are.[1]

One of my readers shared how she got the old bait and switch when she went to a large staffing company. When she first met with them the salaries were great. When she came back, those jobs were no longer available, but jobs paying half as much were available. The same thing happened to me the last time I was in the job market.

Human Resources says, “Only Apply to Jobs If You Have 80% of the Requirements”

HR says this because it reduces the number of applications they have to review. The 80% requirement sounds logical, until,

· You read a job description that is one continuous sentence and 15 lines long.

· The hiring manager says he’s so busy he didn’t have time to create a job description. In fact, the description online is only a template so it doesn’t describe the actual job.

· The hiring manager tells you they haven’t fleshed out the roles and responsibilities for the new role.

· The job requirements appear as if they’re looking for a Nobel prize winner.

I’ve encountered all four situations.

I’ve applied for positions where I didn’t have 80% of the requirements. Because of the exposure I received during the interview, I was asked to interview for another role.

When I did that recently, I was called back to interview for another role. That is where I work now, three and a half years later. I know others who’ve done the same thing.

Hiring Managers say, “You Are A Top Candidate”

They tell you this because,

They want you to stop looking and focus on this role so you’ll still be available when they actually make a decision.

What’s worse, they don’t know if the top candidate will accept their offer. Hence, they need someone if the top candidate declines their offer. They don’t know if the top 3 candidates will accept the offer. Hence, they may tell anywhere from 3 to 10 candidates, they are top candidates.

Recruiters say, “You Must Put Your Address On Your Resume”

This sounds like a harmless request, at first. After all, people have put their addresses on resumes for years. As The Avid Careerist, Donna Svei, wisely notes,

Recruiters want your home address because studies show a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more money to be as happy with life as someone who walks to the office.

In-house recruiters know people with long commutes often eventually quit “because of the commute.” If the job holder quits, the recruiter looks like they don’t know what they’re doing and the recruiter must go through the hiring process all over again.

As a result, candidates with commutes longer than what’s viewed as tolerable, often go to the “no” pile. Donna recommends giving your current or most recent employer’s city, instead.[2]

Hiring Managers say, “We’ll Decide By The End Of The Month”

They tell you this because,

They’re hoping it will make their position top of mind in your mind. As a result, you’ll be less likely to look elsewhere. In other words, they want you to still be available when they get around to deciding.

Even though some hiring managers may want to come to closure by the end of the month, these are so many factors beyond the hiring manager’s control.

I’ve seen this at my current work. We interviewed a great and well-liked candidate, however the hiring manager was exceedingly busy responding to her boss’s requests.

As a result, the candidate wisely landed another role with another company.

I attended church with someone who, before he was hired, had to tell his current employer, “It’s been seven months. If you don’t make a decision now, I’m moving on.“

External Recruiters Say, “Great Work Culture!”

I am always amused when I see a recruiter do this.

How would the external recruiter know it’s a great work culture? They don’t work there.

The fact that he’s touting the work culture tells you something about the salary. (If he can’t tout the salary or the benefits, the only thing left is the work culture.)

Hiring Managers And Recruiters Say “You’re Overqualified”

This is like being told, ‘That outfit doesn’t make you look fat.’

It sounds complementary, but its hiding something.

It is a standard response when the recruiter doesn’t want to or cannot tell you why you didn’t get the job. Recruiters don’t want to tell you why you didn’t get the job because they don’t want you to be mad at them, in case they have another role that is an ideal fit.

A LinkedIn connection contacted me saying she really wanted to work for a certain organization. She interviewed and was later told she was overqualified. She asked me why the recruiter would say such a thing.

After reading her message, I explained, as delicately as possible, her English skills prevented her from landing the position.

A close friend was told he was overqualified. This gentleman is a very tall man with a deep voice. He is articulate, experienced and very capable. For all of these reasons, I believe the hiring manager was intimidated by him.

Many Websites Say, “You Have To Use Our Web Site To Find Jobs”

Websites say this because,

1. The greater the traffic on their site, the more they can charge advertisers.

2. The longer you stay on their site, the greater the likelihood you will purchase their services.

3. The more traffic on their site, the more information they will collect. The more information they collect the more they can sell.

We all know Google indexed the web. Thanks to Google you can find the jobs you are interested in without going to multiple job boards. It is as simple as entering terms like these into the Google Search bar.

Tampa “Financial Analyst” -sql

When I clicked ‘Search,’ all of the Financial Analyst jobs in the Tampa area that do not require SQL were returned.

Jobs from Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, Citi, CareerBuilder, Randstad, Snagajob, JobScore, MetLife, and ParkerLynch were returned in the first two pages.

Try it. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is.

Recruiters Say, “You Must Provide Your Salary History”

As Liz Ryan has pointed out in many articles, you don’t have to provide your salary. If the recruiter insists, walk away.

They’re asking for this information because they want to pay you as low a salary as possible. If you are currently working and you’ve told them you earn $50,000 a year, recruiters think you will accept an offer between $53,000 and $55,000.

If you’re not working they may believe $50,000 is sufficient. The best indication of what you should be paid is the local market.

If you’re a Wireless Engineer in Florida you can research the local market. For example,

Indeed says the average Wireless Engineer makes $96,636 in Florida.[3]

Glassdoor says the base salary for a Verizon Wireless Engineer in Tampa is $83,237.[4]

Based on this information, you could tell the recruiter, ‘I am interested in Wireless Engineer positions in the Tampa Bay area with salaries ranging between $80,000 and $100,000.’

Per Liz Ryan, ethical recruiters will share the salary range with candidates and work with them.[5]

Many People Say, “One Strategy Will Always Land A Job”

Let’s think about our logic here. If there is truly one strategy that always lands a job, don’t you think we’d already know about it?

Don’t you think when people discovered how it worked, word would get around and spread like wildfire?

Don’t you think when more and more people used the same strategy, it would lose its effectiveness and no longer work?

One more question — Given how different everyone is, how people have different values, beliefs and experiences and how employers are full of all kinds of different people with hardly any two the same, why would one strategy work with all of them?

Does the door to door salesman get invited into every home?

Do presidential candidates ever get everyone’s vote?

People who tell you one strategy is guaranteed to work 100% of the time, are selling a dream. Who wouldn’t want that. There is just one thing, it’s just a dream with little connection with reality.

If someone starts telling you one strategy works all of the time, start walking away. They obviously have no respect for you and are only interested in what you will part with to hear this so-called strategy.

Some People Say, “You Can’t Afford To Screw Up”

The bottom line is everybody screws up. Sometimes I think God had me screw up to protect me from a bad situation that I couldn’t see.

I came into a staffing company once and met with one of their recruiters. When I called the staffing organization a week later the recruiter I met with had moved on. I was referred to someone for whom English was a second language.

When she had to start spelling out words because I couldn’t understand her and I couldn’t understand the letters she was saying because she pronounced them differently, I started to lose it. Of course, it didn’t help that the high paying positions that I was told about were no longer available.

Well, given that I offended one person at one staffing firm in a metropolitan area of 2.8M people, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Perhaps they will learn not to tell candidates they have $100K annual salary positions when the closest thing they have pays only half of that. Anyway, while I never wish any ill toward anyone, it was probably good for me to blow off some steam.

[1] Liz Ryan https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2017/03/05/the-recruiter-said-you need-to-lower-your-expectations/2/#639eb28237b8

[2] Donna Svei http://www.avidcareerist.com/2014/02/02/address-on-resume/

[3] https://www.indeed.com/salaries/Wireless-Engineer-Salaries,-Florida?from=mobsalaryblock

[4] https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Verizon-Wireless-Engineer-Systems-Tampa-Salaries-EJI_IE11806.0,16_KO17,33_IL.34,39_IM850.htm

[5] Liz Ryan https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/01/06/five-lies-recruiters-tell-job-seekers/2/#6f9e8b7f7180

Clark Finnical

Written by

I'm the author of Job Hunting Secrets (from someone who's been there), the first job hunting book written by a five-time job seeker

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