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Lies recruiters tell candidates all the time

If there’ was a gathering to be held for professional storytellers and liars, HRPs would probably make the cut. From selling the dream of the ‘company to work for’ to the dream job, we say it all. While this may not apply to all recruiters, most of them know they are marketers above all else first. So here are some statements that they get away with, especially in Kenya.

Thank you for submitting your application for the above position. We will be considering your application carefully over the coming days.

The average recruiter spends at least 15seconds reviewing a CV according to CareerArc and with thousands of applications to go through per job & with limited time & resources, most recruiters are forced to just spend seconds on your application. A technical recruiter in one of the tech startups in Kenya even admitted to me that they ask candidates to answer additional questions in the application form but actually never get to reading the responses.

There’s also a high possibility that someone actually never saw or opened your application in the first place for one reason or another.

“man using laptop” by rawpixel on Unsplash

If you are not successful on this occasion we will continue to hold your details and will consider them when any future vacancies arise

Managing a talent pipeline is one of those tasks that makes total sense in recruiting but most teams never actually get to do. Either because they are tracking applicants manually(God forbid using paper) or using folders in their computers or they just have not thought that this is a smarter, cheaper & faster way to hire. Few ATS have a pipeline tracking feature, so if a position comes up and there’s a previous candidate who is a possible match, it may be hard for the recruiter to recall your application. This is one of the areas in HR where artificial intelligence can assist as we continue to adopt new changes in how we find & keep people in the 21st century.

Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash

Any buzzword in the career page

I once worked with a team that spent 5mil to do a video for the careers page. The whole thing was scripted and people had to master their lines by the due date. The agency shot scenes in all the best spots in the office, whether that was really your desk or not it didn’t matter. This is not to say that the company is a bad employer, but rather the fact that recruiters will also do everything to sell you their company. This is the reason why according to the 2018 #futureofsocial, it was reported that 93% of user consumers consider UGC-user generated content-as a key factor in their decision-making process to purchase goods or services. But in the age of the individual and a millennial customer who’s picky about their choices, the most effective way to brand your company is through authenticity. Millenials can smell fake from miles away like we mentioned before so as a candidate use UGC in this case reviews from sites like Glassdoor or social media i.e social proof, as a way to validate the company information. The interview also serves as a way for you to ask deeper questions that will smoke the real from the fake. One of the best questions to ask e.g when the interviewer gives a general answer like “We value our people and invest in them” follow up with “What do you mean by that?”

Courtesy #futureofsocial Hootsuite 2018

*Added* The salary conversation

While other older generations may have put up with HRPs lies & secrecy around compensation, this is no longer going down well with Gen Z as reported by Reuters. Gen Z are demanding high starting salaries, flexible pays, equality e.g equal parental leave for men & women and transparency about the ins & outs of working with you. This is both intrinsic & extrinsic rewards. So before the big interview, a candidate will have most likely checked platforms like Glassdoor for reviews & insights on benefits & culture. Their mind will have been largely shaped already by what they have read about you online versus the ‘flowery’ speech you intend to give them about your ping pong tables or free yoghurt machines. They are already thinking about their future. And money is at the top of that priority list.

“Check our website for open jobs”

Recruiters receive too many emails and requests for jobs. Most of them give the rehearsed response “check our company website for new openings”. But this is often a lie since most recruiters admit to using referrals as the number 1 source for hires. It substantially reduces time, cost and effort it takes to hire. A meeting with a HR Manager this week showed that the site had listed 2 new openings yet she was actively hiring for 6 positions. The other 4 not being listed online. While this is unfair to the thousands of applicants checking your site for jobs, it calls for job seekers as well to network better in order to get a higher chance of learning about these jobs.

Candidates are more discerning than ever and that calls for engagement & communication that’s personalised and authentic. They will love you for it. All the best.

Heard any other lies from recruiters? We’d love to hear them below in the comments.

Still looking for more, check out our earlier piece on or




Jobonics is a blog centred on all things HR, Recruiting and HR Tech.

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Stella Ngugi

Stella Ngugi

HR Generalist| Founder @JobonicsHR | Where HR, Tech& Entrepreneurship meet| Eat. Pray. Code. Blog. Hire | 🇰🇪 IVisit for more info.

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