How do Recruiters Know If a Job Candidate Sucks?

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Recently there was a post on the Career Doctor Blog titled How Can Job Seekers Tell if a Recruiter Sucks?

In the post we asked questions about a standard or organization that certifies recruiters for a job seeker.  That question drew many comments & we have been asked by many job seekers & recruiters alike to focus on the relationship from the recruiter’s perspective.

First, I’ll state that I’m not a recruiter but I do read their blogs, join their linkedin groups & message individuals from time to time through discussion & other connections.  So please bare with me as this post is aimed at being a thought exercise to help challenge people’s thinking & develop better job seekers for recruiters to help.

Now, looking at it from the recruiters perspective it’s not all about the canidate. You’ve been offered a contract by a company or client for a specialized individual.  Probably pretty particular, that’s why the company outsourced it to you instead of the regular process.

Now, recruiting isn’t a horserace but often it feels that way.  Competition, timing & a little luck you’re able to use all your skills & experience to place good, well-groomed candidates in deserving positions.

It’s not only a candidate & job, it’s your reputation.  It’s the difference between you getting the first call or not when there is a specialty to fill.  You wouldn’t place your best friend for a position or even an interview if they were INCOMPETENT. Not only a bad sell on your part, the company would suffer in the long run & your best friend’s work experience would continue to be horrible.

Recruiters are in the business of setting up success.  Companies that hire well are going to be hiring very soon again.  Achieving growth is why the selection process needs to be carefully reviewed by a third party.  In a company fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree so hiring managers need different types of growth.  You’re the Johnny Appleseed of job candidates.

Instead of seeds, you plant job candidates in interviews.  The interview is where the right candidate & right job have a chance to germinate.  Recruiters all know the secret to landing a job, “First, job seeker use thoughts with action.  Dreaming is one thing but acting is another.  Second, passion & genuine interest in the industry; writing a resume isn’t half a hard if you care about the topic!

Let it be part of your career not simply a job.” Or else you’ll hate it & eventually quit or get fired.  It’s that simple.

Now as a recruiter there are expectations of a job seeker if you’re contacting them or if you’re being contacted.

  1. You need to be able to write your own resume.
  2. Show minimal-moderate proficiency  in networking.
  3. If dressed professionally, act professionally.
  4. Empathy will be exchanged. If you understand my role.

Now these pieces are out of the way to put together a little background on a recruiter’s perspective, let’s try to determine the qualities of a job seeker that inform recruiters the job seeker isn’t up to par.

  1. Thinking I should bring you 5 – 10 offers after 1 talk.
  2. Believing I’m supposed to deliver a job offer without an interview.
  3. Expecting me to write your resume.
  4. Inability to maintain a professional demeanor in a professional setting.
  5. Unwillingness to learn & take constructive criticism

These are a few of the answers I’ve received from recruiters when I asked what job seekers do that instantly turns off recruiters to a job seeker.  Now it’s your turn.  Recruiters, job seekers, HR or anyone else.

Do you see or know people who are helpless job seekers? What mistakes are commonly seen that need to be fixed? Remember, it’s not about bashing, it’s about helping by sharing knowledge.

If some of this sounds like behavior you have noticed in yourself, we have tools & resources for your job search at – You’re Career Transition Resource

Interview tips for job seekers


  1. I am sales representative who is currently in transition. I am currently working with a job developer who is advising me to transfer my skills in the job development field. A job developer is very similar to a recruiter. The main difference is that a recruiter represents the prospective employeer, a job developer represents the job candidate.

    Since a job developer represents the candidate, it is their job to teach job seekers the skills that they would need for job hunting. To help me prepare for my industry change, the gentleman who is working with me gives me examples of past clients who assumed that he would take care of everything for them and how I should handle those awkward situations. He tells me about people who feel all they need to do once they become a client of his is just show up for their new jobs.

    He informs me the best way to deal with people like this is reinterate that he is a job developer, not a temporary job agency. He is there to teach them job hunting skills first. After he feels they have the tools to be successful in a job search, he then tries to match job candidates with employeers who have vacancies.

    I can only imagine the type of people recruiters must deal with on a daliy basis. They speak to more job candidates than job developers since they are hired by employeers to find them people who could fill job vacancies. Plus, since they are the ones contacting the prospective employees, I’m sure some of these people get a certain sense of entitlement where they would think, “Well, you’re the one who called me! You must think I’m important. You should be the one going through all of the steps in finding me a job.”

    Unfortunately, this happens far more than it should. Americans are not used to having to look for work. At least not for the length of time it takes and in the massive amount of unemployeed workers now. In the past, job seekers could get away with the perception that others would do the work for them because jobs were more plentiful and it was much easier to find work.

    One way this behavior can change though, as my job developer explained to me, is for recruiters and job developers to tell job seekers what their role is in assisting them with their job search first. That way, it drastically reduces any misconceptions about what both parties should expect from each other.

  2. “You wouldn’t place your best friend for a position or even an interview if they were in-competitent.”


  3. It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

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