7 Common Misconceptions About Recruiters

For Candidates, For Employers

common misconceptions about recruiters

The other day I came across a post on Linkedin that shed a negative light on recruiters. As I read through the piece, I soon realized that the writer’s complaints were based upon misconceptions about how recruiting actually works. As with any industry, I’m sure there are some less-than-great recruiters out there. However, working with an honest, straightforward recruiter could be an effective way to advance your career. In this article, I clarify common misconceptions about recruiters that may give the industry a bad reputation.


Misconception #1 – All recruiters are alike.

Different recruiters have different styles, so if you had a bad experience with a recruiter in the past, that doesn’t mean the next recruiter you encounter won’t be great. Something to keep in mind- some recruiters work for the company that’s hiring, and some are contracted from outside the company. An in-house recruiter will have first-hand experience when it comes to the company culture. While a contracted recruiter will do their best to gain as much inside knowledge regarding the company as possible, they do not have that direct experience themselves.


Misconception #2 – We take a portion of a candidate’s salary away from them.

Another common misconception about recruiters I am always surprised to learn: job seekers think working with a recruiter means the recruiter will pocket a portion of their salary. Recruiters are paid by the hiring company (their client), not by the placed candidate. Organizations typically have a separate budget for staffing to include fees for recruitment services. If it is an in-house recruiter, the same applies. That company employs and pays their recruiters to hire talent on its behalf.


Misconception #3 – We look for opportunities for job seekers.

As we explained in our article “How Executive Search Firms Work – Everything You Need to Know”, recruiters work on behalf of their clients, the companies who are hiring. We seek talent based on our client’s job openings. We may proactively market highly specialized talent to current clients or to a prospective client, however we cannot search for jobs on behalf of a job seeker.


Misconception #4 – We charge candidates to be in our database or submit their resume.

Recruiters do not charge candidates for their services, although there are websites that offer paid job search assistance to job seekers. These sites provide assistance with writing and editing resumes and submit candidates’ information to various job sites for a fee. However, working with a recruiter is free for a candidate and ensures they are only being submitted for jobs for which they are a good fit, as it is a recruiters’ duty to properly screen candidates before submitting them. A candidate submitted by a recruiter is far more credible than a resume provided by an automatic database.


Misconception #5 – We withhold critical information in order to make the placement.

A good recruiter will be as honest and straightforward as possible, as it is in everyone’s benefit to be on the same page when it comes to hiring an employee. They will provide as many details as possible to a prospective candidate about a company or organizational structure. This ensures the candidate knows exactly what they are signing up for. However, recruiters who are contracted by a company and do not work in house may sometimes work with limited information depending on what their contact at the company shares with them. We understand that company’s culture through what is shared with us by executives and leadership.


Misconception #6 – We decide whether or not you get hired.

Although we may consult and make recommendations to our clients, we are not the final hiring authority. Our clients make the ultimate decision. If a recruiter submits you as a candidate for a position that you’re not selected for, that doesn’t mean you won’t be chosen for another job through that same recruiter. The recruiter has no control over the final hiring decision.


Misconception #7 – We don’t care about your time.

When a recruiter contacts job seekers, it is important that the recruiter makes clear the difference between networking and recruiting for a specific assignment. Often times recruiters will engage in proactive recruitment, meaning they are building their network for future opportunities or potential upcoming job openings. If a recruiter reaches out to you to check in, catch up, or get to know you, it doesn’t hurt to keep that relationship strong, even if they are not recruiting for a specific position at the moment. The worst-case scenario is you spend a few minutes on the phone- the best-case scenario is you land a great new job through the recruiter.  Although some may view this as a waste of time, recruiters see it as a way of building mutual networks for future opportunities.


If you have had a negative experience with a recruiter in the past, I hope it does not prevent you from working with another one in the future. As a recruiter, I take pride in helping organizations find excellent talent to join their teams, and that starts with building relationships with job seekers. I value candidates’ time and appreciate getting to know each individual. My hope is that this article cleared up any common misconceptions you may have had about recruiters.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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