Career suicide

Career Suicide | No BS Job Search Advice

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Let’s talk about the job hunter relationship with recruiters.

I will preface this all by saying not every recruiter is capable.

Not every recruiter is experienced.

As a matter of fact some of them lie and are incompetent.

Be that as it may,  let’s also talk about job hunters.

Job Search Mistakes– Only Relying on Recruiters

In the recruiting business, there are a couple of basic jokes that we tell.student

The first joke that we tell new recruiters is, “How can you tell a job applicant is lying to you,” and the answer is “Their lips are moving.”

The next joke is “How can you tell an institutional customer is lying to you? The answer is, “Their lips are moving.”

The third one is “How can you tell a recruiter’s lying to you?” The answer is, “Their lips are moving.”

It’s not that everyone is actually lying; everyone is posturing for advantage—you, the recruiter, the employer– everyone is trying to get the best deal possible.

However, let’s talk with you about stupid thing that job applicants sometimes do.

Let me tell you a story from my time doing recruiting.

I Hate Cover Letters

There’s a person I worked with who’s is a very experienced guy in IT. He was out of work for five months when I met him.

I didn’t understand why until I started working with him.

He would say one thing to me and say something different to my client.

I had relationships with the firms I recruited for; I’d worked with them for years; they trusted me.  With one of the firms, I’d work with them since they were half 1 billion in size and now they do close to $12 billion in revenue.

Obviously, I go back with them a long time and have worked with this practice for many years.

I asked the job hunter a simple question.

“Would you accept less than what you’re making now?”

He said, “Yeah, I guess so.”

“How much less?”

He told me.

I spoke with my client; they were unwilling to pay what he was previously earning; they just didn’t see the value in it.

The number he now quoted to me was now something they found acceptable.

So I scheduled an interview for him.

He talks to my client; they ask him how much will you accept?

He started with the original salary.

Wrong. You don’t do that.

The impact of that was they come to me; they asked me about it and I told  them about my conversation with him. They, in turn, respond by saying, “No. We want to verify that;” So they call him a second time and ask the question again.

He stated the same high number and they said, “We’re not interested.”

That’s the impact of your deception.

You say one thing to a recruiter and then you say something different to the client.

You think you can negotiate at the end but can’t.

You have to at least make them fall in love first because, as I say to people all the time, “No love? No money. No honey.”

You can say things like, “I was making such and such and am flexible. I prefer not to be flexible but if it’s necessary to get a good job with an organization I respect and admire, I’ll take a few dollars less.”

But when you say one thing to a recruiter and something different to a client, understand the company and the recruiter have a lengthy relationship with one another.

They know you’re lying.

They know you’re blowing smoke at them and they won’t tolerate it.

They start asking themselves pretty quickly “What else is s/he lying about? Where else are they are they going to give me a headache that I don’t really need to have?”

“We don’t really care because we are looking for someone who’s honest and forthright,  not someone who’s going to, shall we say, ‘finesse us all the time.”

Be honest about things.

If you say something to a recruiter stick with it. If not, explain why you changed your mind. 

With the screener, stick to the original script until you get to the real decionmaker. After you’ve won them over, then you might be able to get them to improve the salary. If you do it with the screer, tey have no power to say yes. They have the power to reject your candidacy but not hire you.


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2016, 2023

Stupid Job Search Mistakes: Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. He is hired to provide No BS Career Advice globally. That can involve job search, hiring staff, management, leadership, career transition and advice about resolving workplace issues. Schedule a discovery call at my website,

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2500 episodes.

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