They Are All Lying (In a Job Search)

They Are All Lying (In a Job Search)

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

On April 3, 1972, I walked into the offices of an employment agency in midtown Manhattan to start my career as a recruiter. The offices were messy and people worked in small teams with 3 desk clusters representing teams of people. I was the youngest of the three new hires having graduated college the previous June; the other two were a former insurance agent and someone who I never knew what he did.

After being put to sleep by the owner who tried to explain how the technology worked circa 1972, our trainer, Tom, said something that I never forgot–“Let me tell you the three jokes of the recruiting business.”


“Okay,” I thought to myself.

The Three “Truths” of Job Search
Then he told me the three “truths” of job search

“How do you know an applicant is lying to you?”

“I dunno know,” I muttered.

“His lips are moving.”


Tom then continued, “How can you tell 1 of our clients is lying to you?”

“I dunno.”

“His lips are moving.”

Finally, he asked, “How can you tell recruiter is lying to you?”

“His lips are moving?”

“Yes, you are not as dumb as I thought you were.”

I hated Tom’s cynicism and spent a lot of time thinking about this “training” I received. This conversation would pop into mind at odd moments and leave me angry and frustrated. I didn’t want to spend 40 years of my life thinking that I was a liar and everyone else I was talking with was lying.

One day, I realize that wasn’t lying, but posturing. Everyone is posturing for their own advantage in a job search. You, the recruiter, the client, They are all trying to get our way and get the best deal that we can, even if there’s a little bit of exaggeration in there (okay. Maybe a lot of exaggeration there for some). It’s probably the biggest reason why we are disappointed–Everyone is posturing and no one is completely forthright.

A Radical Thought for Job Search
Here is a radical thought. How about you as a job hunter take the lead by providing radical honesty and encouraging employers to be completely forthright, too. Let’s all stop being quite so disingenuous with one another and just do what we were told to do what we were little… Tell the truth.

Someone has to start being courageous and step out of their comfort zone. Knowing that it will be hard for contingency recruiters to do that, how about You as a job hunter and you as an employer, be the catalyst for change.

© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2017, 2021

They Are All Lying (In a Job Search)


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. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
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