This week, 3 people have complained to me about the incompetence of some of the recruiters who’ve contacted them. Why are they such jerks?

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I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, the head coach for, a site with curated information that will help you find work more quickly.

Why are so many recruiters such idiots?

I've been asked that question three times this week by different people I coach and I'll just kind of explain to you what's happening. These folks were generally reached out to by recruiters, who, in one way or another, were imbeciles. How were they imbeciles? Well, their knowledge was thimble deep, was one example. They couldn't answer any questions, you know, and there's a whole litany of things. But I'll just simply say, when you are talking to a recruiter, that person doesn't work for you. They work for an employer. After all, the employer pays them.

As such, if you think they're trying to "place you" and that language is so misleading because it suggests that they work for you, which they don't and you say to me, "Well, they need me in order to get the fee." Well, yes. And there's a lot more of you out there than there are jobs. So, some of them are playing what used to be called "dialing for dollars." it could be emailing are inMailing for dollars. They are out there just trying to reach out to as many people as they can with particular keywords, because their manager (because generally you're talking to a junior person), their managers told them, "I need some help on this search. Can you find someone who . . . " and they don't really know anything.

How do you head these people off? While they're on the phone with you, you can ask them, "before we go any further, I want to understand a little bit about your background. How long you been in the field. Give me a sense of the kind of searches you work on."

Now, if you're in a place where you can do this real time, like you're sitting at your desk and you're on your phone, well, you can look them up on LinkedIn, because they've mentioned their name. They've mentioned their company name. "What firm are you with," and you can do a quick search.

And the first thing is, if they lie to you, in any way about their background, get rid of them. Because that's the first lie and it's just so easy for them to try and exaggerate their experience and try and convince you that they have more experience than they really do. If they try and laugh and joke their way through this first conversation, as though you're the imbecile for asking them a q,uestion, get rid of them fast because if you allow disrespect to happen this early, it's certainly going to allow them to lie to you at the time that they have to close the deal or, what's more accurate, persuade you to accept their clients offer.

Why are they so many recruiters such idiots? Because the cost of entry is next to non-existent. Like someone graduates college, they've tried selling insurance. They have a degree that's worth nothing. That was my story except for the insurance part. I graduated college. I didn't exactly have a career with my degree in political science. I had a personality, okay, some of you will say I don't have a personality, okay. But a lot of people are trying to find jobs and the cost of entry is very small.

They just have to do time and be willing to work hard and, over the course of time, because every situation is different, they learned through trial and error. There's no manual that you can read and suddenly say, "Hey, I'm going to be a great recruiter because I read this manual! I know exactly what to do with every situation!" It doesn't work that way.

I'll just simply say, caveat emptor. As you talk to someone who's got some savvy about them, can present an opportunity with thoroughness and detail because they have a relationship with a client that's willing to tell them a lot, as you go through the first round of interviews, and see congruence with what you've been told, both in terms of the job and the people that or the person, I should say, that you'll be your meeting with, you can start trusting a little bit more.

Again, always be aware that for contingency recruiters, that person is only getting paid if you accept the job with a client. With a retained firm, they're getting one third the fee if you accept the job with their client, so it's less problematic for them.

But, fundamentally, you know, most of these issues are with contingency firms, not retained ones. And you're running into idiots because, basically, they're glorified telemarketers getting on the phone trying to do fundraising and, unfortunately, the fundraising is for themselves, not for you.

I hope you found this helpful. I'm Jeff Altman. If you're interested in my coaching you, reach out to me through linkedin at Mention that you saw the video because I like knowing I'm helping some folks. Once we're connected, message that you're interested in coaching. We'll set up time for free discovery call. I also want to mention I've got a ton more available at my website, Go over to the site. Go exploring. Thousands of posts that you can watch listen to or read that will help you.

JobSearchCoachingHQ is where I have it curated with an emphasis on interviewing. And what I do is I charge a fee for that site and give you an hour of free coaching which is the equivalent of the cost of the site. So, you get videos and articles and books that I've written, available to you there and an hour of coaching for the same price. So again, Join. I'd love to help you.

And by the way, this isn't on the lifetime coaching option, not the six month package. Last thing. I'll mention to you, if you . . . if you like, I have other classes available on Skillshare. If you use the link in the show notes, you get two months for free if you decide to join the site instead of just one. Again use the link in the show notes.

Have a great day. Take care


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1600 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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7 Responses
  1. Kimberly Williams

    Jeff, this video helped me put my job search into perspective. I have come across a few recruiters who have played tons of games. Now I know why games were being played, “Glorified telemarketers.” Hmmmm. Something to think about.

    1. Jeff Altman

      And these are only a few of the games! I have heard a few that will make you shake your head.

    2. Kimberly Williams

      Thanks for putting this information out there. I had no idea this happens.

    3. Chief Rabbi

      @K.D. Williams they are just another part of a broken system that is infested with rats and snakes. When mainstream culture is dumped down sometimes you wonder how much intelligence and flexibility can you expect to get out of your everyday robot.

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