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Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You

If you want a job, you wouldn’t intentionally try to make recruiters hate you. But you’d be surprised at how often an eager job seeker will make an enemy out of the very people they need to impress. Some blunders are merely irritating, while others can make recruiters do a slow burn when they hear your name.

OK, hate is too strong a word in most cases. But if you want to totally blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so. 

1. Get Creepily Personal

Recruiting consultant Abby Kohut recalls a phone interview (that had gone pretty well up to that point) in which the job seeker ended the call by asking her to marry him. “When I told him that was an inappropriate thing to say to a hiring manager for the company, he said, ‘Oh, I thought you were a just a headhunter.’ As if that would have made it all right.”

2. Use Cutesy Language, Texting Slang and Dumb Resume Tricks


The gimmicky resume is a pet peeve of Barbara Safani, president of Career Solvers, a career-management firm based in New York City. “Please do not send a resume inside a shoe, saying you’re looking for ‘a foot in the door,’” she says. Beyond annoying the recruiter (FYI -- that glitter you put in your envelope will get you noticed, but will take time to clean up), these tactics make recruiters think you don’t take them -- or your job search -- seriously.

3. Be Rude and Aggressive

Job hunters who use heavy-handed tactics with recruiters, like sending an angry email in all caps after being passed over for a job, won’t impress the recruiter either, says John O’Connor, president and CEO of Career Pro, a career-coaching company in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Some candidates see the recruiter as an antagonist who must be pushed and prodded and bullied to work on their behalf,” O’Connor tells Monster.com. “In other cases, they’re frustrated by the job search process and feel the need to take it out on the recruiter.”

4. Lie

Making up something impressive might get you in the door. But if you’ve grossly inflated your abilities and work history and the employer finds out, you will have burned two bridges, not just one.

Lying on the resume drives recruiters mad,” O’Connor says. “I know people think desperate times call for desperate measures, but the best recruiters are going to do their due diligence and if you’ve misrepresented the dates, times, duties and technical responsibilities, that recruiter will never trust you, and probably won’t call you.”

5. Stalk the Recruiter

A suggestion to “stay in touch” doesn’t mean daily or twice-daily follow-ups. “If it’s been a few weeks and you haven’t heard, it doesn’t mean you’ve been forgotten,” Safani says.

Kohut agrees, adding that a recruiter who thinks you’re a good fit for a position will let you know right away. “Calling them constantly and demanding to be submitted to a company will just make them think you’re desperate and unhinged and a little scary,” she says.

6. Act Like You Don’t Care

Sending stock cover letters addressed to “sir” or “madam,” forgetting to change the name of the last recruiter you queried on your cover letter, saying you’ll take any old job and not proofing your correspondence might not make a recruiter hate you. But such sloppiness won’t impress them, either. And they might just take affront at your dismissive attitude.

Always Be Professional

Employment professionals say that, while one screwup won’t engender hatred, it might cause the recruiter to relegate you to the NDC list -- the list of nondesirable candidates they will not correspond with.

Some of the worst behaviors -- pushiness, stalking, haughtiness -- come from job hunters who don’t really understand how a recruiter works, O’Connor says. “If candidates would understand that the recruiter’s real clients are the companies with the job openings, not the job seekers, they would approach recruiters with more professionalism.”

Even if the recruiter isn’t acting in the most professional or diligent manner, you still need to be professional, he adds.

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