Why Recruiters Are Not Your Best Friends

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Many job seekers believe recruiters work for them and mistakenly think it's the recruiter's job is to help people land jobs. In fact, that's a huge misperception. While many recruiters will go out of their way to assist and advise the most qualified job seekers, if you are a job seeker, don't think of the recruiter as your best friend.

Keep these tips in mind when working with recruiters:

Recruiters don't work for you.
Keep in mind: the company with the job opening is paying the recruiter's salary, so he or she is beholden to that organization and does not work for you. Job seekers who think the recruiter works for them will be disappointed when the recruiter who seemed very interested and solicitous becomes distant and doesn't have time to call back. The reason may be that the company with the opening shifted gears or changed goals. Like everyone working for a living, recruiters need to spend their time, efforts and energies working with people who will help them accomplish their business goals.

Do not tell your recruiter you don't know how long you want to keep working.
If you're thinking of dropping out of the workforce to stay home with your children, care for an aging parent or start your own business, your recruiter may stop returning your calls. Remember, the recruiter works for the company, and her compensation often depends on the candidate staying in the job a certain amount of time. No recruiter wants to spend time working with candidates who may not have longevity in the job.

Never spill your guts to a recruiter.
Unlike a best friend, coach or therapist, a recruiter is not interested in your problems or concerns. Keep your conversations with recruiters strictly related to business and do not mention your recent break up, money worries or fear that you may not be good enough to land a new job. If a recruiter thinks you don't know how to keep your personal problems to yourself, you may find him moving on to other candidates.

Be honest.
While you don't want to spill your guts to a recruiter, it is not advisable to lie, either. Unlike a best friend, who does not count on your professionalism to pay her mortgage, and may forgive a fib once in a while, your recruiter relies on candidates who represent themselves accurately. If you lie to your recruiter, you will likely burn a bridge and may gain an unenviable reputation with other recruiters in your industry. If being upfront with a recruiter would involve spilling your guts and confessing your personal insecurities and hesitations about taking a new job, do not involve recruiters in your search.

Recruiters expect you to be loyal.
Loyalty to a best friend doesn't mean you can't be friends with other people, but a job seeker can land in really hot water if two recruiters submit his qualifications for the same job. Why? The company pays the recruiter who delivers the successful candidate. Recruiters don't expect to split their compensation, and companies may opt to select a less qualified candidate instead of trying to figure out a sticky situation.

Ideally, you should make an effort to find and work with one recruiter who has access to jobs and information that will help you so you won't want to look around for a second recruiter.

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