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Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You

In full disclosure, the bulk of this article comes from a URL link to a Monster article. Given so much of this is true, it was far too tempting to not add my own comments

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
One Recruiting Consultant 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.”

Although I have not received any marriage proposals, I do find it ‘creepy’ when candidates are superfluous with the compliments on my profile photo…thinning hair and all.

2. Use Cutesy Language, Texting Slang and Dumb Resume Tricks
The gimmicky resume is a pet peeve of many recruiters. “Please do not send a resume inside a shoe, saying you’re looking for ‘a foot in the door,’” says one. 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.

While I’ve not received resumes in a shoe, the text slang is annoying. While it may save character space, it only makes me wonder if the candidate’s actual spelling skills have also degraded to that level. When I ask for a resume, please don’t send me a link to a download on Google +, a LinkedIn document, or a QR code. Just send it in Word or some format which can easily be opened and accessed by any manager anywhere.

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 the president and CEO of 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,” he tells “In other cases, they’re frustrated by the job search process and feel the need to take it out on the recruiter.”

While we understand the frustration, this sort of email in CAPS will only earn this type of candidate a designation we call ‘UNKNOWN’. That’s not because we can’t categorize the resume. It’s because we’re not aware of a company to whom we could possibly present such a candidate.

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 your resume drives recruiters mad,” says the CEO. “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.”

It’s very ironic that we don’t see resumes highlighting anything less than ‘always achieving plan’. If that were the case, we would never experience an economic downturn. If the recruiter you’re working with knows the industry, be prepared to answer some in-depth questions about your long string of budget busting sales surpluses. If he or she is NOT asking the tough questions, they won’t have the answers when the client asks.

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,” one successful recruiting consultant states. 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.”

Recruiters have literally thousands of active contacts in their proprietary databases. It’s not possible to remember each name and resume. As a result, we utilize fairly sophisticated systems to help us get back in touch with the right candidates very quickly. We endeavor to keep as many highly qualified candidates as possible ‘top of mind’, but still rely on the database to help proactively and quickly reach out to all candidates. Like the lyrics from the Sugarloaf classic…”don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

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.

Many candidates are paying fees to have their resumes ‘blasted’. When I receive a letter in the USPS mailbox addressed to ‘Resident’ or ‘Homeowner’, it’s not going to be taken too seriously. The same is true for an email sent in a similar fashion.

7. Always Be Professional
Employment professionals say that, while one screw-up won’t engender hatred, it might cause the recruiter to relegate you to the NDC list — the list of non-desirable candidates with whom they will not correspond. Some of the worst behaviors — pushiness, stalking, haughtiness — come from job hunters who don’t really understand how a recruiter works. “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.

The Golden Rule applies to both sides.

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