Why Do Recruiters Have So Little Knowledge About The Jobs They're Recruiting For? |  timnewman | timnewman


Candidates can get frustrated by a lack of in-depth knowledge on a recruiter's part regarding the job they've called about. You may want to cut the recruiter a little bit of slack. Start by looking at the typical recruiter role.

Recruiters typically work in one of two settings – either within internal human resources departments (filling internal jobs), or at staffing firms (filling jobs on behalf of their clients’ human resources departments). In either situation, it’s important to note the following factors:

  1. Recruiters are (typically) not technical experts on the subject matter the individual they’re looking to hire is expected to have. Their job is to fill jobs. All. Day. Long. Their focus is on sourcing and identifying talent to fill the open job. They need to know the right search terms, how to identify a potential candidate, the right things to look for in the resume, and a few key questions to ask the candidate to determine if it’s worth scheduling a conversation with the hiring manager. It’s not their job to know every nitty gritty technical detail of the position they’re filling. That’s usually the hiring manager’s job.
  2. It is the recruiters’ job to determine whether it’s worth introducing the candidate to the hiring manager. Recruiters should know enough to conduct an initial screen of the candidate’s credentials, general subject knowledge, and skills. They also check to qualify that the candidate’s salary requirements, commute, and personality fit the role and the company. Then it’s time to hand them off to the hiring manager.
  3. Recruiters are busy as hell. It’s not unusual for a recruiter to be expected to manage a load of 40 (yes, 40) open positions. Each one has a hiring manager screaming for candidates to fill their open jobs. Assuming the recruiter touches every open position once a week, that gives them one hour per open position, per week to source resumes, screen candidates, communicate with hiring managers, and address whatever other matters come down the pipeline. That’s not even close to enough time to do a truly deep dive on the specifics of the job. And sometimes the person recruiting is also working as a human resources generalist managing employee relations issues and other matters, and recruitment is just a component of their job.
  4. Hiring managers are busy as hell. “So what?” you may ask. Well, when a recruiter receives a new open position, they typically reach out to the hiring manager to gather information and develop a search strategy. I recruited for 19 years. I experienced countless situations in which I reached out to the hiring manager for more information and they couldn’t be bothered to return my call in a reasonable time (if at all). I was in the no-win position of being forced to decide between waiting for the manager to get back to me before recruiting, or plowing ahead on the search with insufficient data and hoping I was approaching it correctly.

That said, there are always exceptions.

Some staffing agencies or internal recruiting departments focus on recruiting specific disciplines, such as accountants. The intention is to mold these individuals into recruiters focused on that particular discipline, with the understanding that they can build a practice around their specific base of knowledge. It’s a lot easier for a CPA to establish credibility and build rapport with both accounting hiring managers and candidates, and well as to intuit the specifics about the positions they work on.

Also, some companies believe in giving their recruiters smaller workloads, supported by the idea that the recruiters can devote more time to finding the right person for each open position. It’s rare.

Make no mistake, there’s no excuse for a recruiter to be sloppy in their job. It is their duty to effectively source and evaluate talent, and to know enough about their open positions in order to add value to the hiring manager and ensure that the candidate has a positive experience with the employer. With time, practice, exposure to the subject, and after experiencing a few notable mistakes along the way, recruiters do get better at this.

This article originally appeared on Quora.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at, or via the website,

7 Essential Facts About Job Hunting Today |  monkeybusinessimages | monkeybusinessimages


Looking for a job, or considering making a career change? The process is complicated and frustrating, and has only grown more-so over the years. If you're looking to rise above the pack, you'll want to understand these seven essential facts about job hunting today.

  1. Job Hunting is a Learned Skill. Have you been contacted by a recruiter for a job opportunity? If so, consider yourself lucky since there are many hurdles you need to overcome in order to get noticed by a recruiter or a hiring manager. It's important to learn about the nuances of job boards (i.e., Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Glassdoor, and many others), applicant tracking systems, the social networking platform LinkedIn, and other online job resources so that you can rise above the massive stacks of resumes companies received. There's a lot more to it than submitting your resume and hoping for the best ("posting and praying"). The composition of your resume, your application strategy, and your followup are all factors.
  2. So is Interviewing. A job interview is like a dance; you need to have all the right moves if you want to avoid stepping on your own foot. Your answers need to be practiced, tight, and natural. You'll need good, meaningful responses to behavioral questions, chock full of examples of how you overcame adversity to drive results. And then there's the social niceties and protocols. Hiring managers need convincing that you're a good person to spend time with, and that you'll make a positive impact. Going in cold can be dangerous. Practicing pays dividends – master the strategies that improve your chances.
  3. Being Professional on LinkedIn Matters. A lot. Companies pay big bucks for recruiter licenses to see everyone in LinkedIn. Recruiters comb the system looking for passive candidates to fill their open jobs. Even if you're not actively looking you might still get a call. A polished, complete profile full of detail substantially increases your chances of getting noticed. An incomplete or sloppy LinkedIn profile, with a lousy profile picture can be toxic. Although it can be pricey, a LinkedIn Premium subscription can pay dividends during the search.
  4. The Bigger the Job, the Longer the Search. If you're a CFO, for example, you should expect your job search to be considerably longer than a staff accountant by a factor of 4. Of course considerations of market demand and personal skill sets factor into the equation, but as a rule there are fewer executive than line jobs. And companies usually take longer to make decisions on higher level positions due to the organizational impact and cost. If you're an executive-level job seeker hunker down, strategize your approach (hint: it's mostly networking), and use the time wisely.
  5. Getting Passed Over Because Your Resume is Missing an Essential Skill? You Can Fix it Fast. Let's say you're a sales professional with ten years of rock-solid sales experience;  you're hitting a roadblock because you've used lots of CRM systems but have never used the Salesforce CRM which seems to appear in every job description these days. Training has never been more accessible or affordable – why not take an online course on Salesforce and add the training to your resume under your "Education" section? This way, you'll improve your odds of making it through the ATS or recruiter. Mind you, you'll need to be transparent with the hiring manager about your depth of experience, and an online course is absolutely no substitute for a specialized degree or certification. But if you're most of the way there, it can help quite a bit.
  6. Age Discrimination is a Real Factor. It’s illegal, and it’s regrettable. And employers miss out on many highly qualified candidates if they consider age as a factor in the hiring decision. Many employers will unwittingly (or wittingly) value younger, impressionable, and energetic employees whom they can mold to their liking rather than proven experience. And age discrimination isn't reserved for senior citizens, either – if you're over 40 years of age it could already be a problem. Learn and master strategies to cope with and overcome age bias, and know your rights.
  7. Recruiters (i.e., Headhunters) Work for Employers. Not for You. One of the most frequent questions I get as a career coach is, "How can I hire a recruiter to find me a job?" While developing relationships with agency recruiters can be valuable to your job search, you usually can't hire one. Recruiters are hired by companies to find talent for their difficult-to-fill job openings. And these companies pay handsomely for these services, an amount in the neighborhood of 25% of the first year salary of the person they hire. Or more. That said, a strong relationship with a recruiter can pay dividends.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at, or via the website,

Get the Job by Minimizing the Chaos


Great news! Remember when you entered your résumé into Melvin Motor Company's (MelMoCo) database for that dream job? You were so excited! The position practically had your name on it!

The recruiter at MelMoCo agrees! She's calling you now - and you're so excited when you answer the phone!

You're with Fido at the dog park. And all around you dogs are barking. And peeing. And chasing other dogs around. And performing other unspeakable doggie acts.

Yeah, that background noise is going to be fun to explain.  Please feel free to reapply with MelMoCo sometime next decade, when the H.R. department has completely turned over.

As a recruiter, I called candidates to conduct initial interview screens for jobs. And, more often than not, I've learned that people with a cell phone will pick up a call just about anywhere. To wit:

  • In the drive-through at McDonald's, while confirming their order with the register;
  • While attending a meeting;
  • Grocery shopping, with the kids loudly demanding Cap'n Crunch;
  • In a car, driving, with the windows open;
  • Boarding an airplane;
  • At the hairdresser, under one of those big dryer thingys;
  • Watching television;
  • Playing on the Xbox; and my number one all-time favorite...
  • In the bathroom (yes, really)

Side note: It drives me bananas if I'm in a public restroom and somebody comes in talking on their cell phone. It's damn rude. So, I will flush the toilet - repeatedly - to make sure that whoever is on the other end of that phone call knows where it's originating. I suppose this makes me a sociopath, but I can live with that. :)

Anyway... the most remarkable aspect is that the CANDIDATE USUALLY TOLD ME WHERE THEY WERE WHEN THEY ANSWERED. I didn't even have to guess.

Sometimes, calls are unexpected - people aren't even looking for a job, and they get a cold call, so they answer the phone call like any other. For those of you whom this description fits, I hope the call goes well.

For those individuals who are actively looking for a job, consider doing the following:

  • When an unfamiliar number pops up on your phone, unless you are somewhere quiet, let it roll to voicemail. Listen to the message immediately. Then call back from a quiet room.
  • If you absolutely need to answer the call (and are somewhere socially acceptable to do so), tell the caller you are currently occupied, and set a time to call them back from a quiet room.
  • If you are at home, and want to answer the phone, make sure the dogs are put away, the kids are quiet, and the television is off.

Your resume is probably one of several the recruiter has chosen to call for a particular job. Don't make it so easy for her to move you to the "no" pile.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. He is a Human Resources professional and staffing expert with almost two decades of in-house corporate HR and staffing firm experience, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).

Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at, or via the website,