Re: Question of the Day

Subject: Re: Question of the Day
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 20:48:06 -0500

James Barrow wrote:

The following scenarios all involved recruiters, and not the client company.

A recruiter is not a hiring manager. A recruiter is not the placement agency's account manager (the person who interacts with the client company. A recruiter is someone who may have been fired from selling cars or insurance last week or may be hoping to to upgrade his skills so he can sell cars or insurance next week. A recruiter works on commission and will say anything he feels he has to say to put him in a better position to collect that commission. Nothing the recruiter says reflects the written policies of the agency. You can tell when a recruiter is lying the same way you can tell when a politician is lying: his lips are moving. The other job title for "recruiter" is "pimp." Okay? Are we on the same page now?* Good. Now we can discuss your questions:

1. A recruiter recently asked me if I thought the commute to the client
company was too far for me to drive. I said no, and that my average commute
has been 90 miles round trip for the past six years. The recruiter refused
to submit my resume based on the commute. Can they do this?

Yes. The recruiter has no obligation to treat you fairly. Once the recruiter has contacted you, ask to speak directly with the account manager, as that's the person who actually submits candidates to the client. The recruiter got you in the door and wrote your name on his whiteboard. That's the point at which you should cut him out of the loop.

2. Another recruiter asked me during an interview if I was planning any
travel in the near future. Since I was not, I answered no. It seems to me
that this is a loaded question. What if I had already booked a trip six
months from the date of the interview? Can a hiring manager refuse a
candidate based on this?

A hiring manager can certainly refuse a candidate on that basis if the gig is for a short-term project with a tight schedule--and an agency account manager could refuse to submit the candidate for the same reason. If this is for a permanent job, such a decision might be short-sighted, but I can't see how it could be construed as discriminatory.

3. (This is the most important) Whenever I actively look for a job, I
invariably talk to a recruiter who goes through my job history in great
detail. This includes asking me what my salary was for every job on my
resume. This one bothers me because it always sounds like the recruiter is
trying to determine how to get me into the job for the least amount of
money. At other times I simply cannot recall what my salary was 10 years
ago. Am I obligated to answer this question?

No. Demur politely. What you agreed to work for in the past has no bearing on what the current position is worth. Remember, in any negotiation over money, the first person to name a number loses. In any case, never provide any information you consider sensitive or personal to a recruiter, for the reasons discussed above. If you have to provide a salary history, provide it only to the account manager.

What's the most unusual question that you've been asked by a
recruiter/hiring manager?

"How soon can you start?"


* NOTE: This description does not apply to professional headhunters or to any other real persons living or dead; it is a caricature that applies primarily to people trolling online résumés for keywords and posting nonexclusive listings on job boards. If you know of recruiters to whom this does not apply, then it doesn't apply to them.


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Question of the Day: From: James Barrow

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