Recruiters Don’t Want To Hire You If You’re Actively Looking For Work

Recruiters Don’t Want To Hire You If You’re Actively Looking For Work
Facebook may have decided that you shouldn’t see the news, but we think you deserve to be in the know with Lifehacker Australia’s content. To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, hacks and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Lifehacker Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a fix.

As you gain experience, you’re less likely to find a job by applying for vacancies and more likely to be approached by a recruiter. However, scoring that role involves something of a Catch-22: a recruiter is unlikely to be interested in you if you appear to be looking for a new job.

Recruitment picture from Shutterstock

A study of recruiter behaviour by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the process is often surprisingly opaque, with candidates given minimal information about jobs when they are approached. However, there was one consistent feature, as Business Insider reports:

Recruiters also aren’t approaching people who are publicly looking to move. Desperation or marketing actually turns consultants off, the authors found. They want people they might have to convince to move.

If a recruiter does become interested in you, check out our tips on making sure they like your resume.

Why Even Well-Paid And Loyal Executives Will Say ‘Yes’ When The Headhunter Calls [Business Insider]


  • That’s because recruiters are out for their own paycheque.

    If you’re looking for other jobs their effort to “sell” you to an employer might be wasted time if you took one of the other jobs.

  • In my experience Recruiters are one rung above Used Car Salesman and Telemarketers on the totem pole.

      • I gave a guy an earful once after I’d discovered I’d been deliberately sent in for a position I wasn’t in any way qualified for as ‘interview fodder’. He came back to me two weeks later telling me that he’d scored me a job and told them I’d start on Monday. He got pretty desperate when I told him I was already working somewhere else, offering me more money and so forth, before I told him “Absolutely not. And to be honest mate, that’s what you get for being a dickhead in the first place.”

    • Yep, I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with recruiters. Stories include them guessing my work email address and emailing me to my WORK address (lucky for me, my company did not monitor work emails) and another calling me on the office phone pretending to be my friend.

  • this sounds totally backwards and absurd, regardless of whether a person is looking for work or not a recruiters job is to sort the chaff from the shit basically and only present resume’s that they believe will be good candidates for the job on offer.

    If im not looking for work, I dont want a recruiter contacting me about jobs i’m not interested in taking.

    • Oh, the cruel irony lol.

      Meanwhile: Entry level position, experience required. “But.. how am I supposed to get experience in the first place?!!”

  • Generally speaking recruiters are mostly just People Pimps. All they care about is filling a vacancy, and getting their commissions.

  • As a recruiter I am inclined to disagree with the article and obviously some of your very well articulated responses (“I always considered them scum”) was a personal favourite .

    One of the main reasons companies use agencies in their candidate search is the fact that we have access to a large database of “passive” job seekers – we also have the ability and time to actively seek out people who are not on the open job market but may be open to opportunities.

    The reason this is our value add is that if people are on the open market they are more than likely able to simply apply to the company’s direct ad campaign – and hence there is no point us both “fishing” from the same pool!

  • My most interesting experience with a recruiter was having them tell my company I spoke to them. Obviously I can’t prove it and it might also be a coincidence, but it is the only explanation I can think of for a director of the company (who is not involved in HR at all) to call me after work hours (2 days after I met the recruiter) telling me about a new project they had for me and the opportunities it offered. The reason I told the recruiter I was looking was because I was sick of hanging around the office waiting for a new project to come up.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!