When you were a kid, did you ever play telephone? If you did, you probably remember it being a silly game you played with your friends. If you didn’t, let me explain. Telephone is a popular children’s game where you whisper a message to the person next to you, down the line, until the last person is reached. That person then announces the message to the group. The first message is compared with the final version, where it has typically become significantly distorted along the way (this can be accidental or intentional), thus part of the enjoyment. As a child, this game is amusing and (usually) harmless. As an adult, however, this type of “whisper down the line” behavior can be quite detrimental.
Let me give you an example:
A hiring manager’s team is inundated with calls from aggressive recruiters. The recruiter, without even pretending to build a relationship, practically “offers” the position over the phone and essentially promises a certain (bogus) salary if they make a move. In this example, the candidate then assumes they are WILDLY underpaid, goes to their boss demanding money and creates a situation that could have been avoided if more questions were asked up front. This represents how misinformation can lead to unrealistic expectations.
How can you, as the candidate, ensure you aren’t falling victim to exaggerations or lies when it comes to recruiters?
Simple. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Do your research. Recognize that any GOOD recruiter is going to get to know you first and will never promise you anything. As recruiters, we will be in your corner and advocate for you when the situation calls for it. We are here to give you the best chance, but we cannot EVER offer you a guarantee. NO recruiter should offer you a position over the phone or promise you a salary before you have even interviewed. While each opportunity may have an approximate salary range, the offer is unknown until the right candidate is identified. Understand that your (potential) offer is directly proportionate to how well you’ve interviewed, your skill set, past experience and how suitably that aligns with what the company is looking for. We can’t even pretend to determine an offer for you on day one. If someone tries to, run…very fast…in the opposite direction.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t necessarily believe everything you hear. Information is your best friend. The more you know about the recruiter, an open position and the prospective company the more you can accurately determine whether it is true and a good fit for you or not. Listen to your gut. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to enjoy a trustworthy recruiter. Engage with them, put in the effort and build a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.