The following are a selection of recruitment myths as chosen and challenged by professionals from recruitment agencies, HR departments and hiring managers.
Academic achievements are the be all and end all
‘Some companies and recruiters care about this more than we do,’ says Grant Thornton’s senior talent and resourcing manager Richard Waite, whose team receives 10,000 applications per year. ‘Having scrapped minimum academic requirements to our graduate schemes and internships, we’re moving away from viewing academic scores as an indicator of future success and taking a more holistic view on what talent looks like.’
Conclusion: myth (nearly) busted, and while a good academic record is still formidable, other firms such EY and PwC are taking similar approaches to recruitment in an effort to diversify their talent pool.
Voluntary work on your CV will get you a job
‘It’s great to have undertaken voluntary work and this will definitely impress some people,’ says Giles McIntyre, an associate director at Investigo. ‘Whether it leads people to being more “successful” in securing the right role is debatable, but it might help to show your values are aligned with a company’s CSR.’
Conclusion: still mythical, but it never hurts to show voluntary work and highlight the transferrable skills you gained doing so.
It’s pointless applying for jobs at certain times of the year
‘The idea that it’s not worth job hunting at certain times of the year is false,’ says Jay Lowry, an executive recruiter for Strom Direct. ‘There are jobs of every kind open all year round. Never ever stop a search.’
Conclusion: myth busted, keep searching.
Interviewers are trying to trip you up
This just isn’t true, at least not according to Richard Waite. ‘We try to find areas of strength, not areas of weakness when we interview people. It’s also a two-way assessment: we want to find out about you, while it’s a chance for you to find out about us; we want individuals to connect with our brand.’
Conclusion: myth busted, be prepared, but relax and be yourself also.
Recruitment agents only care about their commission
‘Unfortunately partly true, although it is more reflective of the business you deal with as opposed to it being a rule in the industry,’ says Giles McIntyre. ‘Having been in the recruitment industry for nearly 20 years I don’t think I would have survived if I did not care.’
Kiera Webber and Ashley Crich, both managers at recruiters Morgan McKinley, address key myths surrounding professional recruiters:
Recruiters post jobs on their websites that do not exist: ‘Simply not true,’ says Ashley. ‘Posting roles that recruiters actually have will enable professionals to trust us as their career ally.’
Recruiters ask what your minimum rate is so they can make more money: ‘This is not the case,’ says Ashley. ‘Recruiters will always try to get you the rate you want and deserve, we simply ask for your bottom line we can send you a larger scope of roles. After all, the one paying your minimum rate might actually be your dream job!’
Recruiters send out CVs without candidate consent: ‘No,’ says Kiera. ‘It’s only once we’ve ascertained a candidate’s interest in a role that we’ll submit their CV.’
Recruiters control the job flow to the market: ‘Delivering a service to our client in the fastest time with the best person for the role is the most important thing,’ says Kiera. ‘Controlling any flow for personal gain would be self-defeating.’
Conclusion: myth busted, an agency needs to be reputable on two fronts: the client side and the candidate side. Upsetting either makes it more difficult for them to do their job well.
Temping work is just job-hopping
According to Ann Swain, chief executive of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, today’s ‘gig economy’ requires a flexible workforce: ‘a portfolio career can be seen as a real positive, as well as constantly adding to your skills sets’
Conclusion: myth busted, times are changing.
Threatening to quit will get you a pay rise
‘This may work in the short term,’ says Ann Swain, ‘but you’ll always be viewed with a certain amount of distrust.’
Conclusion: myth busted, be careful what you wish for.
Recruiters stalk social media profiles
LinkedIn is fair game, especially the more senior you become. But there is a grey area around other more personal social platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter. At Grant Thornton, a candidate’s social media presence does not inform the company’s selection. However, be aware that all social media platforms are public and if a company or recruiter you’re applying to takes a look, whether you like it or not, the impression they take away from your profiles may influence how they view you.
Conclusion: still mythical, and while many people know Facebook and Twitter are personal, they may still look, so be mindful when job hunting and get to know your privacy settings.
It’s not what you know it’s who you know
‘Employers are not comfortable speaking their mind to employees who have been recruited on any other basis than their own merits and credentials,’ says Gavin Brown, a hiring manager at BDO.
Conclusion: myth busted, perhaps the old days of the right school tie and surname are behind us.
Always go for the highest salary
‘Just because an organisation offers an attractive salary, it doesn’t mean the role is the best option for you,’ says Matt Weston, a director at recruiter Robert Half. ‘Nor does it mean the role will be interesting or rewarding. It’s important to weigh up whether the job is the right fit for you and whether it will help you achieve your career goals.’
Conclusion: myth busted, there’s more to life than money.
Photo: TUI, one of the world’s leading travel organisations, is an accredited AAT employer.
Neil Johnson is a freelance business journalist who contributes regularly to trade publications and member organisations, covering employability, recruitment, business trends and industrial analysis.