Career Advice

6 Ways To Damage Your Relationship With Your Recruiter

Love it or hate it, recruiters are a key component of a comprehensive job search. Not only are good recruiters clued into the market, but they know whose hiring and often get word of new opportunities before the rest of the world does. Yet far too often many job seekers don’t recognize that. They begrudgingly turn to a recruiter for help and end up torpedoing what could have been a mutually beneficial relationship.

From lying about your experience to going off script when it comes to salary, here’s a look at six surefire ways to lose the support of one of the key players in your job search.

Mistake No. 1: Lying to your recruiter

Most relationships are built on trust, and that’s true of the recruiter/job seeker relationship. A quick way to turn that into mistrust is to lie about your background and experience. “Recruiters are here to help,” says Tom Gimbel, president and CEO of LaSalle Network, the staffing and recruiting company. “They need to know if there are any skeletons in your closet, your honest salary expectations and what you are looking for in your next role.” Recruiters put their reputation on the line when they recommend you for a position and if they get burned because you lied about your experience, education or background it could hurt the recruiter’s reputation too, say Gimbel.

Mistake No 2: Keeping your other job searches under wraps

You may think you are maximizing your chances of getting a new job if you use multiple recruiters. but if you aren’t telling them about each other you are going to end up with a bunch of angry ones. Nobody is going to want to invest time into you only for you to turn around and go with another job elsewhere. That doesn’t mean you have to be exclusive, but you should be forthcoming. “Your recruiter genuinely wants to act in your best interests but needs to know the lay of the land,” says Paul Slezak, co-founder of, the recruitment website. “If you’re interviewing elsewhere, or even if you’ve applied for other roles, please just be up front about it.”

Mistake No. 3: Overselling your interest in the position

If you waste your recruiter and the company’s time going through the motions when you aren’t really interested in the job, it’s going to sour the relationship and possibly tarnish your reputation in the industry. It’s ok to test the waters, but just be up front about your interest in the role. “Recruiting is a small world,” says Jason Buss, recruiting innovation officer at SmartRecruiters. “A lot of people know a lot of people so how you treat your recruiter is going to impact your future.”

Mistake No. 4: Going off script when it comes to salary

Part of the process of working with a good recruiter is figuring out your salary range. Once you are both on the same page, your recruiter can then seek out opportunities for you. But if you flip the script during a job interview and ask for more money, both you and your recruiter will look bad.“If you said you are looking for something in the $50,000 range and you get a $55,000 offer and counter with $60,000 that will impact your relationship with your recruiter,” says Buss.

Mistake No. 5: Blowing off your recruiter

Whether your recruiter has a potential job for you or he or she wants feedback from an interview, it behooves you to keep the recruiter in the loop. And that doesn’t mean getting back to them five days later. Any recruiters’ worth their salt aren’t going to set up an interview without first speaking to you which is why it’s important to be responsive. Same goes for feedback after the fact. If the recruiter doesn’t know how things went how is he or she able to go to bat for you with the employer? “They might be your agent … but feedback is a two-way street,” notes Slezak.

Mistake No. 6: Not treating your recruiter well

When it comes to meeting with a recruiter, it’s important to keep in mind they are the gatekeeper to your future job and therefore should be treated with the same respect a hiring manager gets. That means being on time, dressing appropriately, and above all maintaining a professional demeanor. “The more professional you appear to them, the more they will promote you,” says Mark Renn, Chief Executive Officer at The CS Team, a career management company. “Get them to like you, it won’t hurt.”