Job Seekers Should Stop Being So Hypocritical

For 30 years this September, as both a contingent and retained recruiter, I have listened to the complaints by candidates (job seekers) about hiring managers and the complaints by hiring managers about candidates.

Even after 30 years, as I read blog comments, or sit in a chair and listen to these complaints, I’m still amazed (yes, amazed) at the hypocrisy spewing out from both candidates and hiring managers.

I read the comments to our blogs where candidates complain about the black hole when they send resumes, they complain about how long it takes to fill a position, they complain about recruiters, they complain about not getting their calls returned, they complain that their resume doesn’t get read in great detail, they hate the 10 second resume screen, they complain about cover letters, they complain about how these hiring managers are missing qualified people, they complain that the interview wasn’t fair or too short or too long, and that the person conducting the phone interview wasn’t qualified and didn’t know the job. This list could fill a book about the size of War and Peace, or for those not into War and Peace, book seven of Harry Potter.

Sound at all familiar if you are seeking a new position?

I then listen to hiring managers, HR, CEOs and key executives who are doing the hiring complain that, I get too many resumes, I get tired of interviewing average candidates, I will get to those resumes this weekend or next weekend, the resumes don’t match my job, candidates don’t know how to interview, candidates can’t put together two complex sentences, they complain that recruiters aren’t screening tight enough, they complain recruiters are screening too tight, they get angry at the recruiter for wasting their time interviewing unqualified candidates, they rule a qualified candidate out because they didn’t like the way they sat in the chair (I’m not kidding), they rule a candidate out because his tie was not straight (No, I’m not kidding), give me a job spec so tight and narrow that they themselves (this person’s boss and direct report) wouldn’t be qualified, tell me that from a 15-minute interview this person won’t fit, isn’t assertive enough, or my favorite, the candidate isn’t a  team player (so I ask, “What teams will they serve on?” Answer, “Well not right away, but probably in the next two years.”) They also don’t like the candidate’s handshake, or for this sales position the person needs to be a real go-getter, outgoing and aggressive (so then I ask if they like being approached by outgoing, aggressive sales people and they reply, “No, of course not.”) I could fill another book the size of War and Peace with these complaints.

Then I realized in both cases,  I’m talking with or listening to the exact same person.

Job seekers become hiring managers and hiring managers become job seekers.

The problem is that when they move from one side of the desk to the other, their perspective changes, their needs change, their priorities change, and it is a whole new ball game. Hiring, whether it’s a candidate or hiring authority is “all about me” and “what’s in it for me?”  That is just the way it is. Right or wrong, good or bad, like it or not, that is the fact of hiring.

So the next time, before you complain, from either side of the desk, please take a step back, look at yourself and treat the person on the other side of the desk with the same respect you complain about.

I know, I for one, would surely appreciate it.

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I welcome your thoughts and comments. Good or bad, agree or disagree, all voices are welcome. Just be respectful.

Brad Remillard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Fran Smith, February 11, 2010 @ 11:30 am

    Brad, in your position as a recruiter, do you coach your customers (company managers for whom you’re finding candidates) to correct those problems that you list in your article? Those managers have all of the power in this game. If they are unreasonable then it doesn’t matter what a candidate tries to do. No wonder job seekers are so frustrated!

  • By Bob, February 11, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

    Employers are hypocritical. I’ve experienced the stated requirements vs. overqualification issue recently during an interview. After discussing my background, the manager admitted that I met every requirement but he still couldn’t hire me because my qualifications were better than his, and better than his boss’s, so they did not want to take the risk that I might get promoted above them. So how do they expect to fill this position? If you don’t meet every requirement you’re unqualified, and if you do meet every requirement you’re overqualified.

  • By ferd, February 11, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

    “I welcome your thoughts and comments. Good or bad, agree or disagree, all voices are welcome. Just be respectful.” Have you considered revising the tone of your posts? Your main audience is job seekers, yet you continue to use titles such as “Job Seekers Should Stop Being So Hypocritical”! Bash them and then expect them to be respectful? Where’s the logic in that?

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 11, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

    Fran. Yes as best we can. Sometimes it works and other times the client is set in their ways. That is until they are unemployed and our searching for a couple of months and being the hypocrite I describe.
    That is why everyone is frustrated with the hiring process.

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 11, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

    Yes they are hypocritical too. That is the point of the article. They were surely candidates at one time and experienced the exact same thing you described. Probably even bitched, moaned and complained about it. But didn’t change anything once they landed and became a hiring manager.
    That is the exact point of the article.

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 12, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

    I don’t think this is disrespectful. If you read the article it is also true for hiring managers. Titles sometimes have to be bold so people will read them. The goal is to get hiring managers to realize the pain job seekers go through and thereby being more understanding of your frustrations.

  • By Ken Cleary, February 13, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

    This is a good launching point for a discussion but not the end point. I recently sat down for a one on one with a very skilled HR person because I had in fact “lost myself” in all of the resumes (pointed to the readers and their needs) and misplaced the core of my value as a skilled and experienced employee. Regaining this and the focus to deliver a concise
    “product” is key. By doing this I don’t waste your time and my effort. To your point, this is a key part of being respectful on both sides of the desk…

    One other point is how fluid your search in this current job market needs to be…in the past you could be more targeted. Now do you inject humor, meet a 10 second interview model, or fill your resume with keywords? This game does not play out well for either side…

  • By Jay, February 14, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

    You’re spot about the “all about me” perspective. As any successful salesperson knows, you must look at things from the perspective of your customer. If you’re job seeking, then the interviewer is your customer and he is only looking to solve his problem, not yours. I think interviewees are wise to approach from that perspective. No doubt there is hypocrasy on both sides of the table, but that will never change.

  • By David Garrott, February 15, 2010 @ 11:47 am

    Brad – Reading through your article and comments was gut wrenching. Like many reading this, I have sat on both sides of the table – hiring manager and job seeker. I know to be true; the hardest thing I have had to do in business is hire the “right” person.” Companies, assuming they are sincere about placing the right person in the job, have spread out (displaced, a better word?) the hiring decision among many participants and measurements. This includes you, the Outsource, who is expected to handover the closest candidates you can find to fill the job. Do you honestly research the candidates that closely after notifying the rest of us that we should look elsewhere? Then the laborious company hiring process takes over – including another resume screening, the telephone interview, the testing, the multiple interviews and then the collective decision to hire (often not focused and often politically slanted) and, finally, the candidate being informed by someone other than their immediate supervisor – whew. The onerous to prepare for the all this is on the candidate. The interview performance is on the candidate. The ability to read through the interview and react to the process is on the candidate.

    I have read where more than 50% of American workers would change their jobs tomorrow. I have also read where the number one reason people quit their jobs is because of their manager. This certainly bodes poorly for the worker and companies however, it does bode well for the Headhunters.

    Do me a favor, reach out for complaints, it may be up to you to fix this.

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 17, 2010 @ 11:04 am

    I don’t understand you last sentence? Through these articles we are reaching out for input. Are you looking for something else?

  • By Kevin, February 18, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

    I honestly can say that I have never been treated with more disrespect than in this current job search. I wonder how people can treat people with such disrespect and live with themselves. I would hope that more professionals get back into the field with ethics and morals.

  • By Lou Bonica, February 20, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

    I agree with Kevin. Disrepect doesn’t even begin to describe it. Brad, I see your point but I honestly don’t think the hypocrites you refer to have recently been unemployed. More likely, they have no idea what it is like to be unemployed. The unemployed fellow job seekers I network with have been some of the most helpful people I have ever met. I don’t think that will disappear for quite some time if ever once they land.

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 20, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

    I wish your optimism were true. I have done this for 30 years. In that time I have been through at least 4 recessions. I have worked with thousands of candidates who become hiring managers. The reason for writing the article is because time and time again once employed they seem to forget what it was like. For example, I can’t count the number candidates, who rightly so, argue industry experience isn’t necessary. Then when they become a hiring manager industry experience is all of a sudden critical for a person they are now hiring.
    I wish it weren’t the case. If it wasn’t so true I would not have written the article.

  • By Lou Bonica, February 20, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

    Fair enough. I wasn’t sure if it was a generalization or if you had specific people in mind which you obviously do. Maybe this one will be different. I can certainly say for myself (not that I was ever bad at it to begin with) that I have a greater appreciation now and will approach things a lot differently with respect to hiring next time around.

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, February 20, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

    That is the purpose of the article. I want more to be like you when they land.

  • By Mark, February 21, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

    “So the next time, before you complain, from either side of the desk, please take a step back, look at yourself and treat the person on the other side of the desk with the same respect you complain about.”

    Hear, hear [hear what excellent advice this is, not just for job hunting and recruiting but for many other things too]!

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