As you may remember from an earlier post, a quick Google search demonstrates how people see recruiters. The results aren’t pretty. 

Unfortunately, the stigma against recruiters is something that everyone in the industry has to face – even the good guys. I’m not a recruiter (anymore) but I’m lucky enough to work alongside some brilliant technology recruiters at Burns Sheehan and have first-hand knowledge that almost all of these stereotypes aren’t true, so I thought I’d do a little myth-busting today.

Let's have a quick look at the 10 ten myths out there today...

1.       It’s all about the money.

It’s true that many people get into and stay in recruitment because they’re motivated by money. But you won’t get those high earnings if you don’t work hard and successfully place people into new positions. Money incentivises many recruiters to go the extra mile and do whatever they can to make more placements.

As with any industry, there are different schools of thought on what approach and methodology will bring recruiters the most success. Here at Burns Sheehan, our priority is to build long-term relationships based on trust with as many people in the tech industry possible and be genuinely nice, credible and reliable people to work with. We believe that this will reward everyone in the long-term, so we’re not going to cut corners or talk someone into a job they don’t want for a quick buck. That’s just not our style.

2.       It’s just like telesales.

There are plenty of recruitment businesses who want their teams to be calling candidates or potential new clients at all hours of the day. To sustain the relentless hammering of the phones, managers will set ridiculously high daily ‘call time’ targets or KPIs and will often provide scripts to work from in order to force their employees to work like they’re in telesales.

That’s pretty ‘old school’, in our humble opinion. We get that people don’t like being interrupted at their desks and would prefer to communicate by email. We also get that people like to be treated like people, so when we approach someone for the first time we try to first and foremost understand them and what they’d look for in their next move before pitching what we think would be a good fit with their experience and aspirations. We actively try to distance ourselves from telesales as possible, hoping to be more like career coaches, mentors, friends and confidants.

3.       They only care about targets, not people.

Okay, recruitment tends to be a particularly target-oriented profession but there is huge variety in what KPIs recruitment businesses use to track the consultants’ activity, and how heavily these are weighed upon.

Targets in themselves aren’t bad things – they help you gauge whether you’re doing enough to get the outcomes you aspire for, and if things are falling short, they can tell you what areas need working on. They can be excellent tools for anyone to use to gain more control of their workload, which can result in increased productivity and faster career progression. We don’t have many KPIs at Burns Sheehan, and we see them as benchmarks - not burdens. 

Unfortunately, some companies out there enforce unrealistic KPIs on their recruiters which often deteriorates the quality of their service to candidates and clients alike. In these situations, recruiters are forced to desperately hammer out more calls at inconvenient hours in order to hit their ‘call time’ and ‘CVs out’ targets.

The important thing to remember is that all recruiters and recruitment businesses aren’t created equal. If you’re pursuing a career in recruitment, you should definitely find out what KPIs are in place and how they set individual targets. If you’re hiring or looking for a new job, try to work with recruiters who are empowered – not exhausted – by their targets.

4.       There’s no career progression.

Lots of people enter recruitment because they think it will be a good job to earn some money quickly before leaving to do something different. And there’s nothing wrong with that thinking – I still contend that recruitment could be the best first job, although it isn’t for everyone.

However, many people find that recruitment is an industry where you can really carve a career out for yourself. There are lots of ways to progress within recruitment businesses, such as going into management or even directorship. Here at Burns Sheehan we get that people management isn’t for everyone, so you can choose to focus on billings and become involved in decisions relating to the direction of the businesses without taking on direct reports.

5. It’s cut throat.

There are plenty of competitive and cut throat recruitment businesses out there who produce recruiters that would happily sell their grandmothers for £20k commission, but not every recruitment agency shares that work environment and attitude towards the job. We’re all about producing a high quality service and being completely honest with our candidates and clients. That’s why we have long-lasting relationships with almost all of our clients, and most of our new business comes from recommendations, referrals or clients ‘taking us with them’. You don’t build those sorts of relationships if you’re a shark.

6.       It lacks variety.

Some people think recruiters do the same thing every day. In some ways this is true – you’ll probably communicate with candidates and/or clients by phone or email every day with the ultimate goal of successfully placing a candidate into a position that is an excellent fit with their experience and career aspirations.

But in other ways you couldn’t be more wrong. No two days are the same because they’re dealing with people, and everyone they work with will have their unique personality, needs, opinions, etc. Recruiters also have to identify and react to market changes and continuously develop their knowledge of the space. For technology recruiters, this is particularly important as the industry is changing so rapidly.

7.       They’re inconsiderate.

Many people think recruiters are intrusive and constantly hound people. Okay – recruiters do try and get hold of you so they can ask lots of questions – but we would only contact you if we believed we had a brilliant opportunity that we’re excited to speak to you about in more detail. We also try to avoid calling people during office hours unless we had pre-arranged a specific time to speak, and opt for email or texting instead.

If you’re not interested in the role, let us know why this opportunity isn’t right and what would be of interest. That way, we’ll only get in touch again if we have the perfect role for you.

8.       They never call back.

There are few things more inconsiderate that not calling candidates or clients back if they have bad news. Yes, this does happen in the industry but not at Burns Sheehan. We’ll always provide feedback as soon as we can because we want to build a long-term relationships with the people in our network. It’s pretty tough to do that if you don’t call back!

9.       They’re manipulative.

There’s a suspicion that recruiters sell people into roles that aren’t right for them so they can make the commission (and then maybe get you another job a few months down the road!). Luckily not all recruiters would consider doing something so unethical because their reputation is on the line. If a candidate hands in their notice shortly after joining, the recruiter will usually have to refund the fee and will be under high pressure to replace the role and make amends with the client.

However, it’s rare for a job to turn out exactly as you’d pictured it during the interview process. Recruiters can do everything in our power – and at Burns Sheehan, we do! – to make sure candidates love their new role, but sometimes it lies out of their control. That’s why we get as much detailed information from our candidates and clients so we can minimize the risk of mismatching. We want to develop long-term relationships with everyone in our network, so selling a candidate into a job that isn’t right for them wouldn’t make sense.

10.   They don’t know what they’re talking about.

There are recruiters out there who blag their ways through phone calls and pitches, clearly having very little knowledge of the market, their clients and even the role. You can smell these guys a mile off and they usually struggle to do well because of their lack of knowledge.

Others, however, take credibility and understanding very seriously. These guys will work extra hours in order to research the market, attend meet-ups or conferences, and develop their specialist knowledge. For example, many of our digital consultants here took online courses in specific development languages and regularly go to industry events after work so they can speak on the same level as their candidates and clients. These are the sorts of recruiters you want to work with. 

Have you changed your mind about recruitment? Do you think it could be the career for you? We're always looking for talented people to join our team, so click here to view our open vacancies or email with your CV and cover letter. 

You may also like

Recruiters: Are They Really A Waste of Time? 

Why Does My Recruiter Insist We Need To Meet? 

Can I Trust My Recruiter?: The 10 Qualities that Separate the Good from the Bad

Thinking about your next move? Visit to browse our current vacancies and check out ourblog for career advice and the latest tech industry insights.