Reading the comments on this answer: https://workplace.stackexchange.com/a/61906/26185

Gives me the image of recruiters will likely just tell a lot of lies to make a offer tasty to you.

But couldn't this backfire for them?

I mean assuming they organize an interview someplace I like by their given description.

Now in the interview when negotiating the benefits and it comes to a point where, what the company is offering differs from the recruiter's promises in a way where I will say something like: "Sorry, this makes no further sense for me, since the image I was given what this company is about, differs from what it actually is."

Is this that unlikely to happen, since the candidate even in IT fields is in the weaker position and silently tries to get the best out of it?

Or is it that companies don't care because in case they see an opportunity in this candidate, they still can adapt their offer if they think its worth it, and will be thankfull for the recruiter (caused by lies is ignored?) making this opportunity possible?

  • 6
    Keep in mind that the barrier to entry to become a third party recruiter is extremely low. Basically, anyone with a phone line and an email address can become a recruiter. This is not to say that recruiters are all bad. This is just to say that a good portion can be very bad and borderline incompetent (even if a good portion of them can be just as outstanding). Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 12:25
  • for what its worth, I dealt with 7 recruiters before I found one that was honest. Most recruiters will not tell you a salary range because they can make money by giving you a lower salary. This recruiter told me up front what normal recruiters do. I wouldn't trust any of them except this person.
    – crh225
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 16:43

4 Answers 4


Companies are used to dealing with salespeople painting pretty pictures. A recruiter is exactly that, so they're well aware of what they're getting in to.

Having said that, in my experience some companies prefer to deal with one select group of recruiters for various reasons. The recruiter might be very good and get them excellent candidates, or the recruiter might be very mercenary and therefore quite happy to trade off in some way.

Telling lies backfiring is another issue, it's like expecting politicians to be honest. We know they have their own agenda and are lying, they know they're lying, but that's what we expect so no one is surprised until there's a cigar involved.

Having said that there are some solid honest recruiters out there, I find they tend to be small outfits who either don't make a great deal, or who have a select clientele. It's one of the few industries where I personally would pick a small company over a large one where the pressure is on to make money whatever the cost.

It's pot luck like dealing with any sales person, be on guard.


The recruiter is always out to make as much money as possible. Recruiters typically operate in one of two modes:

  1. They might be working with a company specifically, in which case they can try and find the best possible candidate, and may lie in order to lure that candidate away from his current job, or other offers.

  2. They might be competing against other recruiters to fill a position, in which case they will do anything possible to push their candidate ahead of the competition's (and thus get paid)

Both cases can be detrimental to you, the candidate.

Working With a Specific Company

In this situation the recruiter will typically be willing to represent the company in a better way than it deserves in order to get you to come in for an interview.

Yes, you might walk away if you catch them in a lie, however many candidates can be bullied, or scared into not inquiring about every aspect of a job.

For example, when I took my current job the recruiter promised me that working from home was a common occurrence. However, he also said that this privilege is not accorded to new team members, and that my asking about it would be misconstrued as being more interested in working from home than caring about the company. To my chagrin, I did not bring this up in the interview. By the time I found out it was a complete lie, and that no one worked from home, ever, I was 2 weeks into the job. It taught me a valuable lesson.

Competing Against One Another

In this situation you don't know whether a candidate is being serious about your chances to get the job, or whether they're simply desperate to get their foot in door with a certain company by simply sending them someone.

I've had recruiters encourage me to modify my resume in order to basically lie about my qualifications. I refused, and never heard from them again.

I have also had recruiters lie about my qualifications to potential employers, something which came out in the interview, and revealed the whole experience as a giant waste of time.

These sort of recruiters simply care that they get their commission, not that you enjoy your job, or that the company gets the best possible employee.

Good Recruiters?

I'm sure they exist. I just haven't run into one yet.


Only bad recruiters will user high-pressure sales tactics like lying about the particulars of a position to get candidates in to interview.

Good recruiters worry about their reputation because their livelihood rests on introducing good candidates to the companies they work with. Their ideal outcome to a hiring process is that a candidate they've introduced thrives in his new role. Forcing a bad match on a company is a sure-fire way to blow up the relationship with all parties involved. A recruiter that develops a reputation for bad hires or sleazy tactics will quickly find himself out of business.

Alison Green over on Ask a Manager has the following to say about bad recruiters:

But you can take solace in the fact that this guy isn’t likely to keep companies happy with his services for long. If he’s sending them unqualified candidates, any company with a halfway decent hiring process is going to pick up on that very quickly, and it’ll come back to bite him in the ass … with a lack of hires (which means no commissions for him) and eventually a terrible reputation and little to no business.

Replace "sending unqualified candidates" with "candidates that never accept because the recruiter lied to them" and you've got the same result. Of course as Stephan points out, anyone can call himself a recruiter and there are plenty of sleazy ones out there. When you're working with a new recruiter whose reputation you don't know, you should always be on the lookout for red flags, just in case. If he doesn't respect your wishes or introduces bad positions that don't match your profile or interests you should sever the relationship. You don't need the services of a bad recruiter because he's unlikely to help you land a good job.

This answer is recycled from my answer to a related question.


Sure, it could.

As Killsi says, a recruiter is a sort of salesman. Everyone expects salesmen to stretch the truth a little. Like someone once said, a salesman's philosophy is usually, "Don't say the glass is half-empty. Say it's full."

If a recruiter told you, say, that company X has a fabulous retirement plan, and when you got to that point in the interview you found that they have a 401k and they match 1/4 of 1% more of what you put in than most companies do, and you proceeded to express shock and outrage that the recruiter misled you and lied to you, I think the interviewer would just think you were nuts. So the recruiter exagerrated a little. Big deal. The interviewer is probably exagerrating about how great this job is, and you're probably exagerrating about your qualifications. That's how the game is played.

But if a recruiter really blatantly lied to you, like if he told you he was sending you for an interview to be vice president of marketing and really it was for a minimum wage job standing in front of the office in a funny costume, both you and the company would have valid reason to be annoyed. It's unlikely you'll take the job, and now he's wasted your time and the interviewer's time.

From the company's point of view, if a recruiter's lies or exagerrations result in them interviewing candidates who don't accept an offer because it is so much less than what they were led to expect, then he's wasting the company's time, and they'll be unhappy. If a recruiter's lies or exagerrations get candidates in the door who are disappointed but end up taking the job, then they'll be happy with him.

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