Main image of article Exploring the Secret Practices of Tech Recruiters
Understanding the role of recruiters and how the hiring process works is integral to conducting a successful job search. Given the rapid advances in recruiting technology and tactics, this seemed like an opportune time to update our two previous lists of behind-the-scenes recruiting practices (which appear here and here). Here’s a fresh look at the true modus operandi of both corporate and third-party recruiters.

They Sometimes Blacklist Overly Enthusiastic Candidates

If you really want to work for a company, it can be tempting to apply to as many openings as you possibly can. But inundating an employer with applications can make you seem unfocused and lacking direction; even worse, it can get you “blacklisted” by the company’s recruiters. “Copying and pasting is a bad habit that can actually work against both recruiters and candidates,” noted Pete Radloff, senior recruiter for a major cloud services company. “I’d rather engage with a candidate who has identified one or two positions that seem like a fit, than someone who has applied to 75 different positions they aren’t remotely qualified for.”

They Make Decisions Based on Cultural Fit

Recruiters often research and match the demographics of a company’s current workforce when selecting candidates, explained Katrina Collier, candidate engagement speaker and author of “The Robot-Proof Recruiter.” As a result, they may inadvertently support a tech manager’s inherent hiring biases. As a case in point, Collier described a tech candidate who became aware of this secret recruiting practice and instituted a successful workaround—substituting “Adam” for his true Asian first name on his CV. He eventually “came clean,” but not until he landed an offer.

They Conduct Bottom-Up Résumé Reviews

Some recruiters are primarily interested in seeing where you’re headed, not where you’ve been. “My job is to identify candidates who can grow with the company by mastering technologies and roles that don't exist today,” Radloff explained. Since most tech pros place interesting side projects and unrelated work near the end of their résumé, Radloff makes a point of reading the document from bottom to top to understand a candidate’s technical passions and the types of technologies they are learning in their spare time.

They Rely on ‘Deep Web’ Searches

Be aware that some recruiters use tools or Chrome extensions (such as AmazingHiring or Hiretual) to obtain a complete digital picture of a prospect or candidate. So even if you select different usernames or try to hide a profile from public view, a recruiter may still be able to connect the dots. They’ll consider all of the information they discover online before deciding whether to reach out or submit your résumé to a hiring manager.

They Screen via Recruiter Chatbots

More and more recruiting firms are using AI chatbots to qualify, pre-screen and validate prospects. Rather than removing bias and discrimination from the hiring process, a screening algorithm could perpetuate it or screen you out for the wrong reasons. If you’d prefer to take your chances with a human recruiter, you can bypass the chatbot by asking its birthday or a question it’s not programmed to respond to, Collier advised. Better still, go old school: Do some research to find the recruiter’s name and contact her directly.

They May Not Be Motivated to Get You the Highest Salary

As long as the offer falls within your stated salary range, a recruiter may not be motivated to negotiate or request a salary near the maximum the company is willing to pay for the position. After all, holding out for more money when both parties seem satisfied may put the put the kibosh on the deal. To avoid leaving money on the table, make sure to ask about the range for the job before you get to the offer stage.

They're Using More One-Way Video Interviews

Recruiters are increasingly using pre-recorded or one-way video interviews as a substitute for face-to-face meetings and phone screens, explained Sarah Brennan, CEO of Accelir Insights. “This format gives recruiters the opportunity to ‘meet’ more candidates than they otherwise could,” she said. If an interviewee doesn't get off to a good start, the reviewer will only watch for a few minutes and move on. With that in mind, give these types of interviews your best shot; it might be your only chance.