Is My Corporate Recruiter Lying? 7 Signs of Transparency

Three corporate recruiters sitting together smiling.

Are you interviewing for a new position? Congratulations to you!

Aside from the website, the corporate recruiter is your first touchpoint with the company. They represent the company and can set the tone for your experience with it — whether you only do an interview or two or you end up having a long, 20-year career there. It makes sense, then, that you’d want to work with a transparent recruiter; their transparency is a sign of a good, honest company.

While corporate recruiters most certainly shouldn’t lie, sometimes recruiters spin the truth, leave things out or paint a prettier picture of the company than reality would suggest. If the recruiter is taking their cues from leadership, you can end up at an unstable company in a role you don’t even like. Then you’re back job hunting just days or weeks after starting a new job. 

You need to know the signs of an honest recruiter and one who’s simply telling you what you want to hear to get bodies in seats. Knowing when you’re being lied to can help you weed out the companies you have no desire to work for.

One of the values we hold at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) is integrity. We pride ourselves on being honest, trustworthy and ethical. This comes from the top down, meaning our leaders believe in transparency and it trickles down to everyone in the company. 

In this article, you’ll learn about recruiter transparency, including: 

  • What recruiters should tell you in an interview
  • Signs of recruiter transparency
  • Signs a recruiter is lying or omitting information

This information help you determine if a recruiter is representing their company in an accurate light, and ensure you’re ready to vet companies during the interview process so you can find the right company to work for

7 Things Corporate Recruiters Should Tell Jobseekers

Before you talk to a manager or hiring director, you’ll usually go through some type of screening with a corporate recruiter — whether that’s in person or on the phone. 

The recruiter sets the tone and can help you decide if you want to work for the company they’re representing. If they’re honest and friendly, that sets a good example for the company. On the other hand, if they seem inconsistent or misleading, it can turn you off a company quickly. 

Pay attention to this when you’re interviewing and trust your gut; it can help you avoid starting a job with a company that doesn’t align with your values. 

It’s a recruiter’s job to establish trust with a candidate, to help eliminate fear and to answer important career questions. You might not always like the answers the recruiter gives you, but honesty builds credibility. No one wants to start a new job under false pretenses — whether it comes to culture, growth, pay or work-life balance. 

Here are seven things a corporate recruiter should tell you and seven signs they may be hiding the truth. 

Two people pass a $100 bill at a desk. Compensation package concept.

#1: How Much the Job Pays

To help establish and build trust, a recruiter should discuss the compensation range for the position. There’s no need to waste anyone’s time if the pay doesn’t align with your needs. 

No matter how rewarding the position may be, sometimes you just really need to be able to pay your mortgage. You can save yourself a lot of wasted time by asking about pay right away.

Red Flag: If the recruiter is wishy-washy about pay or simply won’t tell you how much the position pays, be wary. No one wants to go through the entire interview process only to be offered $10,000 less than what you need to live on. 

Keep in mind that you might not get an exact number. Your final offer (should you get the job) depends on a few different things — like experience — so your recruiter may only be able to provide a pay range.

#2: What Benefits are Offered

What does the company have to offer in terms of benefits? The recruiter should explain which benefits you’ll have access to if you’re offered the position — including everything from health insurance and paid time off to random perks like getting your birthday off every year. 

Sometimes the pay might not be what you want it to be, but a robust benefits package can persuade you to consider a position further.

Red Flag: A recruiter who doesn’t know what benefits are offered or can’t follow up with information could be hiding something. If they won’t show you specific package information, they could be trying to cover up a less-than-stellar benefits package.

#3: The Operational Norms

It’s standard for every recruiter to talk about basic operational norms for the role, including work hours, working in-office vs. working remotely, breaks and job tasks. They may also talk about performance review schedules, salary review and topic candidates. 

These are the basics of the job that every candidate, such as yourself, wants to know. This information should be communicated to you clearly. 

Red Flag: If a recruiter doesn’t have this information, it’s a cause for concern. They’re trying to get you to accept this position after all! If they simply brush over the information or your concerns with it, you might need to worry or follow up with the hiring manager if you have another interview. 

For example, maybe you need to leave midday every day to bring your child home from school. If the recruiter brushes past your concerns or simply says it’s fine and quickly moves on, they might be trying to avoid the question. Make sure it’s explicitly clear your unique accommodations can be met before accepting a new role.

Details are also important here. For instance, a recruiter might tell you that you get benefits, but they may leave out when you qualify for them. Without key details, you might think you get 10 vacation days as soon as you start, but you actually won’t accrue them for a year. 

#4: The Pain Points of the Position

When you’re doing your screening, the recruiter should describe why the position is open. They should disclose if the job is open due to a backfill or team expansion. If there’s a revolving door in the job, your recruiter should disclose the pain points of the job upfront. 

Corporate recruiters should have your best interests in mind with a goal to help you make good career decisions. They don’t want to hire people that quit immediately; they want to hire employees that will be retained. 

When a recruiter leads with integrity and is honest about the role and its potential cons, they hire better candidates. After all, one job con could be a pro to another candidate. When you know the whole truth about a position, you can make an informed decision about the job.

Red Flag: Recruiters can be hesitant to bring up the pain points of the position first, but they should answer your questions about the cons of the position honestly when you ask. 

Every job has a con. Even movie stars and celebrities wish things about their job were different, so if your recruiter is making the position out to be perfect in every way, they’re hiding something. 

It’s also a red flag if they trash the person who held the role previously; that’s unprofessional.  

Benefits package concept with benefits written in all white, a pen, glasses, clock, calculator, and magnifying glass on a green background.

#5: What the Training Program Looks Like

If a training program exists, the recruiter should tell you about it. If there isn’t a training program, they should set the expectation upfront of what is needed for you to perform in the role. 

The details about a training program may be especially important to you depending on your learning style. For instance, maybe you’re a hands-on person and watching training videos for a week would drive you crazy and you wouldn’t learn a thing. 

Red Flag: Don’t let the recruiter brush you off if you want to know about the training program. At the very least, the recruiter should be able to speak to the hiring manager and get back to you with more information. 

If there isn’t a training program at all, it’s perhaps more of a reflection on the company than the recruiter. Then again, this may not matter to you. 

#6: Growth Opportunities

Growth is a very important topic for today’s job seekers. Your recruiter should discuss growth opportunities and a basic framework for advancement. The hiring manager will go into position-specific details in the job interview itself.

Red Flag: If they skip these details altogether or there is no advancement plan, you might not want to work for the company. 

Related: How to Find a Stable Company to Work For [6 Tips]

#7: The Upcoming Interview Process

You’re probably actively pursuing other job opportunities with other companies. You need to know the next steps for the interview process and the hiring timeline. This will help you determine what career options will work for your timeline. 

Let’s face it: You have bills to pay and you want to know a realistic timeframe for when a hiring decision will be made. Your recruiter should be clear about when they’ll be making a hiring decision so you can plan accordingly.

Red Flag: There are some things about the interview process that corporate recruiters have to be careful with, which means a lot of things can look like red flags. 

While a recruiter should be honest about when they plan to hire, they may not tell you that there are delays in the process because they’re interviewing a candidate for a third time. They might tell you that a decision hasn’t been made yet even if they know a hiring manager is leaning toward a different candidate. And if you don’t get the role, legally they’re unable to disclose why. 

If they’re being vague in this category it’s because they have to be.

Two individuals shaking hands at a desk.

Ace Your Interview

When you're diving into the job market, connecting with corporate recruiters sets the stage for your entire experience with a company. Recruiters should spill the beans on seven key things in your screening: pay, perks, work norms, job challenges, training, growth chances and interview timelines.

If these details seem sketchy or they paint a picture that's all sunshine and rainbows without mentioning any storms, it's a red flag. Dodging talks about pay or benefits might mean there's something they're not telling you. And if they breeze over the nitty-gritty of how things work day-to-day or shrug off your concerns, there might be more to the story.

Recruiters should be honest about the tough parts of a job. They’ll tell you why a role's open and what hurdles might come your way. Sure, recruiters sometimes dance around certain details, like why someone didn't make the cut in an interview, but if they're being consistently vague, it could raise eyebrows.

In short, recruiters' honesty is a window into how the company operates. It's not just about getting answers; it's about getting the real scoop to make the right career calls.

If you’re talking to one of the talented recruiters at ATS, you can’t count on getting honest answers that prepare you for the interview process and the role (should you be offered it and accept it). We’ve put together these tips to help you ace your next interview

Tags: Career Resources

Shannon Templin

Written by Shannon Templin

As a talent acquisition specialist — a position he's held since 2016 — Shannon works, alongside colleagues, to connect job candidates with their best-fit position within ATS. In his role, Shannon enjoys assisting each new candidate toward their career goals and does everything in his power to set each candidate up for long-term professional success.

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