Colleagues in competition having a boxing matchAOL recently published a story, “Why Recruiters Are Not Your Best Friends: The recruiter does not work for the job seeker and don’t forget it.” After reading the article, I chuckled to myself thinking that this information doesn’t only apply to recruiters, but….everyone—at least when it comes to the job world.

As clearly stated in the subtitle, the premise of the article is that job seekers need to understand that recruiters do not work for them. But I’m here to tell you, job seekers, no one works for you.

Not the CEO, not the people in HR who are supposed to be there for you, not your boss who seems to like you and not your co-worker who chats it up with you on your lunch break.

The recruiter doesn’t work for you nor does the hiring manager. In the job seeking (and ultimate business) world, it’s every job seeker for him and herself. Sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Need some proof? The writer of the article listed five tips for job seekers to remember when working with recruiters, yet I can easily show you how each tip rings true for anyone in the job seeking and employed worlds. Shall we dive in?

AOL says: Recruiters don’t work for you.
Keep in mind: the company with the job opening is paying the recruiter’s salary, so he or she is beholden to that organization and does not work for you. Job seekers who think the recruiter works for them will be disappointed when the recruiter who seemed very interested and solicitous becomes distant and doesn’t have time to call back. says: No one works for you. It’s understandable how job seekers would assume a person whose role seems to be to get them a job isn’t actually working for them, but for the paying company. But just the same, hiring managers and HR seek to discover top talent, yet they still don’t work for job seekers. Like recruiters, managers aren’t obligated to do anything for an applicant, unfortunately even if they contact the person after receiving his/her resume. People do work to benefit whoever is paying them, and 9 times out of 10, that’s not a job seeker.

AOL says: Do not tell your recruiter you don’t know how long you want to keep working.
If you’re thinking of dropping out of the workforce to stay home with your children, care for an aging parent or start your own business, your recruiter may stop returning your calls. says: Keep your career plans to yourself. While AOL’s career advice is right on, job seekers shouldn’t disclose too much of their career plans to anyone when it comes to applying for a job. A hiring manager works for a company just like a recruiter. Even when you land a role, be cautious. Just because your manager seems easy to talk to or your co-worker seems trustworthy doesn’t mean he or she will understand or support your future plans. Knowing a worker isn’t invested in a company for the long run can send red flags to the business.

AOL says: Never spill your guts to a recruiter.
Unlike a best friend, coach or therapist, a recruiter is not interested in your problems or concerns. says: Save in-depth, personal convos for outside the workplace. Recruiters, HR, managers and even colleagues aren’t too interested in your personal life. Keep a strict line between your professional and personal lives, remembering like Vegas, what happens outside of work should stay outside of work.

AOL says: Be honest.
While you don’t want to spill your guts to a recruiter, it is not advisable to lie, either. Unlike a best friend, who does not count on your professionalism to pay her mortgage, and may forgive a fib once in a while, your recruiter relies on candidates who represent themselves accurately. says: Use wisdom. Let’s be real. Do you think when hiring managers at McDonald’s ask an applicant, “So, what made you apply for this position?” they really believe his/her response of “Well, I’ve always admired how McDonald’s treats its workers and wanted to join the team”? We can all be honest and agree that the answer is no.

Use wisdom when talking to everyone—whether the recruiter or your manager. If your goal isn’t to work at the company for the next 10 years, don’t say it is. Focus on your desire to work for the company now and how it will benefit your current career goals, which (throw this in) perfectly align with the company’s mission. Find creative ways to explain your plans without directly saying, “Hey, I just need some cash right now.” Bottom line is recruiters and HR managers aren’t dumb—most people would ditch their jobs if they weren’t receiving a paycheck every two weeks.

AOL says: Recruiters expect you to be loyal.
Loyalty to a best friend doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with other people, but a job seeker can land in really hot water if two recruiters submit his qualifications for the same job. Your loyalty, as a job seeker, lies with you. Like the premise of AOL’s article explains, recruiters don’t work for you. And I remind job seekers that no one does. Job seekers are in it for themselves and need to do what is best for them. Apply to as many companies as you can and go on multiple interviews. Keep your options open. You aren’t tied down to any one company until you have accepted a job offer and completed the new hire paperwork.

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