Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Show me the money…

Posted by sweens on January 27, 2009

I would like to suggest that there are two key mistakes candidates can make when applying for a position they know nothing about.  The first mistake is asking what the job pays right away.  The second is telling the recruiter that they can submit your resume without ever speaking about the opportunity.  Both of these moves are likely to leave a sour taste in the recruiters’ mouth.




I would recommend that this is not the best way to go about trying to find your next contract or position.  This to me demonstrates that your motivation for this position and any subsequent positions are the money associated with each position rather then what the position can offer you.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my goal is to find the right person with the right position rather then someone who can simply do the job.



People who are motivated by money rather then the opportunity on the whole are likely to leave the position for a higher paying position down the road.  This will ultimately not benefit my client and will force me to find a replacement.  Considering the opportunity on the whole from career potential to staff size, company culture and advancement opportunity, can often reflect a better opportunity then one that simply comes with a large pay cheque.




This is also a bit of a ‘no-no’ when you have never spoken to the recruiter about the position.  There is a tone of information from rate to contract length that needs to be discussed before both sides agree that any given opportunity is right for both sides.  Someone who is willing to be presented to a client before they know any of the details –including who the client is – can represent someone who is desperate for any position and may not be in your clients’ best interest.


While I offer a bit of a warning for these two points, if you feel that opening your conversation with a recruiter based around these two points is necessary, you should consider how it will be perceived.   I for example received an email from someone I contacted that did express an interest in one of my positions but did also point out that they were happy where they currently were.  They then pointed out what their currently salary was and where their expectations lied.  This to me was beneficial as I can tell directly if this candidate is in my range.  What was good about this email was it was professional and the candidate took some time to write about his current employment situation and what it would take for them to make a move. 


Much better then opening up with “What is the salary for this position?”

3 Responses to “Show me the money…”

  1. Colin said

    Great article.

    If all the hype about the pending (or current) tech labor shortage is true…what has a candidate got to lose by “blindly” submitting their resume on multiple opportunities? If it’s a seller’s market… why not test the waters? Employers that are losing productivity or market share due to a vacant key role within their organization are more likely to extend an offer to a candidate that they feel is trainable or at the very least possesses some of the skills they feel will help them in the short term. So what the heck, as a candidate why not throw your line in the water and see what you can snag…and why not jack up your price while you’re at it?

    If a candidate tells you to go ahead and submit their CV without requesting any information about the role, it suggests that you have spoken to or at least reached out to them. Likely because you felt they may, after further investigation, be a good candidate for you to pursue/submit.

    You make some great points…albeit from the recruiter’s perspective. Everything you mention above helps you do a better job for your client but I fail to see how it helps the candidate in the current market given how many times they are likely contacted by a recruiter. Sure, if you have what you believe to be a firm grasp of your candidate’s compensation expectations (have you ever verified someone’s current income to compare?), an understanding of their previous professional experience and how it relates to your open position as well as their career goals, their personality and knowledge of your client and their products/services it certainly does make your life easier. Now, put yourself in the candidate’s shoes…imagine having that discussion with every recruiter that calls?

    In most cases, the face-to-face interview between the candidate and end client is where the information on the “opportunity” is gathered, processed and a decision made to move forward or walk away. As recruiters, we do our best to sell the candidate on the position based on the knowledge (sometimes limited) we have of the client, the role, related technologies, job stretch/growth potential, opportunity to be mentored or mentor others, available training, benefits, office/team environment and chemistry with the hiring manager(s) to name a few. At the end of the day, our job is to basically facilitate an introduction between our client and candidate based on a clear understanding of our client’s needs and the candidate’s qualifications. As third party recruiters, we often don’t possess detailed insight of the role/company that most corporate recruiters do or what candidates get from an in-person interview to make a life altering decision. Again, another reason I don’t fault the candidate’s decision to go “fishing” for potential opportunities.

    I don’t judge candidates that agree to forward their resumes willy-nilly to any recruiter that calls. Personally, I don’t see how it is any different than throwing your resume up on Workopolis or any other job board for everyone (recruiters and clients) to see. However, I do agree with you that it’s up to us to make the decision to submit the candidates that seem to be genuinely interested in our positions while at the same time protecting our client’s best interests and not wasting their time by representing candidates that we feel aren’t engaged. What are your chances of retaining a candidate that agrees to submit their resume blindly on every order that comes knocking? In my experience, if by the time you are successful getting them an offer they are already considering at least two or three others and you’ve just opened yourself up to a world of explaining and backpedaling when they decline and your client is left high and dry.

  2. keith said

    Firstly, Tom I want to say that your post was well thought out and presented some excellent points. I strongly agree that submitting your resume without regard for the possibility of success is a common but avoidable mistake that many candidates make everyday. I understand that when you’re between positions “fishing” for an opportunity for the purposes of increasing exposure may seem like the fastest way to a new career. As Colin says above “why not test the waters”. I’m sure strong arguements can be made for both sides of this discussion but my personal views fall on the opposite side of “why not throw your line in the water and see what you can snag…and why not jack up your price while you’re at it?”

    Candidates should remember that in many cases, where web applications are considered, a single person will recieve your resume at a given company. While sending your resume multiple times for multiple positions is sure to increase your exposure, I would argue that it does so in a negaitve way. Recruiters, HR professionals, and administrators are likely to stop giving your resume any attention if they see it being submitted for every position that they have available. Why would they do this? They would do this because you’re marketing yourself as someone who just doesn’t care you just want a job…..any job. Company’s want people who understand and value the experience that they have gained in their career. They want candidates that can demonstrate how they are BEST able to make a contribution. If you don’t understand which positions you are truly qualified for and how you can best market that value effectively to a potential employer your “increased exposure” won’t increase your chances of getting that new career.

    For candidates I wouldn’t suggest doing anything “willy-nilly”. Read job descriptions closely, consider your experience in line with what they are looking for and the IF YOU”RE QUALIFIED tailor a resume and cover letter to highlight those skills that you bring to the position. It should take time to apply to each job. If you can do it in 10 seconds you’re likely no the best application that an employer will receive.

    Just my opinion.

    In my opinion looking for a

  3. Colin said

    Hi Tom,

    I’d like to add clarification on my comments above, it appears as though they could be easily misinterpreted by your readers. I certainly do not endorse nor would I ever encourage a candidate (active or passive) to execute a job search that isn’t well thought out. I was simply offering up possible scenarios of what a candidate that is willing allow a recruiter to represent them on an opportunity without first knowing all the details might be thinking. Every candidate is unique and I find it helps to step back every once in a while and look at things from their perspective. My comments were also specific to candidates that are approached by recruiters, not candidates applying directly to a company.

    The decision to put a candidate forward to your client is obviously one you should be confident you can back up. Every resume you submit is not only a reflection of the agency you represent, but your personal ability to qualify an individual based on your understanding of the requirement. Your topic certainly addresses the type of information needed to be successful in that regard.

    Good job on the blog, keep it coming!


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