Dave Perry on How Much To Tell A Recruiter (and background checks)

Last August I did an Ask The Expert call with Dave Perry… it was awesome.  You can access it (and others) for free here.  In a blog post announcing his interview I got a comment with a great question… and Dave answered it.  Here is the complete question/answer.  If you think Dave is great, you have to devour his book and check out his other stuff.

Bruce’s question is about disclosure to a recruiter:

My wife is in a quandry.While working in a full-time job, she began the application process for a new job on December 15th. The new firm has an extensive process with a number of tests, interviews, etc.

On January 10, her company let her go.

The new company looks ready to make an offer, but the firm’s recruiter announced that they’ll be doing background and employment checks.

Should she inform the recruiter that she was let go two weeks ago?

It is now January 31.

What to do????

Dave Perry’s response is:

Bruce, here are the only three things she needs to do right now:a. Tell the recruiter the truth – that she was let go, and why,
b. Hand the recruiter a list of references – whom she’s already spoken to and can talk on job success — at the same time she tells the recruiter (yes get in the car Monday and drive over to the company and talk to the recruiter in person)
c. Make a list of all the other companies she wants to work for and get resumes out to them because she wants to create competition for her skills in case the company’s process ‘drags’ a while.


a. The recruiter is going to find out — unless they are stupid, AND they’d have to really be dumb to not pick up on it during a reference call. Preempting their discovery takes the sting out of it – if indeed there is any sting in it! AND most importantly it shows you are honest AND may light a fire under the recruiters posterior to grab you before you start looking elsewhere,
b. Giving them the reference check saves the recruiter hours of work trying to find the info themselves, and you somewhat guide them to the people they should be talking to.
c. A little competition is good for the ego and keeps employers honest!

The future is in your hands.

David Perry

I love Dave Perry… don’t you?