I have been a recruiter for almost 40 years and many years ago, helped to create the myth of the superiority of the passive job applicant. The myth was created to combat the huge advertising advantage that larger search firms by inferring that the people they were representing were inferior.
The myth suggests that the passive job applicant is superior to because the active job hunter is the one who is a failure at their current firm or was cut by a company for inferior performance.
While those points may be true of some, most people who are looking for work were laid off because of economic circumstances, not because of incompetence and, if they are working and looking for work, because they are seeking a better opportunity elsewhere.
And, if you are someone who found a position by answering an ad, how do you feel hearing that others think less of your qualifications based upon the medium you were located by rather than through an evaluation of your skill and ability relative to others.
So, the next time a recruiter tries that that little speech with them, I hope you stand up proudly and tell them that you found your job through an ad (or found the recruiter who referred you to the job through an ad) and put this nonsense away once and for all.
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