Mythbusters: Breaking Down the Walls Between Recruiters and Talent in STEM.

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The world of science, engineering, and technology is always changing, driven by brilliant minds pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Yet, even in this high-powered domain, one thing remains shockingly stagnant: the perception of recruiters. Often cast as robots simply shuffling resumes or gatekeepers guarding your dream jobs—in fact, recruiters face a mountain of myths that keep them from connecting with the very experts they’re meant to advocate. 

Instead, let’s bust those myths and build some bridges. We asked a panel of Kelly technical recruiters about some of the uncomfortable truths, misconceptions, and outdated practices that plague the recruiting world today. Their answers show why a skilled recruiter can be more than just a middleman—they can be a trusted advisor, a career whisperer, and a true champion for your potential.  

Myth 1. Are recruiters becoming our robot overlords? 

Okay, maybe not “overlords,” but with all the fancy algorithms and AI out there, are recruiters just glorified software filters looking for keywords? How do you ensure you’re finding the human spark beyond the resume? 

“… You have to pick up the phone and talk to the human on the other end. While internet and technology advances in the last 20 years have made searching and applying to jobs infinitely easier, too many times job searching platforms and online ATS systems remove the human aspect of the job search that people are so desperately craving. While I still think there is value in a well-crafted resume, a phone call will always trump an online application. 

Athena Parker, Recruiting Manager, Science & Clinical

“… It’s crucial to establish a human connection or find common ground to ensure that the recruitment process feels less transactional. I ask candidates about their living situation, the weather, local activities, and more, beyond simply presenting the job opportunity. This approach adds a personal touch, fostering trust with candidates. I want them to rest assured that we have a mutual understanding, and that I genuinely have their best interests in mind throughout the recruiting and interview process.” 

Mark Moller, Team Lead, Engineering

 “… I try my best to picture the person beyond the paper. I know I’m much more than my education and experience and so is every single applicant. That’s why getting to know each candidate is key. Everyone has aspirations, reasons they go to work every day, and ways they add value. It’s our job to find out what those are—and make sure we’re not only aligning them with a job, but also a job that aligns with them.” 

 – Dana Foshee, Scientific Recruiter, Science & Clinical

Myth 2. Why has ghosting gone wild? 

Candidates put their heart and soul into applications, only to be met with radio silence. How do you combat the ghastly ghosting epidemic and ensure clear, timely communication throughout the process, even for those not offered the role? 

“… Ghosting will always be an obstacle in recruiting, but there are ways to reduce the frequency of it. I always let candidates know in the beginning that if they do end up changing their mind or finding another position, I understand. The reason many people ghost is because they’re scared to upset their recruiter or deal with conflict—so I try to make it a point that I will not be upset and that I understand life happens. I also like to think my responsiveness and turnaround time goes a long way when candidates ask for updates. I always prioritize answering my phone as well as responding to voicemails and emails within 1-2 hours.” 

Dana Foshee, Scientific Recruiter, Science & Clinical

“… When candidates perceive that their best interests are genuinely valued (as they always should be), and there’s a sense of personal connection, they’re less inclined to resort to ghosting. To address the issue of clients ghosting talent, I actively maintain close communication with our hiring managers, ensuring timely feedback for the talent. I make it a priority to stay in regular contact with candidates, keeping them informed about the process and providing feedback, even when it may not be entirely favorable.”  

Mark Moller, Team Lead, Engineering

“… Never has it been easier to search for jobs and apply to 100’s of jobs at the click of a button.  Many times candidates don’t even remember applying to my job specifically because job searching is considered a numbers game, the more you apply the better your odds. I’ve had good success by communicating to candidates and even hiring managers that it’s OK to say NO to me. It’s OK to say no you’re not interested in the job I called about, no I don’t want to accept this offer, no the interview didn’t go well. Once I hear no—I now have a direction to go and can adapt my approach to personalize your experience even further.” 

Athena Parker, Recruiting Manager, Science & Clinical

Myth 3. How do you survive the salary shuffle? 

We all know salaries in STEM are often opaque, shrouded in mystery. How do you navigate the delicate dance of salary transparency and ensure both candidates and companies feel informed and valued through the negotiation process? 

“… First and foremost, we always initiate the salary discussion upfront before commencing the recruiting process. We confirm that the proposed salary aligns with our client’s budget, and then when engaging with candidates, we encourage them to express their salary expectations, to align with the client’s expectations upfront. This proactive approach helps maintain alignment among all parties. In our experience, conducting these discussions upfront significantly minimizes discrepancies and reduces the need for extensive negotiation on the backend.” 

Mark Moller, Team Lead, Engineering

“… Same here. From my experience, candidates have been most responsive and receptive when I present the position’s salary upfront. I try to save time for all parties involved by being forthcoming from the beginning. I also make sure I’m asking about their target salary goals, so that if there’s any flexibility, we get them closest to that number. Upon presenting to the hiring manager, I make sure they know what the candidate is aiming for and their absolute minimum. This allows for all parties to make an informed decision.” 

Dana Foshee, Scientific Recruiter, Science & Clinical

“… I think that understanding market data on salaries is so critical to salary negotiation and pay transparency. I would advise that before any person apply to a job, or really any company hire someone, they do some research into the market, but also evaluate their budget to know the target salary and their walkaway salary. I would also advise all parties to understand the ‘why’ behind their search and decide what parts are negotiable and non-negotiable. If you go into a negotiating situation not really knowing what you want to negotiate—only that you want to win—you could get an incredible offer and never be happy.” 

Athena Parker, Recruiting Manager, Science & Clinical

Let’s keep breaking down the walls. 

The future of talent in STEM isn’t a fairy tale waiting to be written, it’s a collaborative effort demanding clear communication and a willingness to challenge outdated norms. Kelly Science, Engineering, Technology, & Telecom seeks to shed common recruiter myths and champion diverse perspectives that fuel innovation. Instead of robots replacing relationships, together let’s leverage tech as a tool to enhance our ability to connect with potential. Algorithms can’t replace the human touch that identifies potential beyond resumes, and the human spark remains the driving force behind successful careers. Join us in dismantling the walls of misconception and building a more effective, equitable talent acquisition landscape in STEM. Together, we can unlock the true potential of this dynamic field.  

Want more information on how Kelly can work with you to support your career in STEM? Explore the roles we’re actively recruiting for now, or join our talent pool to submit your credentials to our recruiters without applying for a specific job. 

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