Recruiters Behaving Badly

Recently, I heard more bad recruiter stories from candidates searching for new roles.

When recruiters behave badly, it damages all recruiter brands, the company brand (including yours, if you’re hiring) and the candidate brand (you, if you’re job searching).

You may like to think that everyone is ethical and there to help you. Alas, that is not always the way.

I finally had an excellent role for a candidate that I had been speaking with for several months. The role aligned well with his expertise, values and goals. We had talked several times. I knew him well, and I felt it was a great match. I called him, and he said another recruiter from X company had called him two days before to send his CV to companies speculatively. When I asked where the recruiter was sending his details, he said, ‘I don’t really know’.

After further discussion with him, he indicated that it was most likely to at least three other competing companies, but he wasn’t sure. One of them was likely the company that I was working with at that time on an exclusive arrangement.

This brought up a few reasons for concern:

  1. Do you really want your personal details sent to people that you don’t know or companies that you have no idea about?

  2. Would you or another agency have represented you better? A recruiter’s role is to understand you and the organisation well enough to present you both in the best possible way. It doesn’t look good for you if you pull out early because you did not really want to work there anyway. It also wastes an employer’s time with people who are not suitable. How can a five-minute conversation provide insight? You could also become caught in the middle of an annoying fee issue if you then apply for a role at the company independently or through another agency.

  3. Some recruiters will refuse to assist you further and will focus on candidates that they know have not had their details sent out to the client so they can make their fee. I believe that these are short-sighted recruiters who are there for a quick dollar and not interested in long-term relationships with their clients or you.

  4. The stranger reading your CV could be someone who knows your boss or someone else who you don’t want to know that you are thinking of moving roles, particularly if it’s a competitive company.

After 20 years of recruiting, I have some fantastic long-term relationships with organisations, and I partner as their HR and recruiter, as do many recruiters.

A good recruiter will want to get to know you as a candidate, understand your skills but also your motivations and values and not just be a ‘CV shuffler’.

So please do your due diligence and ensure that the ethics and standards of those you work with, as a job seeker or employer, represent you appropriately. They are there to advocate for you.

And always be sure to know where your personal details are going.

About the author: Marilyn Jones is an executive recruiter experienced in resourcing staff for companies and assisting individuals with their careers. Working for both niche and multinational recruitment organisations, Jones has worked across multiple sectors in many industry and business sectors both in Australia and the UK.

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