The longer I am in this business, the more I learn. Additionally, the longer I am here, the more I cannot believe the incongruities and deceits that abound. I know, deceit in biz has been around forever. It is why CS Lewis is taught in business schools and ethics classes. It is also why we have compliance departments and attorneys. It is why we are constantly exposed to others’ mistakes and misfortunes, ie; Martha Stewart and Enron. It is also how we learn and how our true selves are exposed.

Over the last fifteen months, I have changed jobs and as a result, have been exposed to whole ‘nother under-belly of the recruiting industry. It is always difficult for me to believe when I hear of an impropriety or desertion of principles. But it happens every single day. I am told about it, I read about it, and I experience it, myself, first hand.

I understand that everyone has their own level of understanding of the universal moral code, I get that. I also know that as we age in business, how we understand, interpret, and follow that code will alter. Some of us think it’s ok to not pay taxes, some of us think it is ok to not pay a split partner, some of think it is ok to raise our fees to fill a gap, some of think it is ok to not tip. And there are those that pay their taxes dutifully, that pay their split partners as soon as the client pays them, that provide incredible service at the same fee for every customer/client, and that over-tip when it is right and good to do so.

Is it ever ok or right to lie? Is it ever ok to tell a client that you provide a specific service when you don’t? Or that your service will cover their butts should a question or issue or legality arise? Kind of like H&R Block’s promise that they will cover the gap should you have to pay taxes when they have determined and stated that you do not? 

The gist of this rant is that I am tired of the lies that are circulated by companies about their competitors or about themselves simply to gain business. I am tired of the capability lie – I could go on but frankly, I’m getting sick.

©by rayannethorn

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Well said - thank you.

The lies are all around, and one needs to research everything. I love alternative energy, wind and solor are cool in my opinion. So I started to do some research and all I uncovered was lie after lie about the things I cared for. It was disheartening. The worst was when I was in Alaska last year. The gentleman giving us the tour of the glacier said that it had retreated 1.25 miles over the last 20 years. This sounded reasonable to me, as we hear about glaciers retreating all the time. He then said that there are 34 glaciers in Alaska, and 17 of them have retreated during that time. Next he said the other 17 have grown by an equal or greater amount over the same time. The news never mentions that! Errors of omission are as bad as lies.

I research everything now. I am rarely ever able to confirm what I hear. It seems that the world is covered in a grey oozing coat of 'spin'.
You must have been reading my mind. For the past three days i have toyed with the idea of writing something very much along the same line, albeit with a bit more bite as i am wont to do.

Having just about reached the point of deciding that i am finished, done, over and out and not going to read any more high blown blogs written by recruiters, so called thought leaders, self styled experts and self promoting wombats yours today was like a breath of spring breeze. In the past few weeks the regurgitation of insulting opinion flopped out there as fact has been ,to say the least ,irritating beyond human consumption. It appears to me to be ego, stupidity, self promotion or perhaps (being kind ), immature ignorance.

These are examples from various blogs that have been both irritating and the impetus to quit wasting my time reading any of it.

From some pumpkin head PHD who is supposed to be a thought leader..."If you are charging less than a 25% fee you should not be in the business"

My thought (in the McCartt vernacular).."Well Hogwarts, since you are not recruting, running a business and are sitting around telling everybody how to do it while not having been in production for years if ever. Did anybody ever mention to your royal horse's rear that there are thousands of businesses struggling out there in the past year or so. 20% of 200K is a hell of a lot of money in my book and i think it's more than fair. A lot of people don't make that much in a year. What a dumb damn thing to say to an industry where the average fee is and has been since the dawn of time ( i think i was there with coffee ) 20%. Let's go ahead ,coming right out of a recession and raise our fees cause we think we are worth it. Thought leader indeed. Not gonna lead my thoughts and you are off my reading list thank you very much. There are a lot of good recruiters who charge 25%, that's their call and i don't run their business so i won't expound that they are gouging anybody so how about you stuff it with pontificating that anybody who charges less than 25% shouldn't be in the business.

Then there was the wonderful advice proffered by a younger "gonna tell you all how to be successful new MBA "who flatly stated "if you are a generalist you will fail".

Oh really, well darlin, how do you explain the thousands of us who are and haven't failed yet and we've been in the business since you were peeing in your seersucker overalls. We don't sit around and expound on your business model being a loser. Is it really necessary for your success to state as fact that anybody who doesn't do it your way will fail. They make ice cream in at least 31 flavors and believe me junior not everybody likes pistacio nut. So your self promoting insults are off my reading list.

The capper on my cupcake this week was the one with the headline -"Real Recruiters Don't Post Jobs" Followed by several lines of calling any recruiter who does post a job an "inexperience slacker".

That sent my torque level to over the top. I responded with a paragraph or two about self promotion being fine but was it necessary to denigrate over half of the industry in order to self promote and i as one of thousands who are experienced and have been called a lot of things but slacker was not one of them ,did not think it represented our industry well to post this kind of crap. I ended my diatribe by promising that i would not write a blog with a headline that read, "Real Recruiters are not Blonde". That offened Ms. I'm better n' you cause i don't post jobs to the point that she took down my responses. Understand blondie, you probably are a good recruiter, you have a lot of experience, you probably do good work so why in the name of professionalism did you find it necessary to try to aggrandize yourself by saying that "Real Recruiters Don't post Jobs". Immaturity or ego who knows but insulting to thousands of TPR's and internal recruiters..oh yes baby girl, insulting.

It may make you sick Rayanne, all of this garbage floating around makes me furious. I have been in this business for over three decades. I have never seen the amount of lies, self promotion at the expense of others in our industry or the cheating and misrepresentation that exists at this juncture. Maybe i just didn't know about it or Maybe it's the internet where any bimbo, self styled expert or hot shot can say anything they want to and not be held accountable. My solution...if i do read anymore of this junk, i am through taking issue , if i respond with a post it is going to be "Hogwash, garbage, what a bunch of self promoting crap". Most likely i will quit reading it wastes time and irritates me for days.

There are only two ways to do business. Honest and Dishonest there is no gray area. I can't control you but i can damn well stay away from you if fall on the Dishonest side. If you need to denigrate your colleagues or how they do business to be somebody i simply think you are the underbelly.
Sandra McCatt ...great comment...maybe the best comment I have ever read...anywhere.
Thanks Brian, my call a shovel a spade style makes some people a little nervous. Some have observed that i say what a lot of people are thinking but are too PC or too nice to say. I have about decided that the internet is nothing but a giant sewer full of crappy opinions with a few chunks of truth floating around in it. I don't purport to have any final solutions to anything but i am sure sick of those who think they do.

Brian Meeks said:
Sandra McCatt ...great comment...maybe the best comment I have ever read...anywhere.
"A giant sewer" .....Good one!
Your anger is a beautiful thing and well-placed. I just love you Sandra darlin.
Thanks for the original post Rayanne. Needs to be I wish it would shut up all the so-called experts, thought leaders, gurus and liars!

Sandra McCartt said:
Thanks Brian, my call a shovel a spade style makes some people a little nervous. Some have observed that i say what a lot of people are thinking but are too PC or too nice to say. I have about decided that the internet is nothing but a giant sewer full of crappy opinions with a few chunks of truth floating around in it. I don't purport to have any final solutions to anything but i am sure sick of those who think they do.

Brian Meeks said:
Sandra McCatt ...great comment...maybe the best comment I have ever read...anywhere.
Well said Sandra as to the amount of rubbish loose and about in the world.

The best part of the modern web is the ability to express yourself when you see stuff you hate, and then find likeminded people to fully map out that whatever the item is, it's absoulte bullshit.

In my Beadle mode, I despise front-runners, thread hi-jackers, and trojan horse jockeys of all kinds, while that stuff does not bug many others; some even find it savvy behavior rather than sleazy behavior. Likewise with headline inflators- the bloggers and media types who write trollish headlines on purpose. It's low class, but not very many people mind. Sandra does.

A problem with ethics and honesty in general is that stuff is situational and fluid in time and place, and that many, many people do a lot of good things and a few bad things, or vice versa. That's the central problem of history: its impossible to understand many human decisions without a great understanding the moment, and that's often just not possible.

In the scheme of things, who foresaw Bill Gates saving lives by the thousand fighting disease in the third-world and spending billions on education NOT involving Microsoft products, while at the same time Steve Jobs would be in full flower showing sharper kleptocratic fangs than Gates could have dreamed of back in the day ? We will have to finally judge them when they are finished- as for us all. But till then, ain't it great that we all can post rippers like Rayanne's ?

More and better information should make for a better world and more humane and effective judging, but it's a bumpy ride !
ARRRRGGGGHHH! Don't get me started on situational ethics. I think that is where you sort the sheep from the goats. It's pretty easy for a lot of folks to be ethical and honest when business is good. When it gets dark and late they fall off the grid then spend years trying to justify.

Would i understand if someone did not pay me a split if paying me meant they couldn't pay their bills? I might understand their motivation but i would in fact sue their butt.
Dear Rayanne,
Great discussion.
I deal with trades people and labourers every day. Most are not widely educated, and have not gotten to read the great philosophers of the past who have pondered the subject of ethics. And some are. The ones I meet that have MBA's or have graduated from well respected universities that have become carpenters etc. appear to have gotten out of the business world ( "the suits") because of the dishonesties of the corporate world. But to be fair most of those have started their own small business and make a very good income. That is one workable solution to working corporate.

On the flip side - the regular trades people and labourers I deal with do honest work for the pay. But I have an advantage in that the honest and quality of the work is very visible right there on that day they do it. So I can spot the "lies" right away. Agency recruiters have to shift through a lot of information to get to the bottom of a full recruit cycle, and expose the hidden "untruths, and partial truths". That is why you get paid the "big bucks". Hats off to you.
Hear hear! I wish I could have said it so well myself.

Reading this discussion makes me feel better to know there are like-minded people out there. Everyone talks about ethics because they're supposed to, but I wonder what the words really mean anymore. It's situational, as you say, and that drives me nuts.

It also means there's no real way to communicate that you ARE honest and ethical because, until you have the client and have completed the whole cycle, you're just saying the same things the other guy is. How does the client know what's really going to happen when everyone has testimonials, ethics policies, and claims to have full honesty as their highest priority?

Sometimes, we just have to go by our sense of feeling and good judgment when assessing a situation. I really believe this is what it comes down to for a good recruiter - why we have our jobs. We work with the facts we have, we research, we question, we do background checks, we get to know the people involved, but at the end of the day, we're selling an idea that hasn't come to fruition yet. The candidate could fail during the process - or even after the hire - people are not always a predictable commodity. We have no choice but to use our sense of judgment. I'm glad to see some of us still have faith in people.

I'm fortunate to work in an industry that is small, highly qualified, and niche - people tend to know each other. This helps. Call me naive, but I personally cannot imagine a split where the other recruiter decided not to pay me. I've never heard of that happening because the other guy's name would be damaged so badly within the community. I had some good advice from a mentor in recruiting on the subject of splits one time: she said you have to go on trust at some point. Do your research, etc, etc, to be well informed, but if you're spending all of your time developing and signing detailed contracts to avoid anybody screwing the other, what are you doing business together for? It's not porductive - it's time consuming. It made sense to me, and I'm fortunate that it's worked as a guiding philosophy for me so far.

I'd be interested to hear what others in industries where they can remain more "anonymous" think about this. I can't agree enough that personal and business ethics seem to be more liberally translated to fit circumstances than at any other time I've seen in my career, so maybe I have a few things to learn about the reality of splits!

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