THINGS YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT RECRUITING BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK.

 

Amy Ala and I have decided to collaborate on a blog.  How about that dahling! A classy internal corporate recruiter and the "Phyllis Diller' of  third party headhunting actually collaborating on something.  We will take questions, situations, problems and try to give suggestions, opinions, advice from our different sides of the industry and in a lot of cases our different generations.  I am generation A and she's X so we should have it covered.  If you would like for us to take your specific question or situation email either of us.  We will of course put our gorgeous, brilliant, hilarious heads together and see if we can shed some light on "THE STICKY STUFF"

 

The Situation this week: 

You just found out that the company is for sale.  It's a big secret.  Nobody is supposed to know except the top execs.  You are a recruiter.  Do you continue to recruit and fill positions knowing that there is a high probability that when the company sells people will be laid off or have to move if they want a job or the job and the supervisor will change.  What if you recruit someone who quits a good job to join and gets laid off 60 days later.  You knew it might happen and you didn't and couldn't tell them.  Yuck!  What do you do?

 

As an Internal Corporate Recruiter here is what Amy has to say:

 

Wow.  Well, sad to say, as a corporate recruiter my first instinct is “What about ME?”  If a company is being sold, then what does that mean for the recruiting strategy and my own job security?  Does the buying company have a corporate office elsewhere?  Will I be out of a job?  Or worse – be asked to RELOCATE? (I can’t imagine living anywhere else).

Here’s the catch.  I’m not supposed to know about this.  Probably heard it from some smart agency recruiter whose job it is to have an ear to the ground and hear these rumblings before anyone else.  I shouldn’t know… but now I do.  Enough about me, back to the original question.  Do I still RECRUIT?

As difficult as it may be, yes.  Yes, I do.  I have a job to perform.  I am paid to source, attract, and facilitate the hiring of talent for my company.  I can’t walk away and focus on other (safer) business, like my third party friends.  Maybe my pitch changes a little.  Maybe I don’t focus as much on company growth, stability, all the other fantastic things we usually discuss with prospective candidates.  Maybe I’ll probe more for adaptability, willingness to adjust to change.  After all, being sold doesn’t always equal being laid off.  But it sure will mean things will be different.   

 

As a Third Party Recruiter here is what Sandra has to say:

 

Well Rat Crap,  I have three open reqs on my desk.  I just got a nervous phone call from my Sr. contact in HR.  He Knows the company is being sold and he is at high risk for being redundant based on the size of the buyers HR department so his resume is now in my inbox and i am sworn to secret status.  The internal recruiters i am working with do not know and They CANNOT KNOW.  Alrighty then.  Do i still RECRUIT.

Sorry, the game changes.  Ethically I won't go recruit a passive candidate and convince them to quit a good job to join when i know the company is being sold and senior people are already putting their resumes quietly in the hands of a headhunter.  No can do.

The only candidates i will submit at this point are those that are unemployed, do not have to relo and are stressed enough that they would welcome the opportunity to be employed even if they get laid off or might have to move later.  But, my sell mode just went from 10 to minus 1.  In fact i probably won't do much with this company until after the sale is announced and things shake out.  It's even going to be a bit difficult to represent candidates coming out of this company because i am going to have to soft peddle their reason for wanting to make a change.  I hate secret sticky stuff.

 

As to the internal recruiters i work with.  Nope, i can't say anything even though i really like them and wish i could.  Maybe i can recruit one of them for a great job if i have one come up but i can't tell them, i gave my word.  If they ask about a rumor i have to disavow any knowledge.  So if it happens to be my cousin Sally, things will be a bit tense at family holiday dinner if she ever finds out i knew, didn't tell her and she got cut.  Business is business.  If i happen to be dating one of the internals...well like they say, men are like buses and this one is going to run over me.

 

What would you do either as an internal or thrid party recruiter?

 

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Can I just start by saying that before I even read another word of this post- I love the name Sticky Stuff ; )
I should have given you credit for the inspiration.  When i discussed this blog with Tim and told him about our first subject his comment was, "That is Sticky".  Thus was born the blog name.  Proving once again that thinking about something for days with no inspiration hardly ever works as well as sharing something and hearing a response that gives one what they were looking for all week.  Thanks Tim!

Just got an email from someone who has a question but doesn't want to post publically because they are in this situation now.

"Why don't companies put a freeze on hiring when a sale is underway so the people who can't know do not get put in the position of inadvertantly lying to candidates when they ask about the stability and goals of the company?"

 

Good question anonymous, I asked that one myself the last time this came up.  I was told that if they did that it would send the message to people that the company might be in trouble as current employees know that there are openings that (without a sale going on) are critical to fill.  The other thought is, if for some reason the sale does not go through ,open positions are now past critical and harder to fill due to the lag time.  It's a real catch 22.

What do you think Amy?

it really is a catch 22... and part of it is around who knows/who doesn't?  If the sale is not being publicized and no one is supposed to know, then putting all openings on hold will send all kinds of signals - some potentially WORSE than just being sold.  (going out of business perhaps?)

 

Ultimately it's not fair, and it puts the recruiter in a nightmare scenario - but before we get all worked up over fairness to potential new hires, we really should keep in mind that NO job comes with a lifetime guarantee.  Everytime you accept a position there's a bit of a risk.

Here's a question i can't answer, is there an attorney out there someplace or someone who has ever encountered this situation?  I will make a couple of calls and see if i can find an attorney who can give us an answer on this one.

 

If a company recruits a high level professional, say a doctor, a sr. lab director, a sr. sales manager.  They move him clear across the country, he sells his home quickly, buys another one in the new city, moves his family and 90 days later the company is sold.  He was not given full disclosure or he would never have taken the job andor moved his famly.  He is now unemployed.  Due to having only been there a short time he is not given a big severance package.  Does he have legal recourse to sue the hiring company for failing to make full disclosure of the potential sale when he was hired?

Oooh, good one.  It's getting stickier by the minute.  I think we also need to consider "right to work" state???

Sandra McCartt said:

Here's a question i can't answer, is there an attorney out there someplace or someone who has ever encountered this situation?  I will make a couple of calls and see if i can find an attorney who can give us an answer on this one.

 

If a company recruits a high level professional, say a doctor, a sr. lab director, a sr. sales manager.  They move him clear across the country, he sells his home quickly, buys another one in the new city, moves his family and 90 days later the company is sold.  He was not given full disclosure or he would never have taken the job andor moved his famly.  He is now unemployed.  Due to having only been there a short time he is not given a big severance package.  Does he have legal recourse to sue the hiring company for failing to make full disclosure of the potential sale when he was hired?

At least he got six months and a good severance and housing for a year.  That would seem to be a fair package albit a disappointment. 

 

I don't know if "at will" makes any difference if non disclosure of impending sale is involved but i will be interested to see what the legal eagles have to say.  You can sue a ham sandwich which would probably be settled with a big severance.  I am just interested in what the non disclosure of a sale might mean or not when it came to a new hire and a quick layoff.

 

Did the Holiday Inn have hot water?

Got a legal opinion.  "It would be a legal matter, ie; the company would probably file for summary judegement if it is a right to work state, then it would be up to the judge to decide if there were a legit cause of action." "If the judge said yes, then the the employee could move forward with a civil action under failure to disclose."  "But would be a difficult case to win in some states unless it were a jury trial."  "I would suggest that anyone taking a job that required them to move their family, sell their home etc ask for a simple employment contract that states severance if the company sells or merges resulting in a lay off/termination not based on failure of the employee to perform."

 

Then i asked if the recruiter either internally or TPR could be joined to the civil suit personally if it could be proved that the recruiter knew and failed to disclose.  If so would errors and omissions cover a judgement if the employee prevailed in the lawsuit?

 

Opinion:  "The attitude in these kind of suits is sue everybody one can find who might have been a party to the failure to disclose."  "As to errors and omissions policy, probably not since it would not be an error and it would not be an inadvertant omission, but check with your insurance provider on that one, too many different policies to give an opinion without reviewing the policy." "As a practical matter the recruiters involved would probably be move valuable to prove that the company not only was aware and took overt action to fail to disclose if they specifically told their recruiters about the sale and instructed them not to tell candidates."  "If recruiters were not told specifically and only knew because of rumors it would be considered hearsay and not admissable or actionable."

Thanks Sandra, that makes sense.  It would seem that the solution is to negotiate a strong employment contract, something along the lines of if the candidate is let go due to no fault of their own in the first 12 months they're entitled to (insert severance here).

 

All the more reason why in a relo situation you better have some good reasons BESIDES the company to move somewhere.

Legal opinions are just that and can differ dramatically from state to state and attorney to attorney, that's why both sides have one or two and a judge/jury.

A lot of companies might not want to include a "no fault termination" clause but might include a specific clause that specifically addresses termination due to sale or merger within a reasonable time period. If not I would want to know why they would not if I were considering uprooting a family for a job move.

I think people should also consider the location they are moving to in terms of, if this job does not work out, are there other opportunities available in the area for someone with my skillset. Some of the most disappointing situations I have ever seen happen when someone with a unique skillset or high salary range moves to smaller city they love then if the job blows up they have to move again. There are never any guarantees but evaluating risk should be a part of the process.
I love the structure of this discussion, it is a great idea to read from both sides and see the insight into the differences! Definately a great collaboration
Thanks Chantelle. If you have a question or situation that is "sticky" please email Amy or me.

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