Judi Wunderlich posted a good blog this week entitled, "Why Recruiters Get A Bad Rap (a cautionary tale)".  There were a bunch of responses including one from me saying that recruiters should be held to a higher standard.  I thought I would share a story which I originally posted on my blog, www.viewfrommadisonave.blogspot.com.  I thought it would amuse all professional and above board recruiters so I am repeating it in its entirety here.


Adventures in Recruiting: The Case of the Over-Zealous Recruiter

This  posting is what actually happened to a candidate a few years ago.  And, yes, it really did happen.  You can’t make this stuff up.


The head of account management at an agency gave me an assignment to find someone to run a major car account.  It was obviously a very senior job.  I came up with a great idea for a candidate, Jim.  I called him, got his permission to submit him and sent his résumé.  The client and I agreed on a time and date for them to meet.  The interview was confirmed and would take place on the following Monday at 10am. 


On Wednesday I briefed  Jim.  We discussed the job and I told him what to expect during the interview, and then I left for a long weekend of skiing.  On Friday morning, at the end of my first run, I called my office to find a very distressed message from Jim.  It seems that another recruiter had called him on this job, told him  that he had an exclusive and that I could not represent the candidate.  The candidate further went on to tell me that the other recruiter had insisted that only he was now representing my candidate and I was no longer involved. Needless to say, I was upset and quite perplexed.


I immediately called my client and found out that, indeed, the new president of the agency (it just happened that week and had not yet been announced publicly) had given the assignment to another recruiter. The president was unaware of my relationship with the head of account management, who also happened to head the automotive account.  My client (the head of account management) reassured me that I still had the assignment, that I was his preferred recruiter and he would be seeing my candidate on Monday morning as originally scheduled.  He told me he would handle it internally and with the other recruiter.


I called my candidate back, reassured him, reconfirmed the appointment and continued skiing.


I wrote the incident off as merely an aggressive competitor and spent a lovely weekend in Vermont.  On Monday,  I had not heard from my candidate by about noon, which I took to be a good sign.  Long interviews are generally positive.  At a little after noon, Jim actually stopped dropped by my office since it was just a block away from the client’s office. Boy, was I surprised when my candidate told me why his interview ended more than two hours after the scheduled start.


It seems that when Jim showed up for his 10am appointment, my client was unavailable and in another meeting.  After waiting a few minutes, the administrative assistant came out to the reception area and asked my candidate why he was there.  My candidate said that he had an appointment.  “No,” the admin said, “you called me Friday and canceled.”  He couldn't believe what he was hearing but immediately knew what happened.  He, of course, had not made the call.  He explained the situation.  He was told to wait and, after a few minutes, was informed he would be seen at 11.


When Jim told me what happened, I was as shocked as he was.  Nothing like it has ever happened before or since.  With Jim still in my office, I went to the phone and called the other recruiter’s boss, with whom I had had a long-term relationship.  Her comment about her employee, “I guess he was being a little aggressive.”  I was flabbergasted that another recruiter would permit this kind of behavior.  If the offending recruiter had worked for me, he would have been terminated without any discussion.


It takes all kinds.... 


The end of the story is that all’s well that ends well.  Jim got the job.  I subsequently learned that the other recruiter actually sent an invoice to the president of the agency.  He did not get paid.  What I cannot believe is that the president of the agency continued to use the other recruiter.


I have never understood why recruiters are not held to higher standards by the firms who hire them. 

Views: 217

Comment by Tami Brittain on May 4, 2011 at 12:35pm
That actually happened to me a few years back. I won't go into detail because, well, the offending party (who was new at the time, I'll give him that) is actually a frequent poster on RB's and I don't want to embarrass him! The years have passed and the scars have faded (his emotional scars will heal in time, hopefully), but I know how "challenging" it can be, especially when you're in a remote location. Thanks for sharing. :)
Comment by Professional Recruitment Resourc on May 5, 2011 at 12:28pm

We actually had an unscrupulous recruiter call our client, the hospital administrator, pretending to be the physician that we had placed.  He said that he had changed his mind and would not be accepting the position after all.  The CEO called to ask what had happened.  We were able to keep the deal in place but I thought I had seen it all now...

Comment by Scott Corwin on May 5, 2011 at 12:56pm

Unfortunately 90% (or more) of our peers are the ones who give
recruiters a bad name. Ironically, those individuals do not look to better
themselves or participate (generally speaking) in forms like this. Sadly, our
industry has taught Clients to commoditize recruiting. Clearly we are not all
the same. It is our collective task to educate all clients that all recruiters
are not created equally. Only when a client values what we do can you truly
partner to find success for all.

Comment by Mat von Kroeker on May 5, 2011 at 1:43pm
Since when did the definition of "aggressive" mean:  "To display immoral, amoral, unethical, lying, backstabbing, inscrupulous, dispicable behavior."??   Sound's like the recruiters boss wouldn't care if the "aggressive recruiter" ran over her grandmother to make a buck.  The bottomfeeders truely caste a bad light on the industry when the vaste majority are ethical professionals looking out for their candidates and clients.
Comment by Katherine Lebeck on May 5, 2011 at 3:49pm
This is unbelievably believable! This has never happened to me but a good lesson. Thanks for sharing!
Comment by Paul S. Gumbinner on May 5, 2011 at 3:52pm
Thanks for all your nice comments.  I am glad to know that I am not the only one something awful and sleazy has been done to.  I guess every profession has its bad practitioners.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 5, 2011 at 9:56pm

I office shared with one of these slime balls for about five months.  I knew he was doing some shady stuff with an HR rep but wasn't sure exactly what.  So i bounced in the office one day with a very serious look told him that i knew he was working with XYZ company and i felt like since we were working so closely in the same office i needed to make him aware of some confidential information that i had picked up from one of the external auditors who was being called in for a forensic audit due to suspected kickbacks being paid to vendors.  I was sure it wouldn't effect him but i knew that he had billed this company for time spent on a recent search that he had not filled so wanted to make sure if he were contacted he would be ready to speak about it.


For the next week the schmuck was digging around in old boxes of invoices going back years pulling invoices with his sweaty little paws.  Many conversations were held with his door closed.  The walls being so thin that i could hear it was a joy to listen to him call his buddy and tell him he needed to meet him for coffee off site and where.  Never one to miss an opportunity i called a friend with the police department asked him to take his partner for coffee and to sit as close to this guy as possible.  Told my cop friend about the deal.  He died laughing and said, "I hope i never do anything wrong that you find out about, i would rather piss off a black widow spider".  They did have coffee next to my office mate and reported that when they sat down all conversation stopped and there was a lot of silent coffee consumed while my cop bud and his partner talked about every fraud case they had ever investigated.


Sometimes a little creativeness is better than a confrontation.  I moved out of the office a few weeks later.

Comment by Recruiting Animal on May 6, 2011 at 7:06am
Paul and others on this conversation. Do you want to come on the Recruiting Animal Show and discuss these stories. They're great.
Comment by Paul S. Gumbinner on May 6, 2011 at 9:19am
Don't know what the show is.  Happy to share, however.


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