What I love about recruiting is that every day I learn something new.  Both good and bad.  Would love your opinion about this.


About ten months ago, I got two fee paid assignments from a foreign company with offices in the US.  One was a general manager, the other a director of digital.  I placed both candidates.


Last week I got a call from one of the GM candidates.  He had been approached by another recruiter to interview for a digital job, working for the new head of digital that I placed.  He told me who the recruiter was and that he was going to meet with her on the 31st, prior to being submitted.  Aside from being way too senior for the job (I had sent this person on the general manager spot), I didn’t think he was qualified for the digital spot, even thought I had not received the job specs.


I contacted both people I placed and they told me that they were hiring a fairly junior person ($125-140k) but were not using a recruiter. They both assured me that I would get any recruitment assignments.  The candidate who had contacted me was in the $250k range.


The candidate called me today to say he had a ten minute meeting with the recruiter who was unsure of the assignment.  However, prior to any interview or discussion, the recruiter asked him to sign a contract guarantying that only this recruiting firm could represent him at this company for a period of twelve months and that no matter what, he could not go to this firm through any other recruiter and, if he did, the recruitment firm would be his exclusive representative and be entitled to any fees.




I laughed.  First, because the candidate was way over-qualified, second, because the recruiter did not have an assignment and, finally, because I thought that the candidate was a fool to have signed it and that the recruiter was pretty shady.


Have any of you ever heard of this?  Is it legal?  Is it ethical?

Views: 443

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 3, 2012 at 4:09pm

Save me from these sharks who do this.  Since they have no bonofide job order that wouldn't stand up for five minutes if it were challenged.  It would be the same thing as going through the phone book, picking out 50 companies and asking a candidate to sign some sort of agreement that if they submitted them to any of those companies they would be due a fee.  Under the circumstance of no job order it is in my non lawyer opinion not only illegal but very unethical.  I suppose anybody can sign anything agreeing to anything but if the company honors your referrals for the period of a year your agreement with them would supercede any thing he signed for the next two months.  Particularly if he told this gal that he had already been submitted to that company by another recruiter within the past year.


I tell candidates that when any recruiter asks them to sign any kind of contract or any agreement other than a permission to check references they should limit it to that specific job if they are dumb enough to sign anything at all.  There are some recruiters who ask a candidate to sign a release for them to submit to their clients to prevent someone else from just picking up a resume off the net and firing it in without contacting the candidate but most companies will honor the first referral they get from a recruiter and tell anybody else to take it up with the other recruiter.  The company gets to decide who they will accept referrals from either by timeline or approved vendor so all the signed garbage in the world does very little except intimidate the candidate.


I agree he was foolish to sign it.  I would have suggested to him that he call her and tell her that he was still under the timeline referral from your company so she would need to tear up the silly thing he signed.  If she refuses then tell her that if she can not produce a viable job order then she has no standing to ask for a signed agreement to represent him to a company that is not their client.


And we wonder why people think recruiters are snakes.  Maybe it is because a lot of them hiss.





Comment by Paul S. Gumbinner on January 3, 2012 at 4:11pm


Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 3, 2012 at 4:17pm

My other question would be, did this contract state that if he went to the company on his own without a recruiter being involved would they try to collect a fee based on this contract?  If that is the case the company needs to know that there is a recruiter out there who is seeing positions listed then trying to gather up viable candidates, get them on contract to try and get a fee based on a contract with the candidate as opposed to actually having a job order.  It sounds like it might be somebody trying to act as agent for candidates by putting them on contract.

Comment by Lisa A, Doorly on January 4, 2012 at 10:56am

Unfortunately - this is not the first time I have heard of this practice.  I have heard it used more with the unemployed - usually because they are desperate for a job.  It never ceases to amaze me the lowlifes in this world who can sleep peacefully at night.

Comment by Terence on January 4, 2012 at 11:40am

It wouldnt stand up in court as it could essentially hinder him from getting a new job, I always say to my candidates "you've gotta do what you've gotta do to get a job and I will do my best to help you with this, I don't expect loyalty just honesty if you're honest with me we are going to get on fine" I'll take the "Pepsi Challenge with any other agency out there actions speak louder than words....or shady exclusivity documents, Happy New Year and bring on 2012 it's gonna be fun !!   


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