LinkedIn Status updates are boring aren’t they? I mean, just how many times do I need to see that, once again, you’re urgently looking for that Swahili speaking SAS programmer who wants to work a contract in Prague for £350p/d? Almost never, I think. Once in a while though, there is a status update that makes you pause, re-read and maybe just go ‘holy fucking shit’. On Thursday June 9th 2011, Daniel Thompson, IT Recruiter at The Bridge Ltd, wrote this:
2. The Boss and the Ex Employee
Within hours, both an ex-employee and current Managing Director of the recruitment business accused of malpractice comment and trade barbs. This, it’s fair to say, we don’t often see.
3. The Agitator
The crowd, roused by the prospect of some serious action, agitates for more
4. The Appeal To Authority
Our hero ups the ante, invoking industry body Recruitment & Employers Confederation informing them of one of their members business practice.
5. The Genius With A Solution That Everyone Ignores
It’s clear that this stage, that solutions are not required, as mob mentality takes over the thread
6. Shit – As Any Schoolkid Knows – Spreads
Accusations escalate – others come forward with corroborating reports support the initial accusation of industry bad practice. Astoundingly, it appears the REC had already been informed about this business malpractice from this organisation, with the implication that nothing had been done about it.
7. The Joker
A bit of light relief is an opportunity to good to ignore. It’s pretty good joke, and a maybe damn fine idea
12. The Gods Are Watching
God gives a sign to the Israelites – praise be someone cares.
13. No Cold Calls Today
It’s fair to say the UK recruitment industry has pretty much ground to halt by now.
What have learned from this scandal in the recruitment industry?
1. It’s Brave To Be The Whistle Blower
As we’ve know already (see Manning, Bradley), blowing the whistle on malpractice carries with it the risk of uncertainty of outcome. At the moment, we do not yet know how this will unfold, for any of the protagonists, commentators, industry bodies or indeed, bloggers involved in this case. What we do know, that it’s a brave move to go public with information of the type Daniel produced. His widespread endorsement by the industry suggests that this is something we all recognize.
2. Recruiters Are Really, REALLY Pissed Off With Cowboy Bad Practice
It’s clear that there is an awareness of how our industry is perceived, and a frustration that comes from not being able to do anything about it. Until now.
3. We All Love A Scandal
‘…it’s better than War and Peace!’, quipped one industry wit. Yes, indeed it is. Nothing creates a stir more than a scandal in an industry we belong to, and it takes no more than a few names being named before we all become gossips over the fence, spreading the word through the recruitment village.
4. Mob Rules On The Social Web
It was interesting to note that the one or two updates that counseled solutions were completely ignored in favour of the foaming-at-the-mouth calls for the head of the accused. We’d become a digital lynch mob the Daily Mail would be proud of, giddy at the breaking of taboo, and continued with calls for ever more severe sanction. Perhaps, from this episode, we can all understand a little more why innocents were once burnt upon the stake.
5. Social Media Is Bad For The Bad Guys
Pretending to be a candidate in order to solicit business intelligence is not mythology in the recruitment business – we all know it, been on the end of it, seen some of us do it, and one or two, like our unfortunate friend yesterday, might have actually routinely practiced it. What is new is that social media allows for this bad practice to be captured, spread by the community and be preserved for posterity, because make no mistake, this thread and the conversations already beginning to circulate around it, are here to stay. There is already evidence that the employer in question has lost business, and one can guess that as the story itself becomes myth, that the damage to brand – individual and corporate – may be irreparable.
6. Recruiters Urgently Need To Understand Social Media
It’s not bullshit to say that social media changes the game for recruiters. We’ve seen a young mans’ career, and perhaps the company he’s employed by, ruined, as a result of what happened yesterday. Recruiters urgently need to understand that legacy practice – good or bad – can no longer be seamlessly practiced in a world where conversations and actions can be digitalized, captured and shared. There’s a reason why it’s called ‘dying in the ditch’. You die.
Let’s flip this around over the other way – what if there was good news spread today instead of bad – what impact for your business, and maybe your career? Have a think about that, and start making it a priority to teach yourself and your consultants about the socialized world we live in now.