Evil Recruiters

Not all recruiters are evil, but lots of them are. In my inbox today I’ve got 3 unsolicited candidates from cold-mailing (i.e. spamming) recruiters. This is bad. And it’s unfortunate for the candidates as I’m not even going to look at them, and they could be great.

But this is the just the tip of the iceberg of recruiter badness…

There is one recruiter who I like: Eleanor went out and set up her own recruitment company Roome Consulting. We’d worked with her for a while at her previous place and she’d always been really good. She’d never pushed anyone to come and see us. And never told anyone (including us) fibs or even white lies about people or places. And over time she’s learned the kind of people that we like and she ‘gets’ the culture of Poke. Anyway that’s enough of an advert (disclosure: I may get a packet of peanuts and half a lager for this placement).

Anyway, Eleanor has had a bit of trouble recently and asked me what she could do about it. I’ve got no idea apart from things which are really bad and spiteful, which isn’t really the right course of action.

Her problem is this: She’s been writing nice recruitment ads (for Poke and other people) and a rival recruiter (who shall remain nameless) have been ripping off her ads almost wholesale and reposting them. Then going to her clients and trying to flog them the applicants. This strikes me as low, even for recruiters!

Example. Her original ad starts:

PROBABLY THE BEST ROLE OF 2007……… It may sound like just another SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR ROLE in just another digital agency in London but WOW what a role, what an account and HOLY MOLY what an agency.

Their rip-off…

DEFINITELY THE BEST ROLE OF 2007..It may sound like just another senior designer role in just another digital agency in London but WOW what a role, what people and HOLY MOLY what an agency.

Anyone got any thoughts as to what she could do? Apart from change profession?

24 thoughts on “Evil Recruiters”

  1. Umm I could lay bets on the company you are talking about and I have a host of horror stories about the way in which these sort of people go about their business.

    I suggest that either some “ethical recruiters” like Eleanor get together and set up an ethical code of practice or set of standards that they adhere to. Or agencies such as ours get together and make a public stand about the way in which these people go about their business.

  2. Umm I could lay bets on who this is, I have a host of horror stories about the way in which these sort of people go about their business.

    May I suggest that the “ethical” recruiters such as Eleanor get together with other like minded professionals and create a set of standards or codes of practice that the adhere to and make a big industry shout about it.

  3. Any thoughts on what Eleanor can do……

    Sure, continue to do her job to the best of her ability and not sink to the levels that these shysters operate on.

    Honestly, it is our responsibility to act in a decent and honourable manner when working with both candidates and clients. It is also our clients responsibility to act in the same manner and refuse to work with companies that believe that these sort of tactics are actually above board and have a place in our working environment.

    Remember – The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

    Need I say anymore.

  4. The cheek. Well it’s not hard to find the guilty culprit and I’ll certainly be avoiding them in future. Good work Eleanor, recruitment needs people like you and good work Iain for pointing it out.

    Maybe start ‘ratetherecruiter.com’

    D

  5. Hide puzzles inside the text that lead to things that can only be found by talking to her, or referencing media on her site. If the other recruiters rip-off the text alone the candidate won’t get the right details and turn up at an abbatoir in stoke poges. Turn recruiting into an ARG!

  6. Matt’s got an awesome idea, Eleanor, do it!
    Dave – ratetherecruiter.com is a wicked idea – set it up, make the cash!
    Harry I love you and thanks for the comment (I used to work with Harry years ago and I believe he’s a good guy too).

  7. Well, at some point good recruiters, if they stay in the business, become head-hunters. They don’t advertise because they don’t need to and they know lots of people like you who trust them and who also know lots of people.

    Failing that, you could just employ her at Poke permanently to find you people.

  8. I randomly got sent this link and its funny because I saw both ads. I have used Roome and the agency in question and its bang out of order. Really do feel like boycotting the other party (don’t think they are that good anyway).
    Bad news is I don’t think any laws/rules are being broken as its just an ad but its IS pure cheek.
    For sure every recruitment consultant/firm wants to do well but I guess honesty, fair play and morals don’t matter to some. I’m sure they’ll be exposed if they keep up what they are doing. Its a very small world and people talk.

  9. Also what about copyright law and asserting her moral right as an author not to have her work republished. A solicitors letter would do the trick. She may need to revisit client contracts including the one with Poke. Next step: get your friend to speak with a good brief

  10. Hey,

    You could hide puzzles inside the text that lead to things that can only be found by talking to her, or referencing media on her site. If the other recruiters rip-off the text alone the candidate won’t get the right details and turn up at an abbatoir in stoke poges. Turn recruiting into an ARG!

    Thanks,
    Purple Recruitment

  11. Thanks for some great advice, its very helpful as I really don’t know how to deal with people who act in such a juvenile and unprofessional manner.
    I see my role in recruitment as one to help people find a role and a place of work where they are going to be the happiest and it really saddens me that an agency that actually have such a bad reputation already haven’t used this conversation to redeem themselves but to merely continue to act in their unethical manner by mocking someones message on this blog.
    Atleast by naming themselves everyone now knows who they are!
    Thanks again to those who took the time to respond.
    Eleanor

  12. Nice one Ant! My suggestion would be to start sending them an invoice for everything they copy. If you can’t stop them stealing your work, you might as well get them to pay for it!

  13. Write some shitty ads and post it to them with the message of…”Thought you might like to see these before I publish them” and see if the b’sards use them.

    Although it’s bad ethics that company X is ripping Eleanor off, she should also use this as boost to create even better ads. If she’s leading the field, naturally people will want to follow and copy. It’s her strength. Their weakness.

  14. I recruit in this sector and in my experience adverts are not the way I find my best candidates. Andy makes an extremely good point, you only find the agency experienced candidates that clients are looking for by developing strong trusted relationships with both clients and candidates, who then furnish you with recommendations. I think what —- did is juvenile, and nothing more. at the end of the day its only effect is to draw more attention to both ad’s which is beneficial for both parties.

    I do understand that Eleanor is paying out of her own pocket to put ads out that are far from cheap and as such this type of thing is bound to frustrate her. In reality though I can’t imagne its going to have any kind of negative effect on her business particulary when she obviously has established relationships in the sector, haters need to chill….

  15. El, that wasn’t them making the funny suggestion – it was Ant having a laugh. And sigining it off with the name of a recruitment company ;-)

  16. I just wanted to respond to Jig. Some great candidates are found through the contacts I have made over the years but I still believe to reach a wider audience it is good to advertise. As there is quite a lack of talented digital media candidates who are looking for a new role I think, as a recruiter, it is my responsibility to do everything I can to find the best person for my clients, headhunt, advertise, ask contacts etc.
    But I don’t expect other recruitment agencies who claim to specialise in digital media to copy my advertisements because, I suspect, they lack the knowledge to write independent and literate copy.
    Noone has portrayed themselves as a “hater” on this conversation but I do feel that constructive advice from those who read this blog is a great step towards helping me to contribute to maintaining recruitment ethics.
    I think we should all be helping each other, maybe this is a little of an utopian ideal, but still one that I like to live by.

    The Flickr section is really interesting, thank you Andy and Iain yep I get that now but it took a while ;o)

  17. Freelancing for 7 years and I KNOW what your on about! However I’d like to nominate Laura Apple from Propel London as my favorite – she’s a breath of fresh air in a very stinky industry!

  18. Hi all, i recruit in this sector and have been in this industry as a consultant for a number of years. I would like to say as a neutral that you shouldnt rely on advertising on jobs boards as the main method for finding candidates. As you all know there are a lack of good candidates around so we need to be creative in our methods to find the next best candidate.
    I saw these adverts posted on chinwag and I am a fan of consultants that think outside the box and try new methods in finding candidates and from the situation above with (Roome consulting and agency x) i praise the agency that have slightly duplicated the advert.
    I think its a little cheeky but clever and its good to be competitive. In our fast paced industry its easy to get stressed and caught up in the moment when things dont go our way, but i would like to remind my peers in recruitment to chill out and enjoy yourselves.
    Anyway we should all continue to concetrate and keep up the competitive level we have set.

    Jacob

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