Ethical Behavior in Recruiting, Part I

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I received a phone call today from a man, in his mid-50s, looking for a technical recruiting/business development position. Being the good recruiter, I took his call and proceeded to ask some pretty basic questions. He went on to describe what he was looking for, how he went about bringing in new business, and how he did this as a third party contractor for a large consulting firm. Here’s where it gets questionable.

When I asked how he went about building the consulting firm’s national business, he proceeded to tell me that he would leave teaser email messages for CIOs. Basically, these would be spoof emails that had blocked numbers. The emails appeared as if they were coming from the man (contractor) as if he were employed by the consulting firm. I asked him if he thought this was ethical. He stammered a bit and responded no one has ever questioned him on it before. Hmmm, perhaps no one thought to bring it to his attention?

This is the problem I have with the recruiting industry….individuals like this give recruiting and agencies negative impressions to prospective clients. How does this man rationalize misrepresenting himself to CIOs? How does misrepresentation, the means – whether it be phishing for candidates or outright lying to candidates – justify the ends?

This now leads me to phishing…something that really annoyed me when I was looking for a position and annoys me as a recruiter. I refuse to post positions that are not already approved by the client. If I anticipate a need for one of my clients, I will say so in my postings. I believe, as recruiters, we have a responsibility to represent any position in an honest manner. Any other way is fraud. How can you gain a candidate’s trust by starting off with a lie? And isn’t recruiting all about building relationships? What candidate wants to work with someone/an organization that clearly is motivated by self-interest? How does this gain the recruiter credibility and respect in the field?

But back to my caller…It would seem that my caller today was motivated by self-interest in his spoof emails as a way of building HIS business as opposed to building A business. Perhaps that is the real reason why he is looking after only 9 months. – he’d been found out.

More to come…

Yvonne Catino
Occupational Matchmaker :-)

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  1. Carl Guse

    Great Article!! Far too often in the sourcing and recruitment industry all we can read about are the flagrant unethical ways that Recruiters are told they have to adhere to in order to succeed.

    Fortunately, I pride myself is trying to be ethical in all of my sourcing and recruiting efforts and because of this, I think both my candidates and clients respect me highly.

    Am I a rich success – hardly. But I am doing well, am comfortable and can sleep well at night knowing that I didn’t have to spoof, lie or steal to close a hire earlier in the day.

    If there were more articles like this around on the web and in Sourcing/Recruiting Training Sessions, I think in time the “Used Car Sales” reputation recruiters often have would change.