5 things Recruiters must stop doing… now.

We’re an oft maligned bunch right… usually unfairly. I mean the stuff people say about us – mainly by job seekers – is inaccurate, insulting and sometimes bordering on defamatory. We are not the hideous monsters they make us out to be… the blood-sucking leeches who would sacrifice their grandmother for a placement. That’s not us… right?

bad recruiter1Well guess what? Some of what they’re saying is true. Some of the things pockets of our industry are practising are disgusting and it’s time to stop… no… really… just stop… now.

Below is a list of things I have come across in the past 6 months. And if you want to be truly respected as a professional… have longevity in your career… and most importantly be a good person get them out of your recruitment repertoire… and do it today.

  1. Placing fake job ads – I honestly thought this was a throwback to the 90’s. And yet a recruitment consultant only last week told me that it was common practice at their agency. I get it. I understand that we all need to drive candidates. But… firstly… this practice is illegal… well if it’s not illegal it should be… secondly if you’re lying this early in the recruitment process you are a knob… and lastly when that karma bus hits you… it is going to hurt.
  2. Bullying a Candidate – Why? So you can get your pissy little placement across the line? You are coercing a job seeker into a role they don’t want. How many times does that work out for you long term? They will inevitably leave within the guarantee period… your candidate will hate you for it and your client will blame you for it… well played Einstein.
  3. Poaching from your clients – No mater how clever you think you are it won’t work… and it shouldn’t work because it is dishonest. It’s like stealing from your parents. It’s wrong. Make a decision… and make it early. If they are a client do not… under any circumstances approach their employees as possible candidates.badrecruiter2
  4. Floating a Candidate without permission – Sometimes… well most times… you are in a competitive situation. Your candidate may very well be working with multiple recruiters. But… repeat after me… come on repeat it… This does not mean I can send their resume all over town without their express permission. It’s bordering on identity theft. You have an obligation to protect your candidate’s personal brand… end… of… story. I hate it when I see recruiters do that. And I hate the damage it can cause to the candidate.
  5. Lying to your Boss – Some managers have unrealistic expectations. Some managers are arseholes. If yours is an arsehole call me… I’ll find you a new home where your manager is not an… arsehole. But that’s no excuse for lying to them. Once you lie to your boss it puts you under more billing pressure… and more often than not you will find yourself committing one of the crimes above to release the pressure… and so the cycle begins and continues. Get it?

I know there are a thousand other things we could do better, but start by eliminating the above. If you can’t… recruitment is not for you… and I say that with all the conviction I can muster, because those of you who are committing the crimes above… are ruining it for the rest of us. So please do me a favour and stop… or get the hell out of my industry… Thank you.

On another note we have freshened up the blog site thanks to the help of the good people at JXT Consulting. Check out our new corporate website too www.watsoncollard.com.au and let us know your thoughts… Cheers

Craig Watson


11 thoughts on “5 things Recruiters must stop doing… now.

  1. Annette Law on Reply

    Well said Craig, just a pity so many do this stuff and bring all of us into the spotlight.
    I agree they should get out of our industry now – Not wanted here!!!
    Good article

  2. Mark Hall-Smith on Reply

    Hi Craig. Firstly, I’m a big fan of the blog and your writing but on this (rare) occasion I’d like to disagree. I think this sort of self-flagellation is a failing of our industry and I reckon it helps to perpetuate the image issue. No other profession (whether you say that with a straight face or tinged with irony) would slam itself so publicly so often.
    Point 1 – unless you are brand new, surely you don’t need to make jobs up do you ?
    Point 2 – how does anyone make a candidate (or client) accept a job (or candidate) ? You can sell/persuade/influence but you cant “make” someone do it.
    Point 3 – commercial suicide.
    Point 4 – yes I’ll give you this one, although I am hearing of it less and less so hopefully that’s a good sign.
    Point 5 – I am the boss so couldn’t possibly comment !
    If you will forgive my self-promotion, I wrote my own blog a while back on this very “self-flagellation” issue


    1. Craig Watson on Reply

      Hi Mark,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment and I do agree… there is an ‘awful lot’ of recruitment industry bashing going on… most of it unwarranted.
      But… I have come across all 5 of my points in the past couple of months. We have a duty to weed out the ‘cowboys’ so that the industry is professional and can be accepted as a profession. Surely you can agree with that?

      1. Mark Hall-Smith on Reply

        Of course mate. My point is that no other – that I am aware of – industry/profession/trade willingly slaughters itself for its failings, the way Recruitment does. I happen to think it adds to the image and perception. Just my opinion and I accept I’m probably in a minority on this one. Have a good weekend. Cheers

  3. Erick Peterson on Reply

    As an ex agency recruiter 10 years ago, to now working in HR (the other side of the fence), I can absolutely confirm that this all used to happen – and certainly still does happen today. Perhaps far more often than a lot like to admit.

    Particularly points 1 & 4 – just this week I had an agency call myself and when I said to them that we didn’t have any vacancies available at the moment, they said (and I kid you not) that they would be more than happy to “run up a few ads” for us to gather some key candidates that we might be interested in. When I said (again) to him that we didn’t have any vacancies, the reply was “we do that all the time for our clients, even if they don’t have the need at the moment, we’ll run a few dummy ads stating that we have the roles available to get the candidates applying in as so we have the freshest & most current applicants available in the market”. And he was dead serious about that and was so proud to state this is how they work as that was their point of difference ! I then said to him “but what do you tell those who apply?” to which he proudly stated “Oh, we just tell them the role has been filled internally or something like that and then we ship them around to the other companies like yours to try to find them a new home as we like to help people find new jobs and careers”. Seriously.

    Which then leads me into point #4 – again being on the other side of the fence now in HR, I get candidates resumes sent to myself multiple times each and every week from agencies all around the country. A vast majority of the times it is from an agency that I’ve never spoken to and haven’t even heard of them before – but still this email arrives with this candidates resume attached with the dialogue in the email from the agency about how this person is perfect for us etc…etc… As we are in a fairly specific industry – and we do a vast majority of the recruitment ourselves inhouse – we have a very good database of our own of those who have already applied to us previously and we already know of a lot of the more specialised candidates in the market. So when a resume turns up from the agency out of the blue with someone that we know, we call the candidate just to let them know their details have been sent to us. 9 times out of 10 that person then says they never gave the agency the authority to do that and sometimes they are not even looking for a new job, but the agency has sent them to companies to review anyway !

    Craig – it still goes on far too often even today and this debate about the good vs evil recruiters has been going on for as long as I can remember. Hopefully the newer consultants will be a bit more ethical in their practices, but there are still many, many out their who are not and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon judging from the real world experiences I see each and every week.

  4. Erick Peterson on Reply

    HI Craig – I’m puzzled why you feel my comments are not accurate ? I stand 100% behind everything that I stated to be correct and absolutely truthful and this is what bothers me – people in this industry just refuse to believe what is actually happening. I highly encourage you to speak to those who receive all the agency calls & emails every week and listen to what they see and hear over and over again. I’m certainly not tarnishing every agency with that same brush – far from it – but I wholeheartedly can verify that those two instances that I referenced did indeed happen.

    I respect your opinion, but I do think that is a problem with the industry when those that are within it simply fail to believe what may be occurring. It will never be fixed otherwise. I only read your blog as an ex agency recruiter who likes to stay in touch (and I do enjoy your writing style) – I would suggest that if you read the HR only blogs though who don’t have a bias towards recruitment, you will see many, many all recounting very similar stories as I’ve shared here.

    To label my recounting of what I’ve experienced as “made up” is a tad disrespectful.

    1. Craig Watson on Reply

      Didn’t mean any disrespect Eric… but to say that 9 times out of 10 a candidate didn’t give the recruiter permission to represent sounds very over-inflated…
      I do realise that some of the things in the blog still happen and the reason I highlighted them was to run them out of the industry.
      Our research shows that this behaviour is definitely on the decline and the few noise-making cowboys are ruining it for the majority of the industry… and I stand by that.

  5. Erick Peterson on Reply

    Fair call – no harm done and perhaps my “9 times out of 10” comment was more off the cuff rather than backed by actual facts, but being on the receiving end of the agency phone calls/emails on a daily basis though, I do get to see plenty of the bad practices still happening and unfortunately, they are the ones that generally stick in your memory. If you are seeing the decline in this type of activity however – then that’s good for everyone all-round and the sooner that happens, the better.

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