Recruitment Gone Bad…

We’re trying to create a sustainable, professional industry with integrity… and dare I say it… a little soul. Right?

Most of us have both clients’ and candidates’ best interests at heart. After all, it makes sense that if you understand your clients’ and candidates’ needs – and use your skill to match appropriately success will come your way. Not only immediately, but in an ongoing relationship. I’m sure none of you can disagree with that…

badrec1Then why I ask… Why do we still have rogue dickheads perpetuating the long held belief that recruiters are blood-sucking scum bags?

It makes me really effing pissed off that… in this day and age these low-lifes are still getting away with it. The cynical amongst you will go with the old ‘the fish rots at the head’ argument. And that whilst there are recruitment business owners out there that demand only activity & money… the industry is doomed, and will continue to attract and reward cowboys… Well to you I say enough is enough!

In my job I meet a lot of recruiters… but last week I met someone who really took the biscuit…

‘So Leroy,’ I probed. ‘Tell me about the placement you are most proud of…’

Great interview question… right?

Leroy smiled before answering. I was prepared to be dazzled about the time he helped someone get back on their feet… or gave them a start in their new career. But I wasn’t prepared for this.

‘A couple of months back, I actually convinced someone to take my role… when the other one they were looking at was better for them.’ Leroy sat back in his seat… smug.

‘What?’ I asked.

‘A couple of months back, I actually convinced someone to take my role… when the other one they were looking at was better for them.’ He repeated… a bit louder this time… like I was deaf or something.

‘N.. no.’ I spluttered. ‘I mean how? How do you convince someone to take a role, when they have a better opportunity in front of them? And… more importantly… Why would you do that?’

babrec2Leroy looked at me like I was an imbecile (he may be right, but I still found it oddly confronting). ‘Well, one of my main competitors had him at offer stage with a company that ticked all his boxes, but I told him that there were huge concerns around the company’s culture and that they are well known in the market for bullying and have serious cash flow issues…’

‘Was all that true?’ I interjected.

‘I don’t know, but I had to do something. Even though my client wasn’t offering the same money, or career progression I told him that I had placed people there before that moved through the company very quickly and had 3 salary increases in their first year…’

‘Was that true?’ I interjected again.

Leroy looked at me again. ‘No,’ he replied. ‘But I had to do something to get the placement didn’t I?’

I chose to ignore his question… pretty sure it was rhetorical anyway. Instead I continued with my own.

‘So you didn’t answer why you felt you had to lie to get a placement over the line?’

For the first time in the interview Leroy looked confused. I think it was less about my question and more about my perceived inability to understand recruitment.

‘At the end of the day… it’s all about the money… isn’t it?’



badrec3Leroy is a dick… his employer is a dick and I’m pretty sure most of his friends are dicks.

It’s time recruitment industry to take a stand and out the rogue players. If we really want respect, if we really want to work in an industry with integrity and professionalism we need to weed out the… ummm… weeds.

So please send me the names and examples of bad recruiters, managers & owners and why they are bad… I’ll do a little research… and stuff it… if they are cowboys I’ll name and shame. Please email me, don’t leave in comments.


Craig Watson


10 thoughts on “Recruitment Gone Bad…

  1. Avatar
    Paul O'Donnell on Reply

    “I’m pretty sure most of his friends are dicks.” that’s the best comment I’ve heard in a long time. Bravo Craig #UnregulatedIndustry

  2. Avatar
    Darren Ledger on Reply

    I have to admit Luke that I’m a little surprised at what appears to be surprise on your part in this context. There always has and always will be organisations in this industry that take a boiler room approach to the whole concept. This will never change, simply because like any sharp practice (yes, the same as in estate agency, car sales, banking, pensions, food processing (Northern Foods in the UK) and so on and so forth) the simple statistic is that if you make enough calls, press enough people and look good on paper (on-line) eventually someone somewhere will say YES and use your services. Unfortunately the nice guys, the honest operators who don’t over promise, are interested in a long term relationship based upon honesty often miss out simply because we are so honest.

    You only have to look at how many recruitment firms and recruiters identify for some obscure reason with The Wolf of Wall Street really. I see posts and references daily to this from recruiters on LinkedIn. Shameful isn’t it!

  3. Avatar
    Jessica on Reply

    I love this article! It so disappoints me when I hear about those in the industry that give us a bad name. I think all parties need to be treated equal to a certain extent…the client, the candidate and your own team. Putting a candidate in a role that is not a fit is SO shortsighted…there is no long term gain and it is really detrimental. I work in a small state where often times our candidates become hiring leaders that we work with as they progress in their careers…in my eyes, that’s the long game…develop long lasting nurtured relationships…the candidate you place today may be your client partner tomorrow.

  4. Avatar
    Tony on Reply

    Luke, one can only hope that the d-h in question actually reads this blog and understands that its them you are writing about!
    What a moron and driven by the KPI culture which drives immoral behaviour

  5. Avatar
    Patricia Hegarty on Reply

    Well said and I concur; Leroy is a prize dick. (Although I am quite partial to the term “knob” to describe such people). Leroy certainly knows how to go above and beyond. Above and beyond any of the poor practices I have ever heard of or read about.

    Sadly, agencies and their staff are all too often tarred with the Leroy brush. Our jobs are difficult enough without knobs (I feel so liberated putting this term “out there”) like him providing ammunition to those that already possess little or no respect for our profession.

    As recruiters (rec to rec or otherwise), we can all play a part in ensuring the Leroy’s of the world become extinct.

    Nice work

  6. Avatar
    Tracy on Reply

    This is a great ” tell it like it is” article. I was the candidate on the other side of another said Leroy type. After 2-3 weeks at my new job and not enjoying it because of the not-so-great Director, and learning of all the issues on the team because of her, The recruiter “S” had the audacity to say, ” yeah I would never work for her myself”. I asked why he would say the exact opposite prior, it influenced my decision. No answer. SURPRISE. $$$$$
    I have been and always will conduct myself with integrity and honesty. We impact lives and shouldn’t take that lightly.

Leave a Reply