Recruitment… If you want to be a profession… act professionally!

I’m pissed off… no pissed off is wrong… I’m… disappointed. Yes… disappointed… that’s it.

You see I thought we’d come a long way as an industry… as a profession. I thought that recruiters understood that the pillars of success and respect begin with:

  • Deep network of specialisation
  • Understanding your clients, candidates & prospects.
  • A level of professionalism
  • Adding real value

cowboy1I thought we all knew that the way for our industry to prosper… to grow and to remain relevant was to move away from the cowboy, lazy tactics that have persisted in the past.

I thought that… I really did… then I received this email.


‘Hello .,

I see that your company is seeking a “IT Perm Recruitment Consultant” at the moment.
We have over 20 years experience in recruiting this skill set and may have someone that could suit.

Would you be interested in using an agency to help fill this role?

PS: Some benefits of using [NAME DELETED] Recruitment are:

  • We maintain a database of over 350,000 jobseekers Australia wide.
  • All staff within our organisation are qualified with relevant commercial experience to the area they are recruiting for.
  • 99.6% of placements made (since 1991) exceed their probation period.

Kind Regards,’

The only changes I made to the above email were deleting the name in the ‘PS’ line and choosing to leave out the signature at the bottom.

Maybe I should have included it… maybe you might have wanted to contact them yourself to ask some questions… I know I have questions.


Let’s break it down shall we?

Firstly, how about the greeting?

‘Hello .,’

cowboy2No name… no nothing really. If you’re going to set up some kind of trawling software to rape job boards and spam advertisers at least have the decency to pick up the advertiser’s name… yes my name was published clearly on the ad.

You know what? I’m not even going to bother breaking down the rest of this person’s email… their grand claims of a database with a population the size of New Orleans (obviously not during Mardi Gras)… a placement to probation rate of 99.6%… and an assurance that all staff have commercial experience in the area they are recruiting for… no I’m not going to do that. Instead I will present some of my own findings… taken from this company’s (and their staff’s) online presence.

To begin with the person who sent me this email (the Managing Director of the business), has 2 different personal LinkedIn profiles & another profile in his name set up as a group. Then I scoured their open vacancies looking for proof that they actually do have experience recruiting recruitment roles… couldn’t find any.

Finally I checked out 4 of this company’s staff on LinkedIn (why wouldn’t I). Guess how many connections they have between them… go on… guess… What’s that you say?… 500?… lower… 100?… lower… 50?… lower… oh come on I’m even getting bored now… let me put you out of your misery. Between four of them they have a combined connection total of… drumroll please… One.

One (or in layman’s terms 1).

Funny thing is the MD of the business has a LinkedIn profile that describes himself as a Leadership Trainer, Recruitment Strategist & Key Note Speaker.

You’ve probably gathered that I am a little annoyed with the behaviour of this individual, who has single handedly set the recruitment as a profession cause back 15 years.

Please… please… please do not follow this lead. Thoroughly research every new prospect (candidate or client) before you reach out to them. Be sure that you can actually add value and for God’s sake have the common decency to use the person’s name when you communicate… it’s professional… it’s sensible… and it’s respectful.

And wouldn’t you like it if people stated describing our industry as professional, sensible & respectful? I know I would.

Craig Watson


5 thoughts on “Recruitment… If you want to be a profession… act professionally!

  1. Mitch Sullivan on Reply

    There are loads of agencies like that. I see at least 2 a week.

    As you know Craig, I believe the flakey, spammy behaviours you describe are a consequence of the business model the agency world seems so addicted to.

    They do it because they can. Recruitment is such a painful part of running a business that they will always find some companies who are in distress purchase mode and who won’t look as closely at agencies as you and I obviously do, and frankly probably won’t care how that agency secured a candidate CV.

    Can’t see anything changing anytime soon.

  2. Annette Robinson on Reply

    Unfortunately this behaviour taints the reputation of the recruitment industry, leaving dedicated, professional recruiters having to confince potential clients that we are not like that and, actually do a tremendous job.

  3. David McKinnon on Reply

    Hi Craig.

    I am a professional contractor in the engineering industry. I too have noticed a down trend in many recruitment agencies. At one time if you worked for an agency in the engineering industry, that’s where you came from. Nowadays some recruiters could be washing machine salesmen for all they know about the industry they purport to specialize in.

    As a result I am very picky which agencies I deal with, and even who within the agencies. One agency in particular is run by MBA’s, not anyone with actual industry experience, and the contractor rates are another joke. They take a salaried position, break down the pay rate to hours, and that’s what they offer, forgetting about the value of the salaried staff benefits like sick leave annual leave, etc.

  4. Naeem Ahmed on Reply

    Thanks for sharing and well said, Craig…ditto to all of the previous comments too!
    Shockingly poor show akin to a poor proverbial second hand car salesman.
    Lies, exagerrations and obsession with short-term wins must be a thing of the past in this industry.
    The good news is that these sort of ‘organisations’ thankfully do not last in this business – the downside is the industry-wide damage they do for recruitment during that time…

Leave a Reply