Sunday, 14 November 2010

What day is it?

We all have professional pride – even recruiters - and nobody wants to be the Audley Harrison of their profession.  Luckily, in recruitment when we get it wrong nobody dies and we aren’t humiliated in front of thousands of people to the same level as poor old Audley last night.  However, I was reminded of my most embarrassing recruitment error just this weekend.

It was just before midnight on Friday night and I was happily playing poker at the excellent new Fox Poker Club on Shaftesbury Avenue ( – a poker club with windows, whatever next – when a burly figure approached, moved his head very close to mine and whispered ominously: “Oy, David – what day is it you muppet’. 

Oh dear, it was Steve.  Now, I enjoy bumping into Steve as much as people look forward to major surgery.  

Steve is an outstanding Fraud Investigator who was based in Germany a few years ago.  We had been working together on securing him a role with a major Consultancy based in London but arranging the final meeting had been a complete nightmare as his diary was incredibly full and the hiring MD he had to meet was always out of the country.  Finally, a meeting was arranged for a Thursday and all was set for the conclusion of a deal that had been simmering for around four months.  

There was just one slight problem as I had got a little confused with dates and had booked Steve’s flights two days early when the MD wasn’t around and Steve couldn’t stay.  The deal collapsed, the champagne was never drunk and by the time I had finished apologising and refunded all travel costs and compensated Steve for his time nobody was happy - I have always treble checked interview times/dates since!  

This is probably my worst recruitment mistake but it is not as bad as the catastrophic recruiter error that is unforgivable – sending a CV to the company where somebody currently works.  I think you would be surprised just how often this happens, especially with some of the contingency recruiters out there who just scatter-gun CV’s to as many organisations as possible on a speculative basis in the hope that there could be interest. These recruiters often aren’t even aware that one company can be a subsidiary or otherwise related to another which is one of the reasons it is vital for any jobseeker to emphasise to recruiters that they can only approach organisations with written permission.  

Gaining written permission and keeping thorough notes on every call/email made during the recruitment process also helps prevent the loss of control often experienced by jobseekers.  When dealing with recruiters, I am astonished when quite senior people are actually unaware whether an organisation has been approached on their behalf.  I would always advise a jobseeker to ask a recruiter about their relationship with an organisation before they give the recruiter permission to contact a company on their behalf - try the following questions:

·        -  How long have you worked with the organisation?
·        -  How many people have you placed there in the last 12 months?
·        -  Do you work with HR or the Hiring Manager?
·        - Why should you represent me with this organisation?

Recruiters are supposed to facilitate the hiring process and if you don’t have confidence that you are going to be represented professionally then walk away.... 

What a day on Saturday!  The Mighty Leeds United continue their meteoric rise crashing into the play-off spots and the Australians thumped at Twickenham!  What next: surely not victory in The Ashes?

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