RE: ethical consulting practices?

Subject: RE: ethical consulting practices?
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 18:51:49 -0800 (PST)

> In your case, I would have said, "that's none of your business."
> And left it at that. After a while you get to know which businesses
> are ethical and which are not.
> One of the biggest "traps" or "tricks" that recruiters use nowadays
> is asking "have you had any interviews at any other companies?"
> Frankly, that's none of their business. Period.

Wrong. This is absolutely the agency's business. If you want to use the
services of a recruiter, then you need to be honest with them about where you
are interviewing.

It looks bad when a recruiter submits a candidate to a client where the
candidate has already interviewed. Recruiters make money from connecting
people with jobs. If you are not willing to help the recruiter do his/her job,
then why should they help you get a job. You have to give a little before you
can take.

This attitude really burns my ass. Some people think consulting and recruiting
companies are their personal job shoppers. Guess what, these places are a
business and if you want to use their services then you have to be willing to
help them help you. Recruiters are not in business to help you build your own
personal empire.

If you are unwilling to work with a recruiter - then DON'T USE THEIR

> They "say" that the reason they ask this is because they don't
> want to 'present' you to any companies where you have already been
> 'presented'. But, they _REALLY_ want to know where you have been
> interviewing so that they can find out what companies in the area are
> hiring so that they can find some other technical writer to present
> to that company (because obviously (to them) you're not going to get
> the job at the company where you interviewed).

As I said before, it is considered embarrassing for a consulting company to
submit a person who is already interviewing with the client. It is like selling
a client a candidate they already have. That makes the agency look lame. To
avoid that, companies need to know where you are interviewing.

While some agencies do ask for names and companies as a method to find out who
is hiring, why would it matter to you as a job applicant? They can't submit
you there? The agency still has to get in the door and build a relationship
with the company?

I agree that agencies asking for contact names is inappropriate. The only
information a job applicant should reveal is the name of the
company/organization and/or group (for large companies). At my company we
actually PAY applicants for leads - if they want to give them to us.

It is perfectly acceptable to widthold information from a recruiter about your
job search. However, just like a lawyer, how can a recruiter work for you when
you are not willing to help them work for you? Expect limited job placement
help from agencies where you widthold such information.

> There are a LOT of unethical recruiters and consulting agencies out there
> but there are also a lot of them that _ARE_ ethical. It's a cut-throat
> business, and you never know what recruiters will do to make money.

RIGHT! There are a lot of unethical recruiters. Generally these places will
try to pressure you into jobs and commitments. It is a cut throat industry, but
over the long term, unethical places go bankrupt and good ones succeed.

However, there are also a flaming megabutt-load of smug, ego-maniacs with
enormous chips on their shoulders who believe they can take advantage of
recruiters to build their own empire. Over the long term, these people end up
in crappier and crappier jobs because no agency will touch them and no company
wants their attitude.

This bothers me so much because my recruiters and I have spent the last 4 years
working our butts off to build a client list. Like hell if we are going to
jeopardize our hard-earned relationship with a client to help some smug jerk
build his own consulting practice. Likewise, why should I sponsor a job
applicant to my client when that applicant won't even do me the favor of
telling me what he is doing. Trust begins with faith.

You want your own clients - do it yourself and stay away from recruiters.

> As far as I'm concerned, I put recruiters in the same category as lawyers.
> OOPS! Uh, I mean "ambulance chasers."

If you feel this way, then stay away from contract agencies and recruiters.
While there are many places that are scummy, there are just as many places that
work very hard to provide good jobs for people and good services for their
clients. Just like there are many lawyers who work their butts off for the
rights of their clients. YOu wouldn't call

Furthermore, if you do work with an agency, be prepared to give a little. If
you are unwilling to help the agency get you a job, then why on earth would
they work to help you? Why try to get somebody a job who is just going to
stick a knife in your back when it is convenient.

We've gotten some writers awesome jobs. Just recently I pushed a client to hire
a woman with only 1 year experience. She was a brilliant and supremely
intelligent person, but she was young, shy, and a recent college grad. We
fought for days and the client finally hired her. Last week the client told me
how happy they are. The person we placed is blossoming in this job, doing
great work, and making good money. I feel good about that, and like hell if I
or my staff chased any ambulances. We helped that woman connect up with a
company and position where without our help, she would have been immediately
rejected. My company provider her and the company a valuable service. And all
I asked for from her was a list of the places where she was already

We've also had some writers pull the "I am not going to tell you anything"
routine on us. To which, we thank them for their time and promptly throw away
their resume. Like hell I am going to help somebody like that. Go rot in a
corner for all I care - neither I nor my clients need people with an attitude

So, before you start beating on recruiters, keep in mind that most recruiters
know the job market really well. They can help you get a cool job - and good
places can help you get MORE money. If you play ball and work with a
recruiter, they can get you in the door to places that offer awesome jobs.

If you do not feel comfortable revealing your job search to a recruiter - then
don't use recruiters. If an agency calls you about an opportunity, tell them
you're not interested. Save the attitude for Fight Club.

Andrew Plato
President / Principal Consultant
Anitian Consulting, Inc.

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