Re: ethical consulting practices?

Subject: Re: ethical consulting practices?
From: Jo Francis Byrd <jbyrd -at- byrdwrites -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 1999 00:42:30 -0600

After reading some of the posts concerning recruiting firms, I'm back in the fray. I've been
contracting since '93, and needless to say, I've learned a few things along the way.

MOST recruiting agencies (aka "shops") are ethical, and MOST recruiters are ethical. That does not
mean, however, that all ethical shops and/or recruiters are knowledgeable, competent, or
professional. There's a high ignorance level out there. I'm constantly educating recruiters.

I happen to live in a high tech area (Dallas) and except for a few dry times over the past six
years, there are generally more jobs than available people. Good tech writers don't have to worry
about starving, and the mediocre ones do OK, also. There are at least 200 shops of various flavors
in the area and competition is fierce . If an opportunity becomes available, multiple shops will
know about it.

Duplicate submissions benefit no one and destroy credibility for both the contractor and the shop.
For that reason, I always insist the shop contact me prior to submitting me anywhere, and I also
insist on knowing where they want to submit me. Most experienced, competent, professional recruiters
will tell me up front, "I have a job at XYZ company." I keep a log of where I've been submitted and
who submitted me. If a recruiter asks where I've been submitted, refuses to tell me the potential
client without that information, I respond I cannot ethically reveal that information. Tell me where
you want to submit me; if I've been submitted there, I will tell you. Occasionally I have to argue
with a recruiter (why do I bother? Because the recruiter needs educating). I tell them, "Just as I
will not reveal another shop's clients, I will not reveal yours either." I use the analogy of
handing over one's charge card for a purchase. The sales clerk has the right to use that card for
that one purchase. The clerk cannot keep that card and use it for any other purpose. Usually they
come around. When they don't, I don't work with them.

Over the years I've developed great relationships with numerous shops. I never betray their client
base, never go behind their back, always play fair, always return calls, even if I wouldn't work for
that shop on a bet (I'm on a long term contract, quote an outrageous rate, something). If I'm
working and know someone who's looking, I refer.

We're only as good as our last contract. We can't afford to have less than the highest ethical
standards. And we have to communicate clearly and honestly.

Jo Byrd

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