My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last twelve years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $200,000+, and last year I placed eight executives north of a million dollars. Prior to owning an Executive Recruiting company I was a hiring manager with Fortune 500 companies for 20 years. Translation, I know both sides of the desk.
Recently someone commented, “You write self-help articles for candidates, highlighting all the common mistakes. But you have never written an article about Executive Recruiters and some of the sleazy things they do to candidates and hiring companies.” True statement! And although most Recruiters are top notch, a few bad apples tend to spoil the bunch. So here you go, my ten commandments for being a Recruiter of integrity.
Thou Shalt Not Lie to the Customer – Integrity is a major issue these days, with both candidates and Recruiters. Some Recruiters will say anything and everything to get a deal closed. They have a quota, and if they don’t sell…they don’t eat. So they tell the hiring company, “This guy is smarter than Warren Buffett and Bill Gates combined!” Is that ethical? Absolutely not. There are plenty of candidates that I would not represent that simply walked down to the next street corner and found another Recruiter to help them.
Thou Shalt Not Lie to the Candidate – The Recruiter tells the candidate, “This company is absolutely phenomenal!” Why? Because if they told the truth about how poorly the company is managed, and the dreadful state of their financials, they would never fill the job. Remember, they have a quota and have to make their numbers.
Thou Shalt Not Poach Where You Eat – If the ABC Company is your customer, it’s not appropriate to poach their executives. Most Recruiters actually have this in the contract. There are exceptions, such as an executive that needs to relocate to be closer to an ailing parent. Riddle me this? Do you really want an employee on payroll if they are unhappy? Let ‘em go!
Thou Shalt Not Make Your Sales Quota the Customer’s Problem – I once had a Recruiter tell me, “My quota is a million this year, how much are you going to help me with?” Kid you not. This high pressure, Glengarry Glen Ross sales tactic is the number one reason Recruiters get a bad name.
Thou Shalt Not Submit Unsolicited Resumes – BAD mojo! In the old days a Recruiter would fax an executive’s resume to every company in town. He now “owned” that candidate at all those companies. If any of the company’s hired the executive, the Recruiter got paid. Unsolicited resume means the company did NOT engage the Recruiter for a search. Typically, the Recruiter saw an online posting, and then started sending over resumes without authorization. A Recruiter should never submit the resume of a candidate without prior written authorization.
Thou Shalt READ the Job Description – Once met with a CIO that told me a Recruiter sent over five candidates, none of which was remotely qualified for his open position. He asked, “Do you think he even read the job description?”
Thou Shalt Not Throw Spaghetti at the Wall – The most important asset we have….is TIME. Some recruiters send you “what they have” as opposed to “what you asked for.” Personally, if I don’t have a candidate that is a great match, I prefer not to send anyone at all. Never, ever waste a hiring manager’s time.
Thou Shalt Only Work on Jobs You Actually HAVE – This is known as FISHING. A Recruiter cold calls executives about this “high level executive position” he is working on. Truth is, there is no job. The Recruiter is just trying to make contacts and act like he has influence…but he doesn’t. NEVER take a cold call from an Executive Recruiter. If you don’t know any Recruiters, ask your industry contracts for a reputable one.
Thou Shalt Not Drop Names of People You Don’t Know – Don’t you love the Recruiter that cold calls you and acts like he is your best friend? Starts name dropping like the two of you were in a fraternity together on college? Truth is, you never heard of this guy. Click.
Thou Shalt Not Leave the Candidate Hanging – How many times has a Recruiter left you hanging and after you invested hours of your time interviewing? To my mind, every candidate should be given graceful closure, one way or the other. It’s a real hot button with me. Treat the candidates with the same respect you treat your customers.