Posts Tagged ‘ ethics ’

In-house Recruiters – behaviours and ethics, improvements needed

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Whenever in-house recruiting practitioners come together online or in person you can bet your house the conversation will soon turn to the use of recruitment agencies and soon thereafter to how bad or unethical they usually are.  Some of the more entertaining discussions in the online communities I am a member of are full of anecdotes of bad practice, lack of integrity, stupidity…..well the list goes on. Sadly the comments are all too true, frequent and similar in nature, so it is hardly surprising that all agencies good or bad tend to get grouped together as bad.


However on a number of occasions recently I have been party to some discussions and comments from the other perspective; those made by recruitment agencies about the issues they have with HR, in-house recruiters or hiring managers.  Some of them are the expected moans about an inability to sell, usually coming from a blatant lack of understanding for their customers and not worth the consideration, others however deserve much more.


Whilst the in-house recruiters might enjoy “agency bashing” as a frequent activity, the agency sales people do have some genuine reasons to “bash” back.    I give you a mashup of a couple of incidents from earlier this year, as an example of one of really poor behaviour.  Sadly the in-house recruiters involved are members of The FIRM and yes they still are, in the hope that they will learn from others.  Discussions have been had.


An agency is briefed on a role by an employer about a specific vacancy, asked to find suitable applicants and submit CVs accordingly.  The agency supplies CVs to the inhouse Recruitment Manager as requested, in accordance with procedures.  The Recruitment Manager contacts the candidates directly and attempts to bypass the agency. 


Because this is a mashup of incidents, much of the detail from each is omitted, including the names of all parties, but you get the gist.


Let’s be clear on this, if the agency has been asked to provide CVs for a particular role and responds accordingly I cannot think of any justification why this kind of behaviour is acceptable. You should be ashamed. 


I’d be interested to hear if anyone can try to justify it.  This is also I am sure, just one of many moans or genuine complaints that could be aimed at in-house recruiters.


Many in-house practitioners generally take the high moral ground when it comes to ethics and professionalism and become quite partisan in either promoting or defending that position, myself included, yet I am all too aware that there is merit in what the agencies say and based on the above I am sure few would disagree.   A couple of years ago I presented to an audience of over 100 inhouse recruiters and used the words “you are not as good as you think you are”.  I had learned that at the time as a result of my own, then recent, job hunting experiences. As a result of the growth of the in-house recruiting function in the last two years I believe this to still be the case today, more than ever. 


To be able to do our jobs properly we have to act with integrity. This is true when dealing with everyone in the candidate supply chain, no matter how they are sourced.  To behave any other way is not only a mistake, but so damaging to your recruitment brand and to your own personal reputation.  Even if you don’t have your own personal code of conduct, your company should without doubt. 


I am not saying you have to deal with recruitment agencies, however I am saying that if you chose to, then doing so with the highest levels of professionalism and honesty can only be a good thing.  I would hope that members of The FIRM think and behave the same way. 


I welcome all comments and thoughts on this one


Write your own damn blog!

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I am willing to be up front and state that I have moderated a comment on this blog post and rejected it as spam. It was the inspiration for this spontaneous post.

Unfortunately there are one or two people that tend to comment quite a bit on other peoples blog posts in order to antagonise or worse, just plain promote themselves, their company or their products under the guise of very thinly veiled comments. Not here you don’t.

It is a dilemma isn’t it? Do we allow open and honest debate letting anyone comment and letting the reader decide or should we give a slap to those that abuse the platform, lazily using it as an opportunity to influence, abuse or promote to someone else’s readers?

I suspect that the usual suspects will respond to this. If they do should I point them out so that you can read what they write on other people’s blogs and see why I am taking this stance?

Thoughts please.

An old post: Will I Win? or I Will Win!

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Originally posted 23 September 2009

I read a very good article this morning, one that made me think hard about behaviour, rationale and the power and control of my own mind

In the article by Peter Bregman in the Harvard Business Blog showed how simple mind games can have a very adverse affect on our personality and our lives. It is a great article and really struck home how much control we give to our imagination and creating fantasies that can all to easily become reality.

In describing the two scenarios; his own personal anxieties after being stung by a number of hornets and the behaviour and actions of his friend in the work place I am sure Peter has outlined situations that we can all see ourselves doing in our daily lives. I certainly can – it is only human nature surely.

Will I Win? or I Will Win! Exactly the same number of letters, the same number words. All that is different is the order they are in. The first has doubt and insecurity running all through it, whereas coming at the same words from a different perspective and using them slight differently they become full of certainty and confidence.

So by taking control of your imagination and reeling in the fantasy before you start living it you’ll have better options. Positive Mental Attitude is what it’s all about. And we can control that! I’m neither an evangelist nor an expert on the issues at all and don’t intend to preach but I read this article and it reminded me that by taking the positive “I Will Win!” stance is actually more enjoyable and relaxing than asking the question.

How do I get onto your PSL?

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If you haven’t yet come across UK Recruiter I recommend a visit and a read. Run by Louise Triance, UK Recruiter not only provides a wealth of information to all those involved in the UK recruitment market, but Louise is a big advocate of getting agencies and in-house recruiters to network and cooperate with each other.

Louise recently asked for contributions to her “Recruiter Clinic” series by asking various people involved with the recruitment business “What is the question you are asked the most often?” and “What is the answer you give?”

I was pleased to help.

This is the question I get asked the most: How do I get onto your PSL?

Many large organisations with traditional purchasing models follow complicated and cumbersome RFQ, RFI and tendering processes to select the suppliers for their PSL. There is no sure fire way of getting through the rules, weighting and scoring matrices that can be set up by procurement teams I’m afraid. This kind of process and the resulting set up, tend to leave suppliers feeling they are being kept at and arm’s length, with limited relationship potential, other than that of traditional supplier/buyer and that any quality in service is diminished. I agree. It’s a lottery and to be honest a waste of energy and time for all concerned.

In organisations where there is more emphasis on quality of service and importance placed on cooperation and understanding of the business, as well as the personalities required in the different roles, it is crucial that you build a relationship with the key stakeholders. These will either be with the in-house recruiting teams or the hiring manager.

A bit of advice, if the organisation you are trying to sell to has an in-house recruiting team, bypass them at your peril, for they can be the decision makers not only on which agency to deal with, but also on which people will be hired. You will almost certainly ruin any chance you have of dealing with that company if you try and go around the in-house recruiting team to the hiring managers directly.

Within such organisations PSL’s are built based on suppliers’ previous track record with a company, on feedback and input they get from the hiring managers. In-house teams in many of the HR departments talk to each other and compare notes on agencies, especially if they are members of The FIRM, and thus it is important that the levels and quality of service you offer is of the highest standards at all times.

If you are invited to give a presentation as part of a PSL review, be sure that you know the company you are presenting to inside out. You have to know the scope and scale of the company, which markets in operates in, who its competitors are, what the competitors are doing (in respect of sales strategy, reorgs, hiring) why they hire, how they hire, what competences they look for in the various departments, what technologies are important to that market, what is the buzz in the market, what legislation could affect them. This is more information than you can possibly get from an hours superficial searching on the internet. This is proper and through research, but it has to be done if you want to have any credibility. If you can clearly show that you know the market better than the in-house recruiters then you will be adding value already.

Hope this helps

Job Hunting is About Making Right Choices for the Right Reasons – Day 27 #myjobhunt

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This is Wednesday and Day 27. I’ve been unemployed for 2 whole weeks now. Gone in a flash! Feels like the first push has come to a head now. For the last week this was always going to be a big day for #myjobhunt with two final, or at least that was how they had been billed, interviews.

So before I get into the events and thoughts of today, let’s have a quick look at yesterday. As you have read in this and other blogs a few friends had a camping expedition in Devon over the weekend. It was one of the most relaxing and fun filled weekends I have had in a long time, maybe because there was very little pressure and the only expectations that had to be realized, were we would laugh, have a lot to drink, get very wet surfing and not have nearly enough sleep. The big point of this for me was the laughter and the relaxation with friends that have cared and have supported me throughout #myjobhunt. Talk of work was avoided and only touched upon in general or lighthearted banter. With sixteen very noisy, confident and extrovert people in a reasonably close environment you would have thought that I wouldn’t have had time for serious reflection, yet this is exactly what I was able to do, albeit briefly.

On Monday of this week I had a long conversation with Mrs F about the progress of #myjobhunt. No concerns apart from making the right choice. It doesn’t necessarily come down to choice and in this particular case – I’ll get there in a moment – it wasn’t about choice.

Since Day 1 I have been pursuing a job with an American technology company and have had a number of interviews, all of which have been blogged about here. I had a supposed final interview last week which resulted in another final interview to be had this week, today in fact. At this point I didn’t have a choice. As I mentioned very early on in Day 1 or Day 2 a candidate needs to get an offer to make a choice. Well that is not entirely true. I had the choice to withdraw my application altogether, didn’t I?

And that is what I did; I withdrew my application after 6 interviews. Didn’t see that one coming did you?

Why? You may ask. There were number of reasons if I was being really picky and critical, however the key deciding factor was that I did not have a good feeling about it. I didn’t have a bad feeling either. This means I had no emotion attached to it and to pursue a job that, if I got it, would have meant a 130-mile round trip, which I was poorly motivated by would have been wrong; not only for me, but to them too. Also after 6 individual interviews for the same role I was pursing it, they were not pursing me. I don’t want that to sound arrogant but they hadn’t once called me after an interview to ask me for my feedback, nor had they given me any feedback or a compelling reason to want to work for them. It won’t therefore surprise you; it didn’t me, to know that all they said when I called to tell them was “thanks for letting us know”! (WTF???) I think that response justifies and verifies that I had made the right decision to pull out.

I know! I know! They may have had that response because I was not the person they wanted anyway. But please???!! They and we have to give a candidate a better experience than that. It wasn’t a bad one and it won’t change my views on their products, but it wasn’t good enough for my requirements as a candidate, or by my standards as a Recruitment Manager.

Dusted down and moving on.

I was also contacted directly by a couple of members of The FIRM who proposed ideas to me or wanted to explore my interest or availability. Another couple of online contacts had put resourcers at other companies in touch with me and these need to be followed up.

So whilst the pipeline is not as long as it was previously it is still there. But it needs me persecute it and not let the opportunities slip me by. It is important that I follow all of these up to be sure I am not overlooked, nor show anyone any disrespect. If I have done this to you already I apologise.

Onwards and Upwards – Day 27: I travelled into London with my usual tunes on my iPod – yup you guessed it Genesis, Suppers Ready – for an interview in the City. I love the City, as I do most of Central London, but the City is special and was looking forward to this one having had a great call with both the recruiter and the hiring manager last week.

(SIDE NOTE -Trouble was the Tube strike hangover today. Now do they think us stupid? “signal failures” crippling the network the day after a strike. Says much about the intelligence somewhere in that mix! The irony is that they are striking over the possibility of maybe 800 jobs being cut and yet their laziness and not going to work today was delaying me for an interview. Lazy work-shy b#@*&$+s)

Where was I? – oh yeah stuck at Baker Street. I got to the City in the end in plenty of time – my usual 30 minutes safety window intact. The interview seemed to go well, but I think they are always difficult to read. That is all I will say. I am very keen on this one and don’t want to tempt fate. True to their nature the recruiter called within 2 hours to ask me for my feedback; however that call turned into another interview of sorts. This recruiter is awesome and asked me questions about the questions I was asked in the interview proper. What a way to make sure I had been focused, paying attention to the key points and taking it all in. So now I have the wait to hear. This is the worst bit. I am tight with anticipation on this one.

Music of Day 26 – Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
Music of Day 27 – Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

The one big downer of the last few days is the news that Connaught, the housing facilities maintenance company has gone into administration. There are a few of their recruiters in The FIRM that are likely to be affected or at least left worrying in uncertain times. I mention it because it means that potentially a large number of people – 4500 reported – could be in the same boat as me soon. It is not nice and I wish them all success in finding replacement opportunities soon, should they need to. One of their number, a recruiter and a member of The FIRM contacted my directly on Twitter yesterday, thanking me for this blog! He has taken something from it and reported to me today that he has already arranged two interviews on his Day 1– so I have competition in #myjobhunt eh? Seriously this is great news and of course I am glad I help in a small way – who would be?

What was also interesting is that he has been able to do this using his network of contacts and not relaying on the traditional and “so last year” approach of calling the agencies.

So if anyone reading this is looking for a technical recruiter in the Thames Valley, Surrey, Hants or London please give Jon Harrison aka @jonnieboyh a Tweet. Let’s see if we can take this social media networking thing to the next level shall we?

I want a job and that is till my #1 priority but if I can help others find jobs and if I can help companies find candidates by Paying it Forward, then I will.

And NO NO NO I am not starting my own agency again!

It’s called Social Recruiting

Just in case you are wondering what my background is my LinkedIn profile is a click away

or at

in the About Me page above. My contact details can be found in the Contact Me page and am open to any type of conversation that will help me or help you.

Thanks for reading

Recruiters Recruiting Recruiters – I am learning lots, are you? – Day 19 #myjobhunt

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Today I tried to get back into the mood of the first two weeks, focused on how to try and build again a strong pipeline of opportunity. I knew I didn’t have the time to focus on it today but I had to think it through. Over the last two weeks many opportunities have come along, but very few of them have actually matured into anything. Some as a result of them not being the right fit, others because of the lack of follow-up, follow through or just respond. And not on my part either. More on this later. But I had to find more to keep my options open.

Coffee machine on, laptop on, Planet Rock loaded. On Planet rock at the moment they have Alice Cooper as the morning DJ, not the best choice I must say, because he does talk some crap! Today he was playing it as well. Grateful to iTunes thought. My own coffee was particularly good this morning. I only had about 90 minutes before I had to go out for an hour or so. Emails first. Quiet though. Very quiet indeed. The first time in ages that I hadn’t a single email to respond to. Strangely Twitter was quite too. Well until about 7am and then all of my Twitter buddies woke up at the same time. Worrying that they may have all gone to #SocRecCamp a week early without me. Definitely more on this next week. Oh yes indeed.

The #earlyshift was mad for about 60 minutes and quite amusing; the rain dominating many of the conversations; stories of soaked and miserable summer holidays from around the UK. It is a shame when we had 30C degree, plus, heat through June and July.

Right, Day 19 was to be dominated by a telephone interview rearranged from previously failed attempts and a face-to-face interview, both with the same company and would effectively be interviews 5 & 6. I made sure I was in a good signal area a good 15 minutes before the call was due and waited until 20 minutes after the allotted time. No call. I must say that at this stage I was very disappointed to say the least. Shame – what to do? Do I withdraw my application or see how the afternoon session pans out? The latter commonsense approach wins out but confidence is now obviously low. Whose wouldn’t be, eh?

On the journey of about 45 mins to the interview I get a call back from one of the companies than have a position I have been very keen about for the last few weeks. Unfortunately it as bad news. It would appear that this employer wanted someone with precise experience of managing large (yet 500 vacancies per year is not large) RPO engagements. So they want someone who does that, to change jobs to do that same again. Do people jump like for like? Well of course they do but the point is there are few that will and fewer still with the experience they thing they need for this job. Many relationship management skills and experiences are perfectly and undeniably transferrable for this role. Mine in particular as a Channel and Partner Manager would be a good example. A shame as it would have been a good use of my skills and personality to manage such a relationship. I can understand their position to a certain extent, but still it frustrates, especially as the job description was a good fit and the company offered an almost perfect brand to recruit for. I expect that this is not an unusual situation that many job hunters find themselves in, yet as a recruiter it does seem to have a bigger effect as we are taught to look for and assess the transferrable skills not ignore them! It is however important to remember it is not personal, it happens and there is nothing I can do about it. It is not something that I can have a direct influence over and thus need to just put it behind me.

I had to shake it off and be ready to perform in 30 minutes. I was quite grateful for the appalling weather and the amount of rain on the roads. I caused me to concentrate fully on the road. When I got to the interview I was ready.

The saving grace of the day was this interview with the Head of HR in EMEA. A very good experience to back up a very good impression of the offices, location and people I met and spoken with so far, as well as the information I know and have learned about them recently. To be fair apart from the one aforementioned potential interviewer the rest of the interviewing team have been a shining ambassadors for their brand. I have enjoyed the passion, enthusiasm and commitment to move the business forward. If they still want to see me I have a final interview next week with the global head of TA and am very excited about the prospect

Finally when I got home I had some decent email. One in particular from the professional career coach and CV writer who I mentioned in Day 1 and who had helped me with my CV. She came up a couple of ideas; one was for a company I had explored briefly three months ago, before I started #myjobhunt. It hadn’t lasted more than a couple of calls then but with another go from a different angle……..every option must be explored.

I also took some time to review the emails and the ideas that had come my way over the last 3 weeks and a list of those to follow up with has been compiled and will be acted upon tomorrow. I was also alarmed to see that there were a number of people who had contacted me, mostly in house recruiters and some I am afraid to say are members of The FIRM, who have not bothered to respond to my responses to their initial contacts. The FIRM has a goal to raise standards in all areas or recruiting, particularly our own. It is no wonder that candidates and agencies make their complaints. You let us all down by not trying to improve your own standards.

Music of Day 19 was Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet

What did I learn today? Not all recruiters are good at everything they do. Not all recruiters have the same nor keep to the same standards as I do. Over the last couple of years, I have complained about the poor behaviors at agencies. In meetings I’ve also heard agencies complain about the poor service they get from in house recruiters. I am beginning to empathise.

A Picture is worth a 1000 words – or Nothing at all!

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In the last couple of years we have all seen an increase in the number of CV’s that are submitted that include a photograph of the candidate. Why is this? Who suggested it would be a good idea? I suspect that the use of photographs in CVs has increased as a result of people’s use of LinkedIn and Facebook, two sites that already have them in personal profiles, who knows?

There has been much debate and plenty of comments made about the value and use of photos in CVs. Within The Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers there has been a discussion on this very subject and some very valid points raised both sides of the debate. Some people say that depending on the role and the quality and type of photo could help form an opinion around suitability, especially for customer facing roles, but the vast majority (around 90%) are against it because it could be used against a candidate – it shouldn’t be, but it could be.

As a professional recruiter I am one of a team of people who is (or should be) the first person to see a CV as it comes into the company and you wouldn’t believe the quality of some of the photographs that are included. They range from those that look like mug shots of criminals (the vast majority) to ones that look as if they were taken on a night out. Very few are professional “business” photos – and guess what? I try to ignore them all and wouldn’t be able to recall a single face in a CV unless it was blatantly stupid. This is the same for the majority of professional recruiters in other companies as well, certainly the ones that I have spoken with. Some take the sensible step of removing the pictures from CV’s as they arrive before they are passed to hiring managers. Others take the rather harsh position, that a photo on a CV shows a poor lack of judgement and rejects the candidate immediately. Neither practice supports the use of photos on CVs.

Putting myself in the position of a candidate, which I have been on occasion (honestly, I have), I am or would be sensitive to any discrimination against me based on age, race or gender. In that position I am grateful that laws exist so that I don’t have to put such details on a CV anymore. So why on earth would I put a picture on it? It would open me up to the kind of discrimination that I wanted to avoid.

Personally I think the use of photos on CVs is poor practice and a very bad idea and should be discouraged, if not stopped altogether. I could care less how ugly or attractive you are! A photo on a CV adds absolutely no value to the CV or to your chance of being considered for a job. Whilst none of us should judge a book by its cover if I see a photo I automatically think the candidate shows poor judgement, not a good start when applying for a job. Like it or not, it is human nature to form prejudices, some of which are of course harmful and unacceptable and we work hard to keep them out of the decision process around hiring. There are however many managers in hiring positions in all companies who do not share the same professional approach and who might not have the council of professional recruiters to keep them honest. Nobody likes this but it is there, so why as a candidate would you provide a picture that highlights the three main reasons why someone might be discriminated against? Think about it. A picture is not clever; it is not needed, serves no purpose at all and could work against you.