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Recruiters Behaving Badly

14 January 2019 at 7:30 am
Marilyn Jones
In her latest blog, experienced recruiter Marilyn Jones shines a light on bad recruiter behaviour.

Marilyn Jones | 14 January 2019 at 7:30 am


Recruiters Behaving Badly
14 January 2019 at 7:30 am

In her latest blog, experienced recruiter Marilyn Jones shines a light on bad recruiter behaviour.

Recently, I heard more bad recruiter stories from candidates searching for new roles. 

When recruiters behave badly it damages all recruiter brands, the company brand (including yours, if you’re hiring) and the candidate brand (you, if you’re job searching).

You may like to think that everyone is ethical and there to help you. Alas, that is not always the way.

I finally had a great role for a candidate that I had been speaking with for several months. The role aligned well with his expertise, values and goals. We had talked a number of times, I knew him well and I felt it was a great match.

I called him, and he said that another recruiter from X company had called him two days before to send his CV to companies speculatively. 

When I asked where the recruiter was sending his details, he said “I don’t really know”. 

After further discussion with him, he indicated that it was most likely to at least three other competing companies but he wasn’t sure. One of them was likely the company that I was working with, at that time on an exclusive arrangement.

This brought up a few reasons for concern:

1. Do you really want your personal details sent to people that you don’t know or companies that you have no idea about? 

2. Would you or another agency have represented you better? A recruiter’s role is to understand you and the organisation well enough to be able to present you both in the best possible way. It looks bad for you if you pull out early because you did not really want to work there anyway. It also wastes an employer’s time with people that are not suitable. How can a five-minute conversation provide insight? You could also become caught in the middle of an annoying fee issue if you then apply to a role at the company independently or through another agency.

3. Some recruiters will refuse to assist you further and will focus on candidates that they know have not had their details sent out to the client, so they can make their fee. I believe that these are short-sighted recruiters who are there for a quick dollar and not interested in long-term relationships with their clients or you.

4. The stranger reading your CV could be someone who knows your boss or someone else who you don’t want to know that you are thinking of moving roles, particularly if it’s a competitive company.  

After 20 years of recruiting, I have some amazing long-term relationships with organisations and I partner as their HR and recruiter, as do many recruiters.

A good recruiter will want to get to know you as a candidate, understand your skills but also your motivations and values and not just be a “CV shuffler”.

So please make sure you do your due diligence and ensure that the ethics and standards of those you work with, as a job seeker or employer, represent you appropriately. They are there to advocate for you.

And always know where your personal details are going.

About the author: Marilyn Jones is an executive recruiter experienced in resourcing staff for companies and assisting individuals with their careers. Working for both niche and multinational recruitment organisations, Jones has worked across multiple sectors in many industry and business sectors both in Australia and the UK.

Each fortnight Marilyn Jones will be exploring topics that are relevant to your career journey. She will providing advice for job seekers entering and moving within the social sector. If you’d like insights into a particular topic, please email

Please note the views expressed are the opinion of Marilyn Jones and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pro Bono Australia, its staff or contributors.

Marilyn Jones  |  @ProBonoNews

Marilyn Jones is an executive recruiter experienced in resourcing staff for companies and assisting individuals with their careers.

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