Invisible Job Descriptions: Unethical Recruitment Continued

December 17, 2010

When recruiters aren’t actively sourcing candidates for specific positions, they’re spending their “down time” anticipating future openings and networking with prospects who might make good fits for such loosely-defined roles. Anywhere along the spectrum from junior to senior levels, it’s good to have strong people on standby for submittal. However, it’s not quite as easy to procure these resumes unless the recruiter has something real and attractive to offer in return (like a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity!)

Unless recruiters are offering something to a candidate, they shouldn’t expect an overly warm response, if given one at all, especially when cold calling and messaging people. Consequently, they also won’t have a resume to work with. The sad truth is that a request to network for future opportunities is nowhere near as compelling as saying “I have something right now that perfectly matches your skill set and career aspirations!”

After speaking with the candidate and examining their Linkedin profile, the recruiter has an idea of where the candidate is and where he/she wants to be in terms of a career. The invisible job description quickly sparks the candidate’s interest and increases the recruiter’s chances of snatching that coveted resume. In this process, the recruiter sends an obsolete job description linked to an attractive company that was once legitimately used many moons ago. The position is obviously no longer available (see tip #6), but the candidate doesn’t know that. If the recruiter is asked why the job isn’t listed on the company’s website, the recruiter can simply claim that he/she has an exclusive on this very confidential search.

If the candidate likes the job description, the recruiter will get their resume. If the candidate doesn’t like the job description, at least the recruiter at this point has developed a rapport with the candidate. Once some kind of relationship has been established, the process of obtaining a resume is much easier. Once the recruiter has “submitted” the candidate for the position, he/she will follow up with the candidate a week later to let them know that the position was filled internally. The recruiter promises though to keep the candidate in mind for future opportunities.

The method just described is tremendously unethical. However, it’s important to note that harvesting resumes is not wrong. Think of it as one of many business development strategies. It’s how one goes about doing it that matters. As a recruiter, you can share information with prospective candidates to help them understand where the value-add is when working with you. Informing them about the substantial growth your client is enjoying, supplementing your case with articles, and providing endorsements from other candidates are just a few among many other effective and ethical ways to gain the confidence of a candidate.

As glamorous as this may all sound, setting up candidates with ghost employers to get resumes is a travesty of morality. Additionally, misrepresenting the hiring needs and goals of another organization can and will also land you in court. Top venture capital firms and companies choose not to employ such methods. Before you become another recruiter consumed by greed, think about the dire consequences before you act.

Director of Recruiting

Victor Mahillon is the Director of Recruiting at <a href="">Kamcord</a>. Previously he was a Talent manager at OpenView.